Milo (Yawn)

I haven’t commented on the uproar over Milos Yiannopoulos because he and the circus around him bore me.

He has his defenders—”Milo is indisputably the most effective conservative on campus battling the anti-American identity-obsessed, racist Left,” writes David Horowitz. But Yiannopoulos has always been a provocateur who muddied the good fight against politically correct attacks on free speech (both formal and mob-driven) on college campuses and elsewhere with his own bigotries. Whatever good—and there was some—that came from an openly gay man becoming a major figure respected within the Breitbart crowd was undercut by his playing footsie with the alt right (a loose movement whose size and power are mendaciously exaggerated by the left, but which does exist).

His downfall over previous comments seeming to make light of pedophilia, including his own abuse by a priest, have now resulted in his leaving Breitbart News and being disinvited from the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where he was to be a keynote speaker, all of which is to the delight of the alt-left.

Perhaps the circus has now left town.

More. CPAC is minus Milo, but the Log Cabin Republicans, once excluded, again have a booth.

Deplorables and Bigots

Hillary Clinton made it clear what she thinks of Donald Trump supporters. In comments that were only slightly walked back the next day, she told an LGBT fundraiser in New York City featuring Barbra Streisand:

To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.

She further explained:

That other basket of people are people who feel that government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures. They are just desperate for change. Doesn’t really even matter where it comes from.

In other words, Trump voters are either haters or pitiable dupes.

The fundraiser reportedly raised around $6 million, with ticket prices ranging from $1,200 to $250,000, with many paying $50,000, according to reports.

Are some of Trump’s supporters bigots? Sure. But nowhere near half of them, and to say so is to pander to Hillary’s supporters sense of smug moral superiority to the lower orders, particularly the white working and lower-middle classes excluded from the Democrats’ top-bottom coalition of wealthy liberals and minorities—plus, of course, the growing legions of government employees.

One could as easily claim that half of Hillary’s supporters are left-authoritarians (she was endorsed by the head of the Communist Party USA, after all), and be as close to the truth, which is to say, not very truthful at all.

Trump supporters, to a large extent, see failed Democratic policies on the economic and international fronts, and while many believe Trump to be flawed, they view him as a better choice than Hillary when it comes to reviving economic growth and defending American interests. But progressive Democrats can only see the world through a self-justifying lens of rote identity politics, so if you don’t believe in bigger, more intrusive government chipping away at economic prosperity and expressive freedom, you’re a bigot.

A case in point is Obama’s chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission declaring that antidiscrimination laws override other constitutional liberties and those who disagree are (well, you know):

The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts just issued a regulation requiring public accommodations to recognize people on the basis of their gender identity and not biological sex, pointedly noting that regardless of doctrinal issues, “Even a church could be seen as a place of public accommodation if it holds a secular event, such as a spaghetti supper, that is open to the general public.”

The decision of what church events are secular and which are religious is apparently to be determined by the state.

I’m no fan of Milo Yiannopoulos, the self-aggrandizing openly gay editor at the conservative Breitbart site, but he scores some points about the Democrats’ distorted view of Trump voters in this interview with CNBC. (For the record, I don’t equate most Trump supporters with the alt-right and would agree there are bigots within the alt-right movement who are backing Trump—just as there are left-authoritarians and PC inquisitors supporting Hillary.)

More. David Boaz writes that “it’s an indication that politicians like Clinton and Obama just can’t *imagine* any legitimate reason that people would vote Republican. … I think it’s a problem for politicians not to be able to imagine how anyone could think or vote differently from them.”

(I’ve moved the updates into a new post as they grew beyond a few additional closing thoughts.)

A Symbiotic Relationship

Jason Willick explains at “The American Interest” why The Campus Left and the Alt-Right Are Natural Allies:

On the one hand, excessive left-wing speech policing and cultural brinksmanship on issues of race and gender was bound to make Milo-style ideological transgression more appealing. On the other hand, the alt-right’s newfound cultural power seems to vindicate some of the assumptions of the PC leftt: that racism and misogyny are deeply embedded in America’s cultural fabric, just below the surface, ready to erupt unless controls on thought and language are continuously tightened. …

The PC left and the alt-right exist symbiotically with one another: Working together to exacerbate tribal loyalties, to undermine the legitimacy of the state as a political unit, to question the idea that Western institutions can really treat groups of people with equal respect—in other words, to draw out and hijack the inherent weaknesses and contradictions in the Enlightenment liberal tradition. It’s unlikely that either movement has the cultural power or breadth of appeal to succeed on its own. But taken together, they make a fearsome foe.

From where I sit, it seems that far more center-right conservatives and libertarians are sharply critical of Trumpism and the alt-right than center-left progressives are of illiberal PC extremism, which they often strain to defend when they aren’t denying that it exists at all.

Not So Friendly Inquisitors

Via Reason: The Office of Inclusive Excellence Sounds Like a Cult.

Milo’s grandstanding is open to criticism, but his progressive denouncers are ridiculous caricatures. Progressive thought-controllers are no different from religious right inquisitors.

Also on the subject of our friendly Social Justice Warriors, blogger Rebecca de Winter on “the hilarious irony of a movement that claims ‘gender is a social construct’ while at the same time belittling males in particular at every turn.”

Also try reconciling the feminist “gender is a social construct” meme with transgender rights activism. But when have activists let intellectual consistency get in the way.

More. Progressives believe, Free speech for me, violence for thee.

The Dichotomy

Milo Yiannopoulos, a young gay conservative Brit and anti-political-correctness provocateur, and the student protesters at Rutgers. reports:

“In my view, anybody who asks for a trigger warning or a safe space, should be immediately expelled” [Yiannopoulos said].

The audience loudly applauded his statement.

He said such reactivity merely demonstrates that those students “are incapable of exposing themselves to new ideas.”

“They are demonstrating that they are incapable of engaging in a humble pursuit of knowledge,” he said.

At which point, a woman yells from off camera, “This man represents hatred!” They also started chanting “Black lives matter.”

The video then pans to one side of the auditorium where two students appear to smear fake blood on their faces.

The evocative display was met with loud applause.

Members of the audience in support of Yiannopoulos booed and started chanting, “Trump, Trump, Trump!”

The protesters also splattered their fake blood, Breitbart reports:

the progressives stormed out of the auditorium, leaving a trail of red paint for the janitors to clean up.

Walls, seats, and doors were also vandalised by the protesters. Peaceful attendees who had come to hear a speech instead found themselves splashed with the fake blood. At least one attendee was allegedly assaulted by a protester, who covered him in red paint.

The rise of authoritarian-progressive political correctness, which seeks to stop the expression of ideas its adherents dislike, is met with support for Donald Trump. It’s action/reaction, and represents the sad state of left-dominated academia. It does not bode well for the country.

More. And in Britain, Peter Tatchell: snubbed by students for free speech stance:

The emails from the officer of the National Union of Students were unequivocal. Fran Cowling, the union’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) representative, said that she would not share a stage with a man whom she regarded as having been racist and “transphobic”.

That the man in question is Peter Tatchell – one of the country’s best-known gay rights campaigners, who next year celebrates his 50th year as an activist – is perhaps a mark of how fractured the debate on free speech and sexual politics has become.

In the emails, sent to the organisers of a talk at Canterbury Christ Church University on Monday on the topic of “re-radicalising queers”, Cowling refuses an invitation to speak unless Tatchell, who has also been invited, does not attend. In the emails she cites Tatchell’s signing of an open letter in the Observer last year in support of free speech and against the growing trend of universities to “no-platform” people, such as Germaine Greer, for holding views with which they disagree.

Cowling claims the letter supports the incitement of violence against transgender people. She also made an allegation against him of racism or of using racist language. Tatchell told the Observer that the incident was yet another example of “a witch-hunting, accusatory atmosphere” symptomatic of a decline in “open debate on some university campuses”.

Campus Left Targets Israel, Where Gays Are Free

Those on the left who believe the Western/capitalist world is the source of all evil often target Israel as the one country so vile that not only should it be boycotted, but institutions must be pressured to divest from Israeli investments. This is, sadly, a view that’s all the rage on American and European campuses these days (here’s a look at Wellesley). Which is why it’s good to see ads such as this one: Hamas, ISIS and Iran kill gays like me.

More. Milo Yiannopoulos writes:

As a gay man I would be killed in at least ten Islamic countries for being who I am. … Feminists and left-wingers need to stop inventing fictitious complaints about “manspreading” and “manslamming” and tackle genuine oppression in the Middle East. So far they have been shamefully and inexcusably cowardly about speaking truth to real power.

More Follies of the Anti-War Gay Left

THE FOLLIES of the anti-war gay left continue. Though eclectic, anti-war commentators seem to share three things: (1) the idea that bombs won't solve anything, (2) a fixation on the "root cause" of terrorism, understood to be the United States itself, and (3) patriophobia, the irrational fear of people who love their country.

Don't get me wrong. The right to dissent is fundamental and must be protected even in times of great national peril. But we have the right to dissent from the dissenters.

The first anti-war fallacy is the old bombs-won't-solve-anything shibboleth. Consider the words of Surina Khan, the executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. In an interview for the Boston Phoenix, Khan maintains that "waging war on Afghanistan is [not] a solution." Tommi Avicolli Mecca, in a guest editorial for the San Francisco Bay Times, asks: "What has bombing accomplished?" After four weeks (!), he writes, "we haven't found [Osama] bin Laden [and] the Taliban is still in power."

Bombs certainly won't cure all the world's ills, but they can be a necessary start when you're dealing with madmen. To take just two recent examples, American military force ended Saddam Hussein's designs on neighboring countries and thwarted Slobodan Milosevic's genocide in Bosnia. Both efforts took more than a few weeks.

But suppose bombs won't solve anything. What's the alternative? Khan offers this: "At IGLHRC, we feel that the response to the murder and terror that we saw on September 11 has to be a response of solidarity and understanding."

"Understanding" for bin Laden and the serial killers he trains? "What we are practicing is good terror," bin Laden recently said on videotape, justifying the murder of Americans on September 11. "We will not stop killing them and whoever supports them."

Khan may want to "understand" people like bin Laden, but there is no substitute for eliminating them. Bin Laden has made it clear: it's either kill or be killed. How many Americans have to die before these anti-war leftists get it?

Their second delusion is to insist we address the root causes of September 11. For Khan, herself born to privilege, the "core, root problem" is the "resentment against the U.S. throughout the world" generated by America's selfish failure to "look beyond its own economic interests."

This about a country that rebuilt Europe and Japan after World War II, that intervened to save countless Muslims from Hussein and Milosevic, that has donated billions of dollars in financial aid to help poor nations feed their people and build infrastructure and acquire medicine, and on and on.

If some people around the world don't grasp those facts it's not because we've been selfish. It's because we haven't been touting our generosity.

For Avicolli Mecca, the real problem is world poverty. Yet there are lots of poor people in the world and very few of them become mass murderers. Bin Laden, himself a Saudi millionaire, is exploiting not poverty but the distrust of modernity long smoldering among religious fundamentalists.

Barbarism doesn't have "root causes"; it is humanity's default condition in the absence of civilization.

But even if poverty and resentment explained the existence of worldwide terrorism, that wouldn't disqualify us from punishing terrorists. There's a good historical case to be made that Anglo-American economic strangulation of Germany and Japan contributed to the rise of fascism and led to World War II. Should we apologize to the ghost of Hitler? Should we have responded to Pearl Harbor with "solidarity and understanding"?

The third anti-war cri de coeur bemoans the fact that some gay people actually kind of like the U.S. This patriophobia sees something sinister in the sudden visibility of national pride.

Khan, a Pakistani now living in the safety and comfort of San Francisco, links American patriotism to homophobia. "In the U.S.," she warns darkly, "people who are most active in promoting nationalism are essentially right-wing organizations." Barney Frank, war-supporter and proud American, call your office.

Perhaps the most paranoid patriophobe is Bay Times columnist Kirk Read. Read, who prides himself on "asking hard questions," announces he's "given up on queer folks having radical politics collectively." But, he reports, "it's been truly spooky to walk through the Castro and see American flags in nearly every business window." Viewing the words "United We Stand" on the outside wall of a Castro gym, Read wants to "spray-paint 'Wake Up' on top of it."

My God! Patriotism on unashamed display in the heart of the Castro! What horror is next? Standing for the national anthem?

Read says he's been "clench-jaw pissed off for the past month" - not because thousands of his fellow citizens are dead, mind you - but because he dislikes the calls for national unity, because he's been asked to donate to the Red Cross, and because he continually hears the song "God Bless America." All this threatens to ensnare us in "the mainstream lockstep of jingoism and war mongering."

Now I'm not much of a flag-waver myself, but I don't sniff a Nuremberg rally in every breeze rustling Old Glory. I'm glad the men who fought our wars to preserve Read's right to dissent weren't so easily spooked.

To most gay Americans the U.S. is basically a good country that sometimes does bad things. To the anti-war gay left, however, this is basically a bad country that sometimes does good things. The war has exposed the fundamental cleavage between them and the rest of us as never before.

Left Out

IN A GAY COMMUNITY united in support of a just and necessary war against a network of mass murderers and the theocratic dictatorship shielding them, a few isolated voices have distinguished themselves by their mushy-headed disapproval. For these gay-left writers, the real enemies are not Islamic extremists who crash planes into office buildings but U.S. "militarism," gay assimilation, "unthinking patriotism," children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, a president prone to malapropism, and American wealth.

Consider a recent article by the author Michael Bronski. Shortly after the September 11 attack, some gay activists prematurely celebrated when it was believed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" - the policy of discharging openly gay service members - might be suspended during the crisis. Yet Bronski says he is "frightened" by the possibility that gays might be allowed to serve just now. "Why," he asks, "would any gay and lesbian group be happy that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' be lifted?"

Bronski nostalgically lauds the gay liberationists of the late 1960s and early 1970s who sought "social justice, anti-racism, [and] anti-militarism." He avers that gay liberation groups of that era would never have "advocated for the right of American homosexuals to fight in Viet Nam [sic]."

Bronski contrasts this with present-day gay-rights groups, who want the "'right' to be just like everyone else," including the right to defend the country when it's attacked. This is the familiar charge of assimilation, the worst possible offense in the liberationist catalogue.

Instead of wrapping themselves "in a flag of uncritical and unthinking patriotism," writes Bronski, gay groups ought to supply "draft counselors" to young gay men who might want to resist a future draft.

Someone should tell Bronski it's not 1968 anymore and the Vietnam war is over. September 11 was the bloodiest single day in American history, with thousands of civilians killed by a foreign enemy on American soil for the first time in 185 years. Whatever the ideological fixations of a bygone era - and Bronski is wrong as a matter of history to suggest gays in the 1960s weren't fighting to end discrimination in the military - many gay Americans today want very much to serve their country. That's true even - no, especially - when it's directly threatened.

However flawed, Bronski's world-view is at least coherent, a charge that can't be leveled at the next nervous Nellie of the left. Matt Lum, writing in the Texas Triangle, reports it's been "disconcerting" to see "all these red, white and blue flags flapping in my face everywhere I go."

With all the self-satisfaction of someone who imagines he's just discovered a verity, he snickers: "All this talk of freedom and opportunity, the American spirit. For some."

Lum pronounces himself "suspicious" when students recite the words "One Nation, Under God" during the Pledge of Allegiance.

Next, Lum takes shots at President Bush for saying the terrorists "misunderestimated" him and for predicting a "winning victory," as if a verbal miscue matters next to the administration's widely acclaimed, adroit handling of complex diplomatic and military strategy. I suppose this elevation of form over substance - of words over policy - is what we should expect of a generation raised on Bill Clinton's politics.

After creatively observing that "this whole thing seems to be more about beef and petroleum than anything else," Lum closes: "Practice peace, people."

Guess what, Mr. Lum? You have the "freedom and opportunity" to criticize a sitting president at a time of supreme national crisis precisely because, when the need arose, your forebears had "the American spirit" at which you sneer to give their lives to defend your rights.

I guess we can't expect the same self-sacrifice of Lum, who's discombobulated by waving flags. But it's a little bit too much to admonish us to "practice peace" when we're still shoveling up the ashes of 5,000 dead.

Perhaps the most tortured reaction comes from gay-left activist Pokey Anderson, writing in Houston's OutSmart magazine. The September 11 attack, she writes, quoting a wise and knowledgeable uncle, "'is the fruit of our calloused arrogant affluence flaunted before helpless people for decades and decades of their sufferings.'"

This about a country that has given away more of its hard-earned riches than any before in history, that rebuilt Europe and Japan after World War II, that saved millions of Muslims from dictators like Hussein and Milosevic, that has donated billions of dollars in financial aid to help poor nations feed their people and build infrastructure and acquire medicine, and on and on.

If some people around the world don't grasp those facts it's not because we've been flaunting our affluence. It's because we haven't been flaunting our generosity.

Anderson urges against "blindly bombing" innocent people in a mad desire "to lash out at somebody, anybody."

She wrote those words before we began the military response, which has demonstrated beyond doubt that we're not blindly bombing Afghanistan. In fact, given the circumstances, we've been almost unbelievably restrained in our efforts not to harm innocents, even at the expense of quickly eliminating the terrorists who threaten us with every passing day.

A truly militarist nation, lashing out at anybody and blinded by flapping flags and unthinking patriotism, would have disposed of the matter with a couple of well-placed nukes.

The real question is why Anderson or anyone else might have imagined we would blindly bomb innocent people to begin with, so that she found it necessary to caution against it. The whole idea of needlessly killing people seems to me against our history. Why would anyone assume the worst about us?

The answer, I think, is this: To most Americans, including most gay Americans, this is basically a good country that sometimes does bad things. To some on the left, however, this is basically a bad country that sometimes does good things. The war has exposed that fundamental cleavage as never before.

Finally, rather than use "old methods" like "bombing and dirty tricks and saber-rattling" in response to the terrorist strikes, Anderson advises that we rethink our opposition to "numerous treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol" on global warming and attend gatherings like the recent "World Conference Against Racism," memorable mostly for its anti-Semitism.

I have some news for Anderson. Osama bin Laden and his syndicate will not be satisfied by a more equal distribution of wealth or more global warming treaties or more conferences denouncing racism. They are not motivated, as some on the left imagine, by the left's own long list of grievances against the West.

No, Mr. Bronski, Mr. Lum, and Ms. Anderson, they just want you dead. And they want you dead because you live in a strong country that defends religious pluralism and individual liberty, which they abhor.

Now would you please let the rest of us get on with the business of figuring out how to defend you against them?