By Onan Coca
The thing that I fight for on college campuses is the right to be, do and say whatever you want. It is about freedom of expression and the First Amendment, something which is under threat like, perhaps, never before. It is under threat in Hollywood, the media, on college campuses. There is an extraordinary variety of places –state-sponsored or otherwise– in which people are not free to express themselves. To use the language they want to use, to argue about things without being called a sexist or a racist or a bigot.
— Milo Yiannopoulos
I’m no fan of Milo Yiannopoulos. I don’t like him. I don’t like his personality. I don’t like his style. I don’t like the way he treats other people.
However, he does get one thing right. Freedom of speech, expression, religion, thought, and belief are all under attack in America like NEVER BEFORE.
Our First Amendment is most assuredly facing an existential crisis and if we’re not careful, if we’re not diligent, if we’re not vigilant… we could lose the First Amendment forever.
In a recent interview on FOX Good Day LA, Milo discussed his upcoming appearance at Berkeley’s Free Speech Week, and he explained why the work he’s doing is so important.
I don’t represent the “alt-right” in any way, shape or form, but the larger battle here. The thing that I fight for on college campuses is the right to be, do and say whatever you want. It is about freedom of expression and the First Amendment, something which is under threat like, perhaps, never before. It is under threat in Hollywood, the media, on college campuses. There is an extraordinary variety of places –state-sponsored or otherwise– in which people are not free to express themselves. To use the language they want to use, to argue about things without being called a sexist or a racist or a bigot.
What I try to do is to be provocative, entertaining, and to try to blow open the fire doors, if you like, so other people feel a little bit more brave, a little bit more emboldened to discuss their points of view in freer language than they would otherwise feel safe to do…
The people who don’t listen to me… are determined not to listen to anything I say. I make a lot of nuanced arguments, I drop a lot of unsayable truths…
I exist in the tradition of the British polemic, which is an initial outrageous provocation, but followed by a fact by humor, by persuasiveness. Something that makes you, at first, angry, but then entertained, amused, engaged, and thoughtful afterwards. That is what I hope everyone who leaves my shows feels: That they were initially [confused], and then they say: ‘Well I didn’t agree with everything, but there was some interesting stuff in there, and my goodness it was funny.’
I think Americans are a little bit sick of niceness, and political correctness. I think tiptoing around one another has gone on a little bit too long. Americans very clearly voted for somebody who wasn’t stereotpyically ‘nice.’
I think the discourse could do with a little bit of shaking up. I don’t think it is the case that there is a general trajectory down into the gutter — I think the opposite is the problem. I think people have become so nice, and so elaborately polite, and so politically correct, that nobody says what they really mean to one another.
That is why, when people come along, like me or Trump, we develop enormous fanbases almost overnight.
Ben Shapiro, the Editor of the Daily Wire, will also be delivering a speech at Berkeley’s Free Speech Week and he appeared on Fox News to explain that conservatives are happy to stand with the downtrodden, but they’re tired of the leftwing “blame America first” crowd.
“I talk about the idea that in America, you’re living in the freest country in the history of the world, and there aren’t people out there trying to stop you. So you shouldn’t talk about how ‘society’ is setting up institutional obstacles, and you shouldn’t worry so much about so-called white privilege. Instead focus on what you can do as an individual to beter your own life. And if you see instances of racism, sexism, homophobia, or bigotry — all of us stand with you if you can name the instance, but you can’t just sit back and blame America for all of your problems.”
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