CPAC Blew It by Inviting Milo in the First Place
Milo Yiannopoulos was disinvited from this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), organized by the American Conservative Union, after a recording emerged of him appearing to excuse pedophilia and thanking a Catholic priest for a certain sex education. Yiannopoulos insisted he was innocent, declaring he is “completely disgusted by the abuse of children.” Perhaps his denial accurately represents his view and the video does not. He’s made plenty of other outrageous and offensive statements in the past. But what’s the point here?
In short, conservative organizations should be more discriminating about jumping on bandwagons like Milo’s. As David French writes, “It is … singularly unfortunate that the ‘conservative’ poster boy for free speech is Milo Yiannopoulos. Milo, for those who don’t know, is a flamboyantly gay senior editor at Breitbart News, a provocateur who relishes leftist outrage and deliberately courts as much fury as he can.” In fact, Patriot Post readers may recognize him as the having been at the center of the recent unpleasantness at UC Berkeley because temperamental lefties objected to his speaking invitation and rioted. You see, free speech only goes one way.
But is what Milo is doing free speech? We suppose so — if it’s defined as merely saying whatever you want whenever you want while generally being an obnoxious twit. There’s a place for being provocative, witty and acerbic, but we contend that free speech is so much more than that. And we certainly define “conservative” as having character and behaving in a manner that is, well, conservative. Yiannopoulos is woefully deficient in this regard, and he doesn’t really consider himself conservative.
CPAC stepped in a public relations disaster by disinviting him to speak. But by elevating Yiannopoulos’s trolling, it arguably did a greater disservice to the cause by extending the invitation in the first place.