Just…hold the fuck on for a second here, everyone. I’m not going to tell you that Bill Maher deserves all the credit for Milo’s demise. I’m not even going to tell you he deserves half the credit. In fact, all I’m going to do on that subject is refer you to your own judgment. You can decide how much influence putting Milo on Maher’s show had in bringing the Breitbarian down, but I will say that the timing does seem to put at least a little gas in Maher’s tank; not all of it, but enough to get you to the destination of, “Bill Maher played a part in bringing Milo down a few thousand pegs.”
But honestly? I’m more appalled that the left is actually still giving Bill shit for putting Milo on. I have to say, it’s kinda pathetic, really. We’re okay with punching Nazis — some of us — but we’re not okay with putting a dipshit on the airwaves and letting his own toxic stupidity, embarrassingly transparent trolling, and intellectualism-free hate spewage embarrass his own side into silencing him? That’s just utterly stupid.
We are liberals, yo. You know what that means? We fight for liberty. Milo didn’t go on Maher’s show and spew shit unchecked. The show’s host was there, and in the post-broadcast “Overtime” segment that often goes just as viral as anything on the show itself, Milo got scorched by not one, but two super-intelligent men of color. I daresay Milo’s appearance on Maher’s show was the final straw for the conservative movement, and when he was invited to CPAC they waved the white flag and called a timeout for him.
So again, how can you really give Maher that much shit for having Milo on the show? Sure, Bill’s ego is a mile wide and ten mile tall, and it probably smarts a bit to have a smug person boast about helping your cause in any way. And don’t take this as a blanket defense of everything Bill does or says. His views on vaccines are not cool in my book, but as a rational, thinking human being I can’t deny that one view a person has is valid, even when another he holds isn’t.
As liberals we should be first and foremost falling on our swords for liberty. That doesn’t mean liberty free from consequences. It just means standing up for Milo’s right to say the stupid shit he says. Even as someone who understood the Berkeley protests, and even somewhat understood the “riot” there over his appearance, I’d never advocate for outright silencing someone unless they really are inciting actual, imminent danger through violence.
I’m not saying you have to celebrate Maher’s decision to have Milo on, but if you even remotely consider yourself a liberal, you better think long and hard before damning him to Hell for it too. Milo’s not a good person, or at least he didn’t play one on TV, but unless you actually are listening to what people say, you have no right to disagree with it. Once they’ve said, it pounce. Pounce on them to your heart’s content. But don’t try to tell me that the more liberal thing for Maher to do would have been to not have Milo on the show at all, because that’s just fascism, pure and simple.
You can save your time and breath calling Milo’s speech hate speech. It wasn’t on Maher’s show. I have a feeling if he had gone that route on the show, Maher would have had zero compunction about shutting him down. Milo’s of course capable of hate speech, but defending the principle of free speech sometimes means taking a risk that you’ll hear something you don’t like.
So what kind of world do I advocate for? The kind where people, even hate-filled dick mongers, can say whatever they want to so long as they are willing to accept the consequences for what they say. I’m in favor of that kind of setup because it doesn’t give them permission to deny people human rights, and it doesn’t give them carte blanche to refuse to serve a gay couple; it just means that we respect each other enough to hear each other out before we go to verbal war with one another.
I guess all I’m trying to say is that putting someone like Milo on TV for ten minutes is not tantamount to handing Hitler a few Jews and a gas chamber. I’m trying to say that liberals are supposed to be the ones who get this, and therefore grudgingly defend even regressive assholes’ right to say what they want to say, with common sense restrictions on violence and slander and the like in place. I guess all I’m really trying to do is beg liberals to stay liberal.
You don’t lose or sacrifice any of your righteous indignation by giving someone like Milo the rope he needs to hang himself. When you give even loathsome people that rope, you give your indignation purpose, meaning, and a reason to exist. Just please, try to remember that the next time you scream at Bill Maher for at the very least helping to accelerate the fall of a self-hating, tragic, professional troll like Milo Yianappaboobooday.
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.