It’s inevitable that when some start complaining about a particular speaker at an event, others will scream about censorship, free speech, and political discourse. Many conservatives were complaining about Milo Yiannopolous speaking at CPAC before it was revealed that he has some “different” perspectives on pedophilia.
Here’s a sampling:
— The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) February 20, 2017
This isn’t a free speech issue. He’s allowed to have his own opinions and express them in any way he chooses as long as it’s not done in a way that can hurt others. We’re talking about an event that represents the core of conservative thought. There should be different views at this event, but Milo goes well beyond “different.” He’s not just provocative. He’s more of a showman than an educator. There are venues where he should definitely be speaking and much in his messages are worth hearing, but not at the preeminent conservative event.
Just because Milo has some conservative ideas doesn’t mean he’s a conservative. It’s like calling a honey-glazed ham “dessert” because it’s sweet.
CPAC is in a tough spot. If they keep him speaking, they’ll make many on the right upset. If they cancel him, they’ll make others on the right upset. Either way, Milo himself wins. He gets plenty of press to boost book sales whether he speaks at CPAC or not.
For full disclosure, I’m not a fan. One of the things that the conservative movement has as an advantage over the liberal movement is that we can usually take the high road on debates. We have firm ground on which to stand with our philosophies and principles. There are times when bold and aggressive voices can invigorate the base. Milo’s brand of alt-right ideology does not belong at CPAC. In light of these newest revelations, it’s hard to imagine that they’ll keep him as a speaker.