SIO18: Milo’s Long Overdue Downfall

It finally happened. Milo said something that was horrifying enough for people who 5 minutes ago talked like it’s all about freedom of expression and it doesn’t matter how much we disagree, to say “nah never mind, let’s de-platform him.” In today’s episode I clear up what I view as SO much fallacious reasoning on this issue. People are actually viewing what happened to Milo as a reason that we should have been platforming him all along. To me, this is completely contradictory. Find out why in today’s episode!

Overtime Larry Wilmore

Detailed article about the Adelaide Kramer harassment

Current Affairs article

Conatus News interviewed Thomas

Black Bloc protesting

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27 Replies to “SIO18: Milo’s Long Overdue Downfall”

  1. Sunlight is what exposed Milo. You don’t get to remove the interviews that asked these questions of Milo and then say it wasn’t these interviews that exposed him. You should really give credit to the Drunken Peasants and Joe Rogan for those clips you played. They both took him to task for those views in real time.

    Let’s remember it was people having conversations with Milo that brought these ideas to the surface. This is a win for the people that have been saying to have conversations because that’s where this information came from. Not from riots and protests or idiots calling Milo names that don’t apply. Actual conversation. The same type of conversation you had with DR. Price to expose his crazy views.

    Bad ideas were being countered with better ideas. You need to acknowledge that. Bill Maher taking credit is complete bullshit and I told you Bill was not going to challenge Milo at all and he didn’t.

    1. I wish I could edit but I can’t.

      I still support Milos right to speak and that will never change. I have also never been against deplatforming, I would prefer it didn’t happen but no one with a platform needs to give that platform to anyone.

      I think Thomas just threw out another bullshit straw man.

      1. As usual, when it comes to this issue, he did just that.

        The people who were 5 minutes ago saying that dude should be allowed to speak freely are wrong because he spoke freely and said some controversial shit?

        Interesting how that works.

        Also fuck bill maher. Him taking credit for anything beyond his statements about ‘liberals not taking the bait’ is horse shit.

        For the record, if you watch the entirety of milos comments, as well as his apology, and also don’t act conveniently unaware of the depths that long form Internet conversations can get to, what he said did not actually defend pedophilia.

        This is not a victory for ‘deplatforming’, and it’s weird to gloat about in in the way posts advertising this episode did.

        The real credit should be given to Evan McMullen and his ‘Reagan battalion’ ‘blog’ and Twitter for editing the footage in the worst possible way and releasing it solely with political motivations.

        An interesting point made on the drunken peasants podcast discussing the fallout is that the video had 250k views before this shitstorm me yet no one had made any big deal out of his comments.

        And I agree with Milo on almost nothing. Just being honest about the situation and not applying different standards people with different political views.

    2. I’m ambivalent on this.

      As Thomas mentioned in the episode, what we seem to be identifying as Milo’s “downfall” is that conservatives have embraced his de-platforming. Despite providing a constant, condescending chorus of “de-platforming and attempts to silence bad ideas only increasing their popularity,” people who assured us that we were only hurting our own cause are now taking a victory lap because “refusing to de-platform Milo ultimately worked to de-platform Milo.” I get that this isn’t inherently a contradictory thing (e.g., you could argue premature de-platforming in liberal spaces delays consensus building for unilateral de-platforming), but I’m having trouble resolving the appeals to “liberal values” and the assertion that this was all some long-game play to shut Milo down. And, as others have noted, if we’re going to claim anything that happened prior to Milo’s de-platforming that raised awareness of him is responsible for his ultimate downfall, couldn’t we also conclude that the violence at Berkeley also contributed?

      But aside from that, I’m struggling with the idea that people who are taking credit (i.e., those who argued for exposure) never seemed to make the claim that “there’s some singular thing he’s said that will make him poisonous, and we just need to wait for it to come out.” Milo didn’t lose his book deal because his gross misrepresentations about trans people, black people, women (et al.) reached a wider audience and were countered by more compelling evidence, but because he happened to say a thing that conservatives couldn’t stomach about pederasty.

      I get that pederasty was, in this point, incidental, and that it could have been any kind of “poison pill,” and I’ll admit that I could be entirely misconstruing the arguments, but what I heard whenever I defended de-platforming was “you need to trust that giving Milo space to speak will expose his arguments as baseless,” whereas now that he’s been de-platformed, the revisionist history seems to be “see? We gave him space to speak, and he said an offensive thing, so now nobody cares to listen to his arguments.”

      On the other hand, I agree with your point that the reason these audio-clips were available is that some podcasters gave Milo airtime and engaged his schtick as a beleaguered free speech advocate. If it hadn’t been for people booking him on their shows (Real Time included), he wouldn’t have been seen as a legitimate conservative voice, he probably wouldn’t have been thrust into the spotlight at CPAC, and he likely would have continued as a middling pseudo-intellectual troll, visiting college campuses and writing smarmy editorials at Breitbart.

      All that said, what seems clear to me is that exposure alone was not enough to convince conservatives to dump Milo. Simon & Schuster didn’t offer him a book deal without knowledge of the things he’s said about trans people, CPAC wasn’t ignorant of the things he’s said about Black Lives Matter when they invited him to speak, and Breitbart didn’t suddenly develop a conscience when they finally saw all the things he published on their site about feminists.

      At the same time, as you suggest, neither was there a decisive case made for de-platforming that swayed the hearts of conservatives. They didn’t hear that giving Milo a platform to target vulnerable individuals was irresponsible and decide they suddenly cared about respecting other’s safety and human dignity.

      As a fun sort of irony, Milo built his anti-trans brand on exploiting conservative fears of pederasty, and somebody turned that mechanism against him.

      1. I was never on the side that wanted Milo to go away or be silenced. I was always on the side of people engaging his ideas and exposing them as wrong, especially in regards to how he reached his conclusions. That never happened.

        I wanted to see more of what Larry Wilmore did on Bill Maher, that’s how I wanted to see him go away. Crush the ideas. No one ever engaged the ideas with Milo, they just called him names and thought that was an argument. Being ok with men and boys hooking up is a bridge too far for most people.

        So the market is still wide open for the other things Milo was saying because those things were never challenged in a meaningful way.

        Some of his conclusions really are correct. How he gets there is generally flawed. He is right that many feminist ideas are simply wrong or not based in reality. There are elements of feminism that need to die, the Duluth model is a terrible idea and an extremely flawed policy. Patriarchy is just like saying illuminati, it is just as fact based in the west.

        1. Just in case I might have implied it, I didn’t mean to imply that you were arguing for something you weren’t arguing for. Apologies.

          I agree with you about Milo’s ideas still lingering. That said, I don’t think we necessarily gain anything by engaging Milo (or his successors) directly that we couldn’t accomplish by engaging their ideas and reporting on their actions in a more responsible way (e.g., engaging with trans people about how they’re affected by discrimination rather than some clown who has a backwards opinion on their mental health). I think there’s reason to believe that thoroughly discrediting Milo would only result in his followers deciding Milo is bad at supporting his ideas, not that the ideas are baseless. Making it about him is a mistake many of us have probably made at different points in these discussions.

          It sounds like we disagree on feminism and patriarchy. I can’t speak for any idea ever put forward by anyone claiming to be a feminist (e.g., Dr. Price claimed to be a feminist on Monday’s episode, and I can’t imagine what he thinks that means), but as for patriarchy, I think the comparison to some sort of conspiratorial cabal is unwarranted. I’ve heard similar objections to descriptions of the US as a white supremacist culture. They seem to focus on an implicit assertion of intent rather than the practical effect of a society in which people are denied equal access to resources and opportunity, and then shape their ideas on inferences made from that unequal reality.

          Either way, rather than depending on Milo to be our gateway into these conversations, and attempting to engage a complex issue with the requisite nuance while also dodging absurd accusations (e.g., “birth-control makes women ugly and crazy”), I think we’re much more likely to make meaningful progress when serious people hold the floor.

          Also, I don’t know enough about the Duluth model to take a position on it.

          1. In short, the Duluth assets that is domestic violence situations the woman is the victim and the male is the abuser. Police use premise when called to domestic disputes. Numbers indicate about a 60/40 split in who is the abused and who is the victim. Women/men. What happens is men are disproportionately blamed in those situations and if a male is the victim of violence they have no help available since the police are far more likely to arrest them than help them. If Thomas ever wants to touch this topic I would beg him to be a part of it.

            The reason we engage Milo is the same reason we engaged Christians. It puts us in front of their audience. Those are the people that you need to convince not Milo. I’m amazed that Thomas who tackled religion and talked to religious people doesn’t get this applies to all ideas.

            Patriarchy is real, in places like Saudi Arabia and Iran. Those are actual patriarchal systems. The west doesn’t have those systems. We don’t have laws that favour men over women or one race over another. Systematic oppression doesn’t exist, the system is fair. The people that work within the system have their own biases and we should try to even those out as best we can.

            If women were a single minded group we would have women running everything because men do not have the power or numbers to stop them. However, women have their own agency and the vote based on issues more than gender. Women make different choices and in the west they have that freedom. Women who took gender studies should not complain there are not enough women in STEM. They should just go into STEM fields. STEM wants more women involved even if it’s just PR. Women just make different choices and that’s ok.

            But I’ll ask you, what does a society without patriarchy look like? What legal changes to the system would you make to help that society become a reality? What right do women lack in the west over men?

          2. I think you make an insightful point about us being granted access to Milo’s audience by engaging him directly. A cynical part of me wonders if gaining that access is worthwhile, in so far as it too feeds into Milo’s schtick (e.g., “watch Milo expose and demolish a regressive cuck offering fake news buzzwords”), but I take your point that who’s on stage will change whose asses are in the seats.

            I do have to add though, that I am skeptical of this claim that winning the argument, winning his audience even, will result in the most preferable/efficient outcome. During the election, I had a friend on facebook who would not stop complaining about Clinton reaching out to moderates rather than “true” liberals like him. As much as I agree on principle that the democrats would do well to embrace more liberal stances, I couldn’t fault the logic of the Clinton campaign spending their limited time/energy gaining 10 moderates rather than spending the same time/energy proving their liberal bona fides to a single die-hard anti-capitalist. Obviously, it all went to shit, but I think the metaphor still stands. If we have a limited amount of resources and time, necessity might dictate that we try to accomplish other goals than personally engaging every little attention-seeking self-styled philosopher troll-king and their adoring fans. If I’m spending all day arguing with a handful of dickheads about whether trans people are all mentally ill, especially when I could be using that time to make the world a better place, it’s possible I’m wasting what precious little time I have on this planet.

            As for your questions about feminist theory, I want to be clear at the outset that this isn’t my area of expertise. There are plenty of people who are better informed on the practical workings of how our culture creates, informs, and enforces gender roles and disparities. I hope that doesn’t sound like a cop-out, but I just don’t want to make a shitty case for feminism and have anyone reading falsely assume the that flaws are in the theory and not my limited grasp of it.

            Yes, patriarchy is real and explicitly instantiated into law and culture in more overt ways in other countries. I can’t speak to the actual law, because I’m not a lawyer. Also, to be honest, the more I listen to human rights workers who operate in other countries, the less I feel comfortable commenting on cultural expressions either, but as to your basic claim, I agree that the ways in which women are denied access to resources and agency in other cultures differs from the ways they are denied access in the US, and that the severity of those limitations, as well as the enforcement of gender roles is, in many ways, more severe in some of those other places.

            That said, we disagree (as you probably guessed) on whether that contrast implies the absence of patriarchal structure in the US. You assert that “there are no laws that favor men over women or one race over another,” which is both false and an incomplete understanding of systemic oppression.

            I’m not going to make an exhaustive case (again, not my area of expertise), but there are examples of laws which not only disproportionately affect one race more-so than another, but there are still examples of laws which do so explicitly and intentionally for people of color (e.g., the North Carolina Supreme Court finding that redistricting laws were created with “almost surgical precision” to affect black voters, the president’s Muslim ban, SB1070 in Arizona, The Fair Sentencing act which reduced the sentencing disparity from 100:1 to 18:1 rather than 1:1, etc) women (e.g., multiple states have proposed or enacted legislation to require a husband’s permission before a woman can access abortion services, there are caveats to spousal rape laws in at least 8 states which limit the definition of rape within marriage, restricting access to abortive services as well as other methods of birth control, laws granting religious-based objections to providing medical procedures, etc.), and lgbtqi individuals (e.g., no federal protection against being fired for being gay, discriminatory bathroom laws, religious exemptions to laws which protect the civil rights of trans individuals, allowing reparative therapy which has been identified by mental health professionals as both ineffective and harmful, etc.).

            Moreover, even if there is not an explicit or implicit aspect of targeted discrimination in a law’s text, it is absurd to say that a society which uses neutrally-phrased laws to consistently disenfranchise certain classes of people rather than others is not, systematically unequal, which is to say, racist/sexist/homophobic/etc. You rightly acknowledge that the people within the system have their own individual biases, but the fact that those biases have an aggregate effect that produces inequality (rather than complete randomness) is meaningful.

            The idea that racism/sexism/homophobia/et al. is something that originates within the heart/mind of individual actors, rather than as a response to an unequal society, informed by cultural narratives and interpretations of that inequality is desperately incomplete. The reality is more akin to a feedback loop, and we can’t pinpoint any one causal node (e.g., personal biases, explicit reference in legal text, IQ tests, etc.) without recognizing the multitude of intersecting influences that cause and perpetuate widespread, de facto inequality.

            The fact that two employees at a company get paid the same amount, despite one being male and the other female, doesn’t make the economic disparity of men and women’s overall access to wealth (and the tangential ability to meaningfully engage in political action) suddenly not an issue. The fact that there are no laws barring a woman from running for government office doesn’t make it somehow not a problem that groups of male politicians are routinely making healthcare decisions that only affect women’s bodies, often with shockingly low information (e.g., “if it’s a legitimate rape, women’s bodies have a way of shutting that down”). But moreover, even if women held those seats and passed those same laws, that wouldn’t compensate for the disproportionate hardship passing those laws would have on the millions of other women who don’t have the same authority over what happens in their bodies than the law affords to men.

            As I said, this isn’t my area of expertise, and I’m sure I’m leaving out significant and compelling ideas, but I hope I addressed most of your direct points. Although, now that I wrote that, I realize I haven’t addressed any of your questions.

            1. A society without patriarchy would probably look more like Sweden’s than our’s. I’m sure there are patriarchal aspects to their society that I’m not seeing, but they seem to be more progressive on certain issues. Probably more women in government positions (i.e., correlating to their percentage of the population), more access to safe reproductive services, fewer pretend pockets on jeans, less casual/strict enforcement of gender roles, fewer implicit assumptions about maleness being the default, fewer presidents who brag about sexually assaulting women and face no repercussion, fewer films which use the threat of rape as something sensational and thrilling, better education about sexual health/pleasure/rights, probably fewer white-guys with controversial opinion podcasts, less pressure on men to feel like they have to explain everything at everyone, more emotional literacy, ideally more appreciation for civil rights movements and intersectionality, and a whole host of other stuff I’m not currently aware of.

            2. I’m not a political scientist, so I’m probably not the right person to ask about how best to achieve civic/social parity. To borrow from a recent conversation I had with a friend about the violence in Chicago, I imagine a good first step would be to recognize that the instances we see as problematic and dangerous (i.e., shootings in poor neighborhoods) are the expression of a conglomeration of causes, and intervening at that level (i.e., asking “how do we make these kids stop shooting people?”) without addressing the litany of causal factors (e.g., economic disparity, racial injustice, access to guns, lack of access to mental/physical health-care, hopelessness, unfunded schools, lack of meaningful activities, stunted socioeconomic mobility, predatory lending practices, et al.), even if we somehow succeed in decreasing so-called “random” acts of violence only serves to make “us” feel safer by allowing us to ignore the systemic, institutional, and private expressions of violence that don’t pop up on the evening news.

            I don’t know of any specific laws to enact, and relying only on legislative means to achieve cultural change is probably not going to act as any kind of silver bullet. That said, I’m sure there are areas where the law can be used to make meaningful and positive change. My intuition says increasing reproductive rights and economic opportunity for women is probably a good bet.

            3. I think you can probably infer from the rest of this post about specific rights. Again, not an expert, but I’d say the right to decide whether they can choose a safe medical procedure to avoid enduring a comparatively dangerous and physically/mentally/emotionally/financially taxing 9-month experience following sex. Pregnancy doesn’t just happen without continuous effort on the part of the woman to support the development of the fetus. Moreover, in states with laws that prohibit fetal endangerment, pregnant women lose access to many rights (e.g., getting black-out drunk).

            Additionally, I don’t know that this question gets at the whole picture. As Senator Sanders noted in a recent inexplicable CNN debate with Senator Cruz, giving poor folks access to great healthcare isn’t a meaningful gesture if they can never afford it. The idea that any one particular woman has the right to win an election, has the right to be hired, has the right to get drunk at a party without being sexually assaulted by someone with a warped idea about what it means to consent does not mean that they have equal access to those things as men. If unnoticed, unchecked biases lead an electorate to associate leadership traits in a male candidate, but shrillness in a female candidate; if false expectations about the type of assignments women excel at or even the amount of women and men that make up equal numbers (studies have shown people identify vastly unequal splits in photos as being “equal” when women are in the minority); and if we continue to respond to sexual assault allegations with clever little digressions about “what happens if they were both drunk?”, then asking whether or not any singular person hasn’t been afforded any singular right is not a meaningful question.

          3. That’s really long and I cannot read it all now. But you gave examples of people applying the law, no examples of the law itself being biased. I’ll hit all you points later but for this piece remember that the Law is the System, those that apply the law is the institution. Very different things. I will expand on that.

          4. So back to this, I’ll hit as many points as I can. Gerrymandering is about getting favourable voting conditions for one party over another, that’s why Austin is broken into 6 districts. It’s not a race thing, it’s about who people vote for and how to suppress their impact.

            Yes the US has some messed up laws, the Muslim ban is not a racial thing it’s idealogical but that has nothing to do with patriarchy, it’s just bad policy. There are some local state laws that make certain restrictions but I would guess those would be unconstitutional if challenged.

            I want to really address your 3 points.

            1. Sweden and Canada are very similar. In Canada we have an equal number of men and women in cabinet positions because its 2015. Yet we still have feminists saying we live in a patriarchy. Fashion industry is run by gay men and women, so complaining about fake pockets and blaming patriarchy is absurd. Access to birth control and medical treatment is wide open. Medical procedures are completely covered. Trump is your problem, if it was up to us Americans would lose the right to vote because you are terrible at it. We have a strong public education system with comprehensive sex Ed from JK through 12. Yet we still have big Red screaming patriarchy at people on the street. Most of these issues are addressed in the west. The problem is patriarchy is not well defined because it’s not real. It’s an ideological concept that changes to fit a narrative and continuously make feminism relevant.

            2. I have no objections here except to say this is not patriarchy at work. Even under a full equalitarian system those problems would exist. You will notice that other western countries with more socialism just don’t have the US problems.

            3. Your first point is a specific American issue and doesn’t apply in many western nations. I think Ireland has some terrible abortion laws. Poor people has access to healthcare outside the US but I don’t see that as a male/female issue but an economic one.

            Women are elected, so that point is moot. I’m pretty sure rape laws cover the right to not get raped at a party. The fact rape is difficult to prove is not a system problem it’s just specific to that type of crime. Side note getting drunk at a party to the point of losing control is a bad idea for anyone. Drink responsibly.

            This idea that women who are drunk cannot consent needs to go away. If two people are drunk and have sex either neither could consent or both could consent. People make bad choices when they are drunk but they still made a choice. The idea that the man should be the one to decide if she is too drunk for sex is patriarchy and you are fighting for that.

            The issues you have highlighted are mostly American issue and of those most are localized to the more backwards states. They are not national policy. Outside the US those problems disappear entirely, in the west. Those countries that have the ideal situation that you defined still have feminist screaming patriarchy with as much vigor as anyone.

            If the west was a patriarchy it would look more like Iran. Divorce would be at a mans descretion, inheritance would be unequal, the ability to rule the country as a leader would be non existent. In our society women have equal power to men because their vote counts as much as ours. With female numbers they could but a woman in every position of power and there would be nothing men could do about it. If we are a patriarchy we are terrible at it. Feminists just need a bogeyman to convince people that personal failure is not there fault, there is an invisible force stopping them from achieving. That’s easier than voting and change hearts and minds.

          5. When I was in grad school, there was this tradition of student groups making t-shirts with dumb insular academic jokes. One of the enduring t-shirts read “Sure, it works in practice, but what about the theory?”

            I take your point, I really do, that there are currently no laws with a preamble that reads “in effort to more fully infringe upon the rights and agency of women, people of color, and the lgbtqi community…,” and it seems that you agree with me in recognizing that the application of the law (for whatever reason) results in a practical reality wherein women, people of color, lgbtqi individuals (et al.) face demonstrably unequal access to, and experiences with, public services and resources. We seem to disagree on what that second point means, and whether the first point matters more than the second.

            Patriarchy, racism, homophobia (et al.) are not entities, they’re not things, they’re not animating forces that cause people to be treated differently, they are descriptive conceptualizations of a reality in which people’s experiences are unequal based on a particular characteristic. It’s no different than scientific “law” vs. legal statutes, and asking “where in the law does it state women aren’t equal?” is not much different than asking “how does a rock know to obey the law of gravity?”

            I don’t think it’s going to help to just keep throwing examples at each other, but just in case I haven’t made this point clear, the fact that other cultures are more overtly patriarchal than the US and Canada doesn’t mean the US and Canada aren’t patriarchal at all. There are fewer gun-related homicides in Town A than Town B, but unless Town A has zero gun-related homicides, both towns can be described as experiencing gun violence.

          6. If you can’t show practical examples of patriarchy in the system then it’s not there. What is actually being described is something else entirely. Maybe a bias among individuals in the system but the system itself with a few noted exceptions is already extremely fair. What we need to do is help change some attitudes of some people to push better equal practices. There are ways to do this but people in the legal system are still in the 80s printing documents do I doubt modern analytics is on the horizon for that group.

          7. Sorry, I’m on my phone, so I’ll have to be brief (but maybe that’s better anyway).

            We disagree. My failing to give you a tailor-made example of a thing that you seem pretty invested in not accepting, given how casually you dismiss the examples I did give as “American problems,” “laws that will be found unconstitutional,” and “not about race” based on the flimsiest of pretenses the Trump administration has to offer, is not sufficient evidence to conclude that patriarchy doesn’t exist, in some form, in Western society. I’ll cop to being a poor translator, but I won’t accept that finding the N-word in the foot-note of some obscure tax-code would be better evidence for systematic and structural expression of racial injustice than the observable facts and testimony of people living in this country.

            Moreover, we seem to agree that the actions and biases of individual actors within a system are having an aggregate effect that makes things consistently and categorically unequal for marginalized individuals. You accept this, but you assert it must not be patriarchy/racism, because that’s not what you understand those words to mean.

            Maybe I should just take that as a win. I’ll keep calling it it patriarchy/racism, and you can keep referring to it as some ephemeral ghost in the machine.

          8. This is the definition of patriarchy.

            pa·tri·arch·y
            ˈpātrēˌärkē/
            noun
            a system of society or government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family and descent is traced through the male line.
            a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.
            a society or community organized on patriarchal lines.
            plural noun: patriarchies

            The second definition is probably the closest to what we are talking about. In 1917 that was true but in 2017 it is no longer true. Women have no restrictions to holding any public office and the vote at higher numbers than men.

            Do men hold the power still, yes. But there is no exclusion of women. So by definition it’s not patriarchy.

            There are modern examples of patriarchies and by no reasonable metric do western democracies reflect that of the Vatican or Saudi Arabia or Iran. If women do not have power in western societies and it’s not systematic then you cannot point to this invisible force that is called patriarchy.

            I would prefer to use bias instead of racism. I think racism is part of he reason blacks serve longer jail sentences than whites but not entirely. I think some of it is just unconscience bias towards the other. Another factor is public defenders versus getting a proper lawyer. Public defenders are overloaded and cannot provide the appropriate defence a private lawyer can give. These are problems with the people in the system not the system itself. Of course these things need to be addressed. I just do not think there is any value in calling it racism it’s so much bigger than that and deserves proper investigation with viable solutions.

  2. This was certainly an instance of deplatforming winning out. We already heard out Milo’s terrible ideas and they were decidedly awful. However, no matter how awful they were there are people for whom his message resonated with him.

    We like to think that hearing out ideas on a large stage will automatically cause the bad ideas to weed out, but that assumes that all the people watching are capable of critical thinking and engagement. That’s certainly not the case. Bad ideas spread regardless of their ridiculousness all the time. Trump is our president because he said crazy stuff and the news gave him free exposure. Ken Ham did terribly in his debate with Bill Nye yet the funds from the event allowed him to kickstart his ark park, and now KY is potentially losing out on $18M in taxes.

    This is not the same thing as saying we should never engage with those we disagree with. Thomas has a healthy, intelligent audience, and even if he were to have a conversation with someone like, for example, Milo, he wouldn’t be giving him large scale exposure. Maher was irresponsible here, and he did nothing. Milo’s endorsement of child sex was completely incidental to the rest of his bad ideas, and apparently exposing him only works if he has that particular discredited opinion.

  3. Yes, Milo was/is a prototypical douche nozzle. But I’m not sure we’re entirely justified in our positive giddiness over him being “de-platformed.” First of all, he wasn’t de-platformed because of his callousness toward trans people, which was supposedly the basis for the self-appointed SJW Deities’ demand for his de-platformation. He was de-platformed for saying “shit” in church, or the Anti-PC Warrior equivalent thereof. If you “say ‘shit’ in church,” your point and its context are irrelevant—you’re out. What we’re doing is declaring victory because our arch wrestling rival stepped in front of a bus and was run over. Yeah, that takes care of him, but it proves nothing about our own prowess, or lack thereof.

    The whole idea of “de-platforming” still smacks of censorship and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve asked this question before, here and on other websites, and never received an answer: Who decides who is to be de-platformed and why. Can anyone decide someone else should be de-platformed? Are there guidelines governing who is eligible for de-platforming? So far, it seems like self-appointed SJWs take on the mantle of the Social Judiciary, and while they will sometimes give reasons why they think someone should be silenced, they never give any account of where their authority to make those decisions comes from. Does it go both ways? If not, why not?

    Who, for instance, would have the authority to de-platform Thomas Smith? Who would be empowered to make the decision that he should no longer have access to any mass media outlet at all and should no longer be heard beyond the range of his unamplified voice? I’m not saying that should be done. In fact I’m saying it should not be done, but where does that authority lie and with whom? Were the folks with the power to make those decisions elected? Were they appointed? By whom? Or did they just grow up like weeds?

    If you’re going to assume your own exaltation, you need to be willing to share with the little people the source of it. How are we to stand properly in awe of it if we know not whence it came?

    1. Every person with a platform has control over who uses that platform. That’s who is in control. CPAC didn’t unilaterally bar Milo from everywhere, just from CPAC. Same with S&S.

      If someone I like is deplatformed for reasons I perceive as bad, my qualm is not censorship, because as far as I’m concerned it’s not. Nobody is entitled to a platform. iTunes, for example, could decide not to play Thomas’ podcasts. If Thomas violated their terms of service, then maybe I would be less upset depending on what he did or how ridiculous a certain rule is. If I found the reason unjust, I would protest it and spread the word, but I wouldn’t question the tool of deplatforming. I would question the motivation behind it.

      So yes, deplatforming works both ways. We can counter isolation and bubbles by encouraging a culture of skepticism, rational discussion, and open dialogue. The idea of recognizing deplatforming as a tool but encouraging us not to use it are not in conflict. But we need to be aware what actual rational and open dialogue are. Discussions with people like Milo are not rational nor open, especially when he will simply harass people on stage and send followers after his interlocutors on social media.

      1. Do you have an example of Milo sending anyone to harass anyone? I hear this charge often but when asked for evidence the tune changes to (inset person I don’t like here) has fans that harass people and they don’t stop them.

          1. Yes he personally harassed her if you use a liberal definition of harass. However, where is the evidence he sent anyone else to harass her?

            That attack on jones by the masses came from a Chan site. Milo had nothing to do with inciting that, he joined in near the end. There is lots to critique Milo on without making things up.

  4. If anyone wants to you can check out The Drunken Peasants Episode 330. They address this very issue (since the comments in question come from their interview with him) and I sort of agree with their conclusion. A thirty second clip from a 2-3 hour show doesn’t give you the whole story. There’s a whole interview on either side of the edited clip that went viral (that doesn’t even give DP their due credit).

    Milo is an edgelord troll with toxic ideas and I disagree with him on just about everything. But de-platforming someone just because we disagree with them isn’t something to be celebrated. The last thing we want is to turn someone like Milo into a silent martyr. If that worked then we’d all be out punching Nazis.

    1. I somehow doubt he’s capable of acting as a silent anything.

      More relevantly though, I think it’s important to distinguish between “de-platforming someone just because we disagree with them” and “de-platforming someone because giving them a platform endangers others”, “de-platforming someone because their ideas violate the standards set by a given institution”, even “de-platforming someone because their ideas are too ill-informed to engage in a meaningful way,” or any of the other reasons that might be relevant… in this case “de-platforming someone because not doing so will lose us money.”

      As others have said, Simon & Schuster refuse to publish countless books, and CPAC manages not to invite billions of potential keynote speakers every year. The notion that anyone is somehow compelled to pay Milo millions of dollars or else we’re all secretly anti-American is a ridiculous argument made up by trolls who want to be paid millions of dollars.

    2. I listened to the whole original Drunken Peasants interview with Milo just because all I had ever heard were, like you said, clips of his comments that were several seconds at best.

      Milo is a strange dude. I think raw intelligence-wise he’s got most of his detractors beat by 15 to 30 IQ points. He’s linguistically super-fluent and very articulate. And he is resilient, which is just about my favorite human trait anymore: someone who can’t be seriously damaged by what other people are saying about him.

      But he is damaged. What kept coming to mind was “Stockholm syndrome” and “battered spouse” syndrome. My professional opinion, as a retired electronics engineer, is that he has been mangled by the right wing of the political spectrum like Patty Hearst was mangled by the SLA. He has to say what he says to maintain his trademark outrageousness, but his glibness has a bitter, forlorn tinge to it.

      Like the Drunken Peasants said, I agree with about half of what he says, but the other half of what he says makes me not to admit that I agree with anything he says—if you know what I mean. Anyway, I came away with a decidedly different feeling toward him than I had gotten from the sound-bite-only portrait I’d heard up until then.

      And most importantly, I have a gay friend who does his hair similarly to Milo and I guarantee you Raúl is not spending any $1200/mo. on his hair. Milo could find a better deal on hair care if he put his mind to it.

  5. In my view, Milo was not ‘deplatformed by cpac in the same way that he was ‘deplatformed’ by violent protesters at Berkeley.

    The rioters did whatever they had to get a speaker with an opposing views event cancelled. This meant putting pressure on a third party, the university. Also keep in mind that the speech at Berkeley was imminent.

    The cpac ‘deplatforming’ is really just a business decision from them based on what is almost certainly a hit piece of an editing job on that video. He said controversial things, sure, but it made t look much worse.

    I don’t think this is the example of deplatforming from the right that we’re looking for. I think he Elizabeth warren thing was that.

  6. So….sure, it was Milo talking that “caused” this (what he said caused it).
    But what did it cause? Deplatforming? Others distancing from him? etc

    Isnt that what ppl wanted? Of course they were those who would stopped him from talking if they could but many more people just wanted others to see what horrible things hes saying and wanted others to stop giving him platform to spread those horrible things.

    And what changed is that now he said something that even these people dont agree.

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