Every February in the DC area, the CPAC circus rolls into town.
In addition to the usual anonymous Craigslist adds from attendees seeking BDSM and LGBT partners, CPAC brings the best in conservative thought leaders and activists to National Harbor. From defenders of slavery to advocates for the right-to-kill, CPAC is an incubator for the direction of ideas within the Republican Party.
That took an interesting turn this week with the announcement that Milo Yiannopoulos would be the keynote speaker. Yiannopoulos is openly gay and as a millennial, represents a shifting attitude among young Republicans toward same-sex marriage and gay people as a whole. He’s also the living embodiment of a female harassing internet troll who was banned from Twitter for directing his followers to attack Leslie Jones.
He’s managed to convince college Republican groups to shell out thousands of dollars to hear him extoll about the “beauty of being able to say that groups who stand up for minorities are bad and that they are oppressors because they won’t tolerate my bigotry.”
What’s even more mind blowing is that campus administrators have taken the bait and followed Yiannopoulos down this rabbit hole. Milo’s right to spew whatever contrived garbage he can think of was never under attack. He’s not being jailed for his views. Instead of saying “this guy is the modern day equivalent of David Duke and hosting him on our campus would send the wrong message to students of color,” more and more college presidents are saying “well, looks like its a free speech situation, let’s defend it.”
It’s not a free speech situation because nobody is stopping students from expressing the same viewpoints. Harassment, in the real world, and on college campuses (when caught) is usually met rightfully with repercussions. Now a speaker is promoting it and people are standing by acting helpless. Would administrators be as accepting of, say, Louis Farrakhan, speaking on their campus? I highly doubt it.
Videos are resurfacing that show Yiannopoulos defending pedophilia and relationships between children and men. He is still slated to speak at CPAC. Everyone who has supported Milo or wants him to speak or buys his book or publishes his book should have to answer for these comments.
I wonder if they’re asking themselves if they share Milo’s values as well.