Saturday, January 14, 2017

Protest and threats of violence shut down a conservative event at California University.

Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopolius. Washington Post/Getty. 

Protests, fights and threats of violence have canceled yet another conservative event at a California college. Washington Post. Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopolius, along with "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli, were to speak at University of California's Davis campus. Violent protests broke out before the speech was to begin and the College Republican group that had invited the men to campus was forces to cancel the event because police could no longer guarantee the safety of the speakers and the students that wanted to see him. On Saturday Yiannopolius and his supporters held a rally to protest the treatment they received. 

Breitbart has their own articles on the initial protests that shut down the event and a photo gallery of Yiannopolius's 2nd rally. 

My Comment:
First of all, I apologize for the obviously biased sources for this article. Breitbart is obviously biased in favor of Milo since he works there and the Washington Post article has several incorrect, arguably libel worthy, falsehoods in it. Milo and Shkreli aren't white nationalists and aren't racist under the actual definition of the term. Milo is anti-feminist and anti-Muslim but to describe him, and the alt-right as a whole (which Milo isn't even a member of), as white nationalist is not only incorrect, it's begging for a libel suit. Milo and Shkreli weren't banned for harassment either, they were banned for making fun of  liberal celebrities (Milo rightly made fun of Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones while she was having a meltdown on twitter and Shkreli was banned after he asked a reporter on a date and photoshopping a safe for work picture of the two of them together). 

Despite the obvious bias in all the articles cited, these really were the best of bad options. The Washington Post article was the only one that kept the liberal hand wringing about Milo and Shkreli to a minimum and the only other conservative source I could find was The Daily Caller, which I don't link to due to the intolerable amount of clickbait found on the site. It's pretty bad that I couldn't find an unbiased source here and it says a lot about the state of journalism today. Maybe my google-fu is weak but finding unbiased sources shouldn't be this hard... 

As for the cancellation itself, this incident continues a long history of leftist violence at conservative events. The current generation of young liberals don't seem to understand the concept of free speech. In the past the left would defend people as odious as the Westboro Baptist Church, who would go so far as to protest military funerals. Sure there was counter-protests but the idea that they should be banned completely wasn't a leftist idea back then. It was one of the few things I admired in liberals and the fact that they have abandoned it in favor of full on censorship is very, very sad. 

I don't think there is anything that Milo Yiannopolius has said that is so bad that he should be shut down. Indeed, even though I don't agree with everything he has said and done, he still has freedom of speech. His ideas deserve a fair hearing and to see his events shut down is very disappointing. I won't defend Martin Shkreli's action as a pharmaceutical CEO, but, again, he has free speech as well and I haven't heard any of his beliefs that are really all that far from the mainstream. Of course I don't think anyone should be shut down, regardless of their views. I have even said that radical groups like Black Lives Matter and ISIS deserve free speech, though I have no respect for either group. 

And I doubt most of these protesters had ever even read or listened to anything that these two men have written or spoken. I have for both and I have never found anything they said to be racist. I'm more confident about Milo then Shkreli, but as of this writing I haven't found anything they said to be genuinely racist. Milo is anti-Muslim, and both of them are against whatever the current wave of feminism is, but neither Muslims or feminists are a race so neither is racist. You could argue that those positions are unacceptable, or even bigoted, but that isn't want the protesters were yelling at these events. 

Once again I have to say that these protesters are doing way more damage to their cause then they realize. Not only do Republicans hate seeing this kind of thing, they are also propping up people like Milo. Remember, the primary reason I came to support Donald Trump openly (as opposed to voting for him if I had to) was the violence at his rallies that were, as we later found out, being paid for and planned by the Hillary Clinton campaign. Most Republicans are big on law and order and to see it flaunted in such a way just reinforces our support for our president. Like one of the Milo supporters said, this wasn't a protest, it was a Trump 2020 rally... 

And I shouldn't have to point this out, but Milo Yiannopolius and Martin Shkreli are both, for lack of a better term, attention whores. They both thrive on controversy and attention and these protesters are giving them what they want. If the left really wanted to get rid of them both they would just ignore them. Remember, both of these men came to prominence due to huge media scandals (Gamergate for Yiannopolius and Shkreli for his medical scandal) and if those things had been handled in a more rational manner, without endless virtue signaling, neither would be anything other then a footnote. 

So why doesn't the left just ignore Milo? Because they can't help themselves? My theory is that these protests are too tempting a target for the social justice wing of leftism. Virtue signaling is a huge thing for these people and it is way more important to signal that you aren't racist than actually doing something productive. Dogpilling on someone that they perceive to be racist is kind of the whole point. What's the point of being anti-racist if you can't get attention and praise for it? 

Of course Milo knows this and he is using it to his advantage. His whole argument is that the social justice side of the left is a bunch of children throwing temper tantrums whenever something doesn't go their way. To disprove this argument, every time he gives a speech the left throws a temper tantrum, proving his argument right. 

This also gives Milo's fans proof that he could be right about other things. I'm not going to spend time defending or criticizing his views on Islam and feminism, but you can't argue that the left's attacks on him make those ideas more acceptable on the right. After all, if he is being silenced, and he is correct about how and why the left is attacking him, then maybe his ideas might be correct after all? Though the left's goal here is to shift the Overton Window to the left, I see this backfiring on them. The right is having a renaissance right now due in large part to this kind of behavior. People like to back the underdog and right now that is the domain of the right side of the political spectrum. 

Indeed, I think that is a large part of the reason that Donald Trump won. He got bashed by everyone, left and right, and was able to win. People liked him because they saw that he was getting attacked by the same people that had been attacking middle America for years. Had the left treated him with respect and like a serious candidate, there is a chance that he would have lost. 

As for Milo, I expect this pattern to continue. He's been doing these speeches for quite some time now and there usually are a few protesters at all of his events. Most of the time it's peaceful and ends quickly and I expect that will remain the case as long as he's not in California. If he ever comes to one of the colleges I live near, I might go see him, just for the experience. My schedule will probably not allow it, but I think he's an interesting man, despite his many flaws. I do worry about these protesters, but I think in this part of the country, people are more sensible... 

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