If our "Friends" Are Involved Or Think It's OK
The flamboyant and highly controversial Milo Yiannopoulos is out. He’s no longer speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference. His book deal with Simon & Schuster has been cancelled, and he has resigned from his job as senior editor at Breitbart News.
Why? After being asked to speak at CPAC, Milo’s opponents on the Right resurfaced a video from last year in which he seemed to endorse pedophilia. Milo has made a reasonable case that he does not approve of child molestation and that his words were taken out of context.
Regardless, endorsements of Milo receded like the tide before a tsunami. Everyone pulled away or basked in his “downfall,” as Bill Maher has done after facing fallout of his own for inviting the outspoken gay provocateur on his show. “Nothing could serve the liberal cause better than having him exposed,” Maher said. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant. You’re welcome.” That says it all. It’s not about right and wrong. It’s not about exposing sexual immorality. It’s about a political agenda.
Milo Is Like A Rorschach Ink Blot
My purpose is not to write an apologetic for Milo, whom I disagree with on many points. My purpose is to comment on the reaction to Milo and how it’s riddled, not only with double standards, but with the hysteria of a witch-hunt that, as Maher admitted, will embolden progressives on the Left and weaken conservatives and libertarians on the Right.
Think of Milo as a Rorschach test, an ink blot that reveals truths about whoever is observing him. What’s important isn’t the ink blot, but what the response to it reveals about the observer. The outrage and violence that swirls around Milo isn’t just about him; it’s about those who react to him.
Yes, he’s provocative, contrarian, outlandish, and offensive, poking his finger in the eye of just about everyone around him. But he also conveys a message that the Left finds unacceptable. His attacks on feminism and identity politics, his fierce defense of free speech on college campuses and freedom of personal choice without being policed by those who are politically correct—all of these ideas offend the Left.
They always have, but in the climate surrounding the Donald Trump victory, the Left as a mob is particularly unhinged. In every sphere they are trying to suppress and subvert anything and anyone who propelled Trump into office. The outrage against Milo is not merely one of moral principles regarding a single individual. It’s hardly that—especially from those on the Left. Their outrage is what it has always been—hatred for anyone who opposes them. And Milo certainly opposes them, often and with flair. . . .
The Left’s Double Standards Are On Display
The hypocrisy of the Left—along with its real anti-freedom agenda—is on full display if only we are willing to see it. Milo is driven out for supposed pedophilia comments, yet our culture has tolerated this and worse from others: A-list director Bryan Singer and his reported penchant for young boys, actress Lena Dunham and her self-reported molestation her young sister, Roman Polanski and his rape of a child, not to mention the many unnamed pedophiles in Hollywood referenced by Corey Feldman and Elijah Wood.
There’s also Star Trek actor George Takei, who spoke happily about being sexually abused by an older man when he was 13 years old. When Howard Stern asked Takei if he had been molested, the actor said “No, no. Cause I was kind of, you know—well, I thought he was pretty attractive.”
Nothing has happened to Singer, Dunham, or Takei, and even though Polanski has been held to account legally, many in Hollywood have stood by him.
It seems our culture is more apt to defend the sexually immoral than to scorn them—unless they’re outside the liberal cabal, of course. Except that’s not always the case either, something that should make Republicans who are also attacking Milo stop and reflect. Libertarian Camille Paglia often speaks on college campuses, writes for magazines, is often quoted favorably by conservatives, and sells books—all of which Milo has now been denied in one form another. Yet, Paglia unapologetically supports pedophilia. . . .
‘Pedophilia Is Just Another Sexual Difference’
She admits that her views on pedophilia have not always been received warmly, though she has continued to speak, publish books, and write for various publications. Paglia thinks the age of consent should be lowered to age 14, given the growing sexual interest of young people at that age. “[O]ur present age of consent is far too high and treats adolescents as an enslaved class owned by their parents. Who is to say whether or not a juvenile is capable of informed choice? When does protection of children become oppression?”
Paglia has given us more than anything Milo has said on the topic, yet he’s run out on the rails. Why? For one thing, Paglia has been around awhile and has cred with many liberals. As they have always done, they not only ignored her deviant views but embraced them. However, if she were an avid Trump supporter in the same vein as Milo, opposing liberals at every turn and writing those things in this climate, you can be sure the torches would be lit up for her as well. She would be facing opposition greater than any outcry she experienced in the past, which came mostly from conservatives on truly moral grounds.
But the liberals have been silent as they have celebrated deviancy at every turn, from Hollywood, to hip-hop, to the Oval Office. Why are they now wanting to shed light on the sexually immoral? Or is it just Milo? Are they motivated because they have deemed him a racist and a misogynist? That’s been going around a while now, with fierce denials from Milo himself. No, it took the pedophilia video to bring him down. Given the history of such deviancy in a “tolerant” culture, we, again, have to ask why.
Why the double standard? Why does a world that tolerates Dunham, Singer, Takei, and Paglia not tolerate Milo? As I said, it’s because the issue is political and cultural, not moral. It’s about the manipulation of group dynamics through social psychology. It’s about labeling one person and the group he associates with as unacceptable, evil, monstrous, and then stigmatizing him so no one wants to be associated with him because they might catch the evil. It’s about silencing him despite our supposed love of free speech, and then delegitimizing him and everyone who stands near him, or even not so near. . . .
Labeling People Leads to Dehumanizing Them
We live in dangerous times when we fail to see people as complete human beings. Rational, emotional, spiritual, physical, and moral—human beings who are also imperfect. Where they fail in one area, they excel in another. Where they have darkness in one corner, they have light in another. Where they are wrong on some things, they are right on others. We should be honest about where they are wrong, but not blacken the whole with the stain of one spot.
But we too often don’t do that. We don’t see people with that kind of objectivity and balance because it’s easier and more expedient to see them as something other than complete human beings with a myriad of thoughts, feelings, and ideas, endowed with strengths and weaknesses. Instead, we see them as the sum total of their sin, their failures, even their deviancy, and in doing this, we leave no room for redemption, no room for grace. So, with a single word, tweet, video, or thoughtless comment, they are dismissed, delegitimized, and ultimately dehumanized.
What happens when we no longer see one another as complete, imperfect, complex human beings? . . . . What happens when we see people only in light of our political ideology, pieces on a game board to be tossed aside as if they have no dignity, no meaning?
Step into your worst nightmares, and you will get the answer. That is our future if we don’t change and start treating one another, not as tools to advance a political agenda, but as beautiful, yet fallen and woefully imperfect, human beings made in God’s image. Only then will we have peace. Only then will we all be free to be heard and understood.
Denise C. McAllister is a journalist based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a senior contributor to The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter @McAllisterDen.