The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

To Milo or Not to Milo?

Posted on | February 21, 2017 | Comments Off on To Milo or Not to Milo?

That is the question. When the Milo Yiannopedophiliapoulos controversy erupted over the weekend, I was busy working on a 4,000-word post about a radical feminist that I didn’t finish until Monday. Then CPAC disinvited him Monday, and today Milo resigned from Breitbart, and all of this controversy went thermonuclear while I was too busy on other stuff (including babysitting my grandsons) to pay much attention.

Did I see the video? Well, I briefly glanced at it and saw a partial transcript. It seemed to me that Milo let himself be drawn into a discussion where the is/ought distinction became ambiguous. He spoke on the basis of his own experience, and voiced opinions about what actually does happen — e.g., teenage schoolboys and teachers — without necessarily saying what should happen, except to suggest that society has gone overboard in terms of public fear producing draconian punishments. For example, last week I noted the case of an 18-year-old boy who was required to register as a sex offender because of an online romance with a girl (a) he never met in person, but who (b) sent him pictures of herself in her underwear, and (c) did I mention she was 13?

OK, the circumstances require me to reiterate that I am against the whole “sexting” culture of online dating and so forth, and I am also against people taking selfies in their underwear (or less) and sending them to other people. Furthermore, I am against anything at all of that nature which might involve a 13-year-old. However, this particular case discussed by Lenore Skenazy at Reason seemed to be prosecutorial overkill, even though I concluded my own discussion of the case by emphasizing the law is the law, and ignorance of the law is no defense. The bottom line is, parents have to warn their kids about this stuff. End of story.

Having done a lot of work in my career to expose pro-pedophile activists — e.g., Judith Reisman and her 2002 book Harmful to Minors — I can scarcely be accused of being “soft” on this issue. The question comes down to what Jeff Goldstein calls intentionality. What was Milo’s purpose in saying what he said? Was he, as some have described it, “advocating” pedophilia? Was he making excuses for child molesters? That was not the impression I got, but as I say, I didn’t sit down and study the video.

What happened was that his hosts on the “Drunken Peasants” podcast asked Milo to react to someone accusing him of hypocrisy because (a) he had gone after Nicholas “Sarah” Nyberg over pedophilia allegations, and (b) he had said in an interview on the Joe Rogan show that he himself first had sex at age 12 or 13. That’s an apples-and-oranges situation, and Milo could have just brushed it off as a non sequitur. And in hindsight, I’m sure he wished he had brushed it off, but instead he let himself be drawn into a discussion that provided the dynamite with which his enemies subsequently exploded him. So, now what?

Milo issued a strong denial of the imputation that he was defending child molesters, and today held a press conference, and we shall see what the future holds. Ace of Spades wrote a lengthy piece about the “Social Media Scalp-Hunting Hurricane” that included this:

All that said, I do have an interest, and that interest is less about Milo than this same sick game of Pick the Day’s Hate Object and Destroy It.
Is it my scalp they’ll be coming for next week?
Who knows — maybe this very post you’re reading right now will be cited as the reason Ace Must Now Be Purged to Maintain the Purity of the Body of the Church of Twitter.

Exactly right. Who knows who will be the next victim of the Hate Machine? In the span of 72 hours, Milo lost a speaking gig at CPAC and his job at Breitbart and his book contract with Simon & Schuster, all because of an interview he did with some guys on a YouTube channel.

Geez Louise, the court of public opinion has become a lynch mob. As someone who once fought a two-week blog war to defend myself against bogus racism smears, my instinct is to defend anyone on Team Conservative against the Republican circular-firing squad mentality.

“Oh, no! Somebody said something controversial! Purge them!”

So, I’m glad I was busy when all this blew up into an online firestorm, because otherwise I might have been sucked into it. And I’ve got too many enemies already to risk pissing off more of my friends. But the people who were quick to purge Milo should keep in mind that you reap what you sow. If you ever find yourself facing a mob ready to destroy your life over some controversial quote — “I was taken out of context! I didn’t mean it that way!” — you’d better know who your friends are.

Jim Hoft observes that the #NeverTrump crowd’s fingerprints are all over the Milo takedown, and you can form your own opinion. Myself, I prefer to aim my guns downrange, and there’s plenty of targets there.

UPDATE: On Gab — you are following me on Gab, right? — I was accosted by someone who seems to be demanding 100% unanimity that Milo be treated as persona non grata, and who then scolded me for not acceding to this demand. So we’re in the “secondary boycott” phase of the controversy, where everyone is expected to choose sides. And I hate this kind of game, people telling me who I can and can’t be friends with. LGF’s Charles Johnson tried to do that to Pamela Geller back in 2007, and we see what happened to Charles. There is something to be said for minding your own business, and avoiding the temptation to play arbiter of ethics.



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