Flat White

Milo Yiannopoulos: too dangerous

22 February 2017

7:28 AM

22 February 2017

7:28 AM

When it was revealed that Milo Yiannopoulos endorsed sexual relationships between old men and boys as young as 13 (yes he did), I was prepared to feel a little bit bad for him. Surely this would be the end of his career. Surely his supporters would suddenly realise what a charlatan he is, and he’d be ruined. No, the fact that he was himself a victim of abuse doesn’t come close to excusing what he said. But I was ready to say a little prayer for him and move on.

Then I went on Facebook. And Twitter. And YouTube. I saw hundreds of thousands of (probably) otherwise decent and sensible people leaping to his defence. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Maybe some of them really don’t think he was advocating for pederasty. Maybe they can’t see through that arch-predatory doublespeak about older men offering ‘acceptance’ and love’ to young gay boys who don’t receive any at home. Maybe they can’t understand the language of groomers when they hear it. Those people – and I think they’re a tiny minority – are either childishly innocent or hopelessly stupid. There’s no kinder way to say it. Either way, their opinion doesn’t matter.

The larger circle are, in Matt Walsh’s words, cultists:

We know that a certain sort of person is almost always willing to put personality over principle. They latch onto a person – media member, politician, celebrity, etc. – and, having determined that this individual is a paragon of truth and virtue, they outsource all of their discernment, thinking, and moral contemplation to him. It takes too much energy for them to ponder the questions of life themselves so they put their minds and their consciences on the shelf and strap on a sandwich board sign that reads, ‘Whatever that guy says.’

It’s a good article, and I recommend you all read it. Personality cultism of this sort is dangerous even when confessed paederasts aren’t involved. It could apply to Turnbull, Abbott, Bernardi, Trump, whomever.

But I think there’s a yet-larger group: people who didn’t necessarily endorse everything Yiannopoulos said to begin with, but are so weary of the Establishment and media hit squads that they’re not willing to give them an inch. Yiannopoulos might not be their paragon of truth and virtue, but he’s ‘one of us’ (though he’s not), so they feel the need to circle the waggon and give him the benefit of the doubt. We have enough enemies on the Left; they don’t want to see the Right start cannibalising itself, as the Left has. I empathise with that.

But here’s the thing, and it’s going to sound brutal but it’s true: Yiannopoulos needs to be made an example of. As he himself said, child abuse is a slippery slope we can’t even contemplate going down. Anyone who even hints at normalising sex between adults and children needs to feel the full weight of public opinion come crashing down on their head. They have to be immediately and totally discredited, shamed and shunned

Why? Because paedophiles need to be afraid. They need to be terrified of revealing their sickness to anyone – except a priest or psychologist, of course.

What I’m saying, and I can’t believe I have to say it, is that we as a society should be – as we always have been – deeply intolerant of paedophiles and paederasts, their apologists and their enablers. We have to be prejudiced against them to the point of paranoia. Even the slightest whiff of this sick and evil perversion should make us so disgusted that we can never look at someone the same way again.

Because this isn’t about Yiannopoulos and what he has or hasn’t done for the free speech movement. He needs help, and I hope he gets it, but it’s not about him. It’s about what moral defects we, as a society, are able to stomach. And if we can stomach even vague hints of boy-love in Yiannopoulos because we enjoy his YouTube videos (as I did), we’ve already taken the first and most substantial step toward accepting a disposition toward child abuse in others. We’re telling paedophiles and paederasts that, if they achieve a certain celebrity status, we’ll excuse in them worst deviancy known to human nature.

I’ll put it in the starkest terms possible. A friend of mine wrote on Facebook:

He’s just trying to have an honest conversation about the issue, which is why most people find him interesting on a range of topics. This just looks like another public lynching for thought crime.

Yes: that’s precisely what’s happening. And it’s good. Paedophilia and pederasty are real thought-crimes. And while they’re protected by free speech (so long as they aren’t acted on), they deserve to be met with a metaphorical lynch mob. We as a society have a right and a duty to determine what speech is acceptable and what isn’t – what we’ll tolerate in others and what we won’t. When we abjure the court of law in regulating speech, it falls on the court of public opinion to take up that role. Because speech must be regulated. Some things simply shouldn’t be thought, and absolutely mustn’t be spoken.

True, there’s no hard-and-fast rule to determine what speech falls into which category. But I thought we could all agree that child abuse would easily qualify. I guess I was wrong.

I’m tempted to make a political point about this. I want to say that this is a perfect example of how the conservative movement can reclaim that balance between political liberty and a self-regulating moral society. But this too serious. We should be able to set politics and personalities aside and refuse to give quarter to anyone that could even contemplate the acceptability of harming our children. I guess I was wrong there, too.

I’ve unfollowed Yiannopoulos on Facebook and YouTube, and before his book deal was terminated, I cancelled my pre-order of Dangerous on Amazon. I’ll never read or watch anything he produces again. And I hope you’ll all do the same. Please don’t give quarter to child abuse in any way, shape, or form. Nothing he ever says or does can be worth that.

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