Numerous reasons exist to allow Milo Yiannopoulos or Ann Coulter or a host of other odious people to speak on college campuses. Peaceful protests are fine. Violence and property damage are not fine. Preventing others from hearing opposing view is not fine.
Tuesday afternoon Alexandra DeSanctis wrote at the National Review:
The mayor of Berkeley is urging the University of California, Berkeley, to cancel an upcoming appearance by controversial right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, citing his concerns that anti-fascists will “use large protests to create mayhem.”
DeSanctis referred to remarks that Mayor Jesse Arreguin made in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. With an assist from Mayor Arreguin we look as pernicious as the Klan.
Antifa needs some adult supervision if we have to live in fear of violence. Violent protests only further polarize people. Peaceful protests energized and educated our citizenry to bring an end to the war in Vietnam. Prior to that peaceful protest caused Jim Crow to cease.
Attempting to silence Milo does more harm than he could ever do by speaking on a campus. “Schmuck” best describes Milo Yiannopoulos who is an embarrassment to the gay community. I suspect that Milo is doing a cynical Ann Coulter. I have never met Yiannopoulos but I have spoken with The Wicked Witch. Her public persona is a caricature. Our outrage provides more fuel for Coulter’s crackpot cranker than the approval of her base. The more we ignore her, the less power she has. The same is probably true of Milo.
Why are we giving Milo all of this free ink? Moreover, people who might otherwise find a better use for their time will attend a Milo event as a means of extending a middle finger to “the left.” Others might want to attend in order to see for themselves what all the fuss is about. I am not immune to that phenomenon. I am ashamed to admit that a couple of years ago I wasted $12 and two hours of my time to view the thoroughly awful Fifty Shades of Grey. I did so because of the hysteria over the movie by the Christian right.
Who are we to substitute our judgment for others? If someone wants to spend some time and money to hear Milo, what right does an opponent have to prevent him or her from doing so? We risk incurring the resentment of that individual, incurring a self-inflicted wound. It would be an unforced error.
People with whom I disagree can be instructive in many ways. At worst they help to construct opposing arguments. I have friendly email colloquies with an assortment of people well to my right all of the time. Is there any indication that my views in support of LGBT people have moderated?
Eugene Volokh is likely to write a commentary in the near future regarding Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. We will probably disagree. Yet Gene is a very smart guy and brilliant lawyer whose writing style is appealing. I will benefit from reading his piece. If nothing else I will acquire perspective. Would anyone seriously suggest that Volokh should lose his column at the Washington Post because he sides with Jack Phillips?
I have made a conscious choice to reduce some of my profanity — which doesn’t fucking work all of the time. A concerted (still imperfect) effort of mine exists to substitute active voice for passive voice in sentence structure. Suggestions from people to my right cause me to do these things. My passion for LGBT equality remains unchanged.