Flat White

Milo: right, but wrong

29 November 2017

6:13 PM

29 November 2017

6:13 PM

I’m pleasantly surprised that Sarah Hanson-Young condemned Milo Yiannopoulos for being a ‘paedophilia apologist’ – which he undoubtedly is. The ‘clovergender’ thing might’ve been a hoax, but for how long? It’s perfectly in line with the far-left’s nihilistic view of human sexuality and gender. One can’t support Safe Schools and claim to champion the innocence of children.

Of course, the idea that Yiannopoulos should be banned from entering Australia – and because he ‘believes there is no such thing as rape culture,’ nonetheless – is absurd. It’s beneath the dignity of her office. Admission to any free society cannot be contingent on one’s adherence to an ideology. Then it would cease to be a free society at all.

And Parliament is indeed a ‘safe and respectful house of democracy,’ as she says. So, too, it must remain. Which means senators oughtn’t to get into the habit of denying visas to media personalities with whom they disagree. That’s the essence of totalitarianism.

All of which I say in a strictly legal sense. On the moral plane, Senator David Leyonhjelm’s inviting Yiannopoulos to speak in parliament is no less despicable.

Two prominent actors, George Takai and Kevin Spacey, have been accused of assaulting young men in the last few weeks. Spacey’s alleged victim, Anthony Rapp, was just 14 years old. He doesn’t claim that Spacey forced himself on him per se, but that he drunkenly tried to ‘seduce’ the boy (Rapp’s words).

To any decent person, that’s still assault. An adult initiating a sexual relationship with a child is never permissible. But Yiannopoulos would suggest that, under slightly different circumstances, Spacey could have given the child ‘security and safety.’ He could have ‘provided [him] with love.’ If Rapp accepted Spacey’s advances, it would have been fine. The only thing standing between them and a healthy romance would have been the ‘arbitrary and oppressive idea of consent.’

Leyonhjelm, like Yiannopoulos, represents the worst trend on the Right: that all speech, however perverse and dangerous, must be actively encouraged in the name of freedom. It’s not enough to say that Yiannopoulos shouldn’t be silenced. He must be encouraged. Otherwise, ‘political correctness’ wins.

Sorry, but no. Free speech must be exercised responsibly, and it’s grossly irresponsible to voluntarily offer Yiannopoulos a platform. For a senator to do so – and for parliament to be that platform – is disgraceful. It degrades the cause of free speech.

Leyonhjelm should withdraw the invitation and apologise for extending it. Neither I nor anyone else will force him to do so, of course. But it would be the right thing to do. And, once upon a time, that would have been a good enough reason.

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