The fall of Milo Yiannopoulos

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Jacob 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #165

    Jacob
    Keymaster

    I thought this story from vox, about how a 16 year old helped depose Milo Yiannopoulos, was inspiring as an example of successful social activism. I also found the discussion of “free speech” interesting. Here’s an excerpt:

    Yiannopoulos isn’t pushing the boundaries of free speech to make salient political arguments; he’s just said provocative things that denigrate minorities, women, and especially feminists — and even defended child molestation. All of this is meant to anger liberals, but there’s really not much substance there.

    I’m curious to see how the battle over political correctness, such as it is, will progress. Here’s hoping we’ll see more substantive arguments from all sides, someday.

  • #220

    Hogeye
    Participant

    Milo is my new comedy hero! I didn’t know much about him until after he quit Breibart – after the silly pederasty charge – but then I watched a bunch of his videos on YouTube and realized that he is brilliant.

    Milo Yiannopoulos is basically a flaming gay Bill Maher – funny as hell, politically incorrect, an iconoclast that savagely ridicules social dogma. After watching some videos, I realized that virtually every charge made on mainstream media about him is a lie – third hand political correctness gone wild. E.g. One friend of mine claimed that Milo outed a tranny at the University of Wisconsin. No; he did not out anyone – the dude in question is obviously a guy in a dress, and anyone in his class would know that. Milo did ridicule the guy – quite deservedly since he used government power to “force his way into women’s restrooms.” Milo makes astute but funny observations about Muslim culture, in much the way Maher skews Christian culture, and Milo and Bill share a strong distaste for political correctness. I think one reason statist liberals (and anti-Trumpers) hate Milo so much is that he, by his very existence and popularity among the “right,” disproves the lefty claims that righties are homophobic and racist.

    Milo’s “fall” is very strange. He has said so many politically incorrect things, that I found it rather surprising that the old statuatory “rape” issue was what “got” him. As usual, the PC types did not even listen to what he actually said. They just listened to a sound byte, misunderstood, and commenced virtue signaling. What did Milo actually say?

    1) That some 13 year olds are mature enough to have sex.
    2) That one-size-fits-all statist decrees do not capture these human differences.
    3) That some gay guys learn the ropes from older gay guys, which may be a good thing for some, e.g. preventing suicide.
    4) Milo defines “pedophilia” and explicitly denies defending it.

    None of these statements are controversial to me. They are all true. But the Politically Correct stick-up-their-ass types freaked out, without hearing these points, let alone addressing them. Their minds turned to mush due to their disgust-sanctity proto-value, as Jonathan Heidt might say.

    For those who did not catch the comments in the video, here is the transcript:

    Milo: “This is a controversial point of view I accept. We get hung up on this kind of child abuse stuff to the point where we’re heavily policing even relationships between consenting adults, you know grad students and professors at universities.”

    The men in the joint video interview then discuss Milo’s experience at age 14.

    Another man says: “The whole consent thing for me. It’s not this black and white thing that people try to paint it. Are there some 13-year-olds out there capable of giving informed consent to have sex with an adult, probably…”

    The man says, “The reason these age of consent laws exist is because we have to set some kind of a barometer here, we’ve got to pick some kind of an age…”

    Milo: “The law is probably about right, that’s probably roughly the right age. I think it’s probably about okay, but there are certainly people who are capable of giving consent at a younger age, I certainly consider myself to be one of them, people who are sexually active younger. I think it particularly happens in the gay world by the way. In many cases actually those relationships with older men…This is one reason I hate the left. This stupid one size fits all policing of culture. (People speak over each other). This sort of arbitrary and oppressive idea of consent, which totally destroys you know understanding that many of us have. The complexities and subtleties and complicated nature of many relationships. You know, people are messy and complex. In the homosexual world particularly. Some of those relationships between younger boys and older men, the sort of coming of age relationships, the relationships in which those older men help those young boys to discover who they are, and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable and sort of a rock where they can’t speak to their parents. Some of those relationships are the most -”

    It sounds like Catholic priest molestation to me, another man says, interrupting Milo.
    
Milo: “And you know what, I’m grateful for Father Michael. I wouldn’t give nearly such good head if it wasn’t for him.”

    Other people talk. Oh my God, I can’t handle it, one man says. The next thing in line is going to be pedophilia…says another man.

    Milo: “You’re misunderstanding what pedophilia means. Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13-years-old who is sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty. Pedophilia is attraction to people who don’t have functioning sex organs yet. Who have not gone through puberty. Who are too young to be able (unclear and cut off by others)…That’s not what we are talking about. You don’t understand what pedophilia is if you are saying I’m defending it because I’m certainly not.”

    Another man said, “You are advocating for cross generational relationships here, can we be honest about that?”

    Milo: “Yeah, I don’t mind admitting that. I think particularly in the gay world and outside the Catholic church, if that’s where some of you want to go with this, I think in the gay world, some of the most important, enriching and incredibly life affirming, important shaping relationships very often between younger boys and older men, they can be hugely positive experiences for those young boys. They can even save those young boys, from desolation, from suicide (people talk over each other)… providing they’re consensual.”

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  Hogeye.
  • #238

    Spooner Bookman
    Participant

    So far, I think I’ve read about 4,000 words that Hogeye has written here and elsewhere and I don’t think it would be an overstatement to say I’ve disagreed with less than 50 of them. Considering that all my life it’s seemed like nearly everyone has always disagreed with me about nearly everything, this has been encouraging, to say the least.

    “…one reason statist liberals (and anti-Trumpers) hate Milo so much is that he, by his very existence and popularity among the ‘right,’ disproves the lefty claims that righties are homophobic…”

    Nail on the head.

    I have a good friend that’s a diehard Trump-fan, Bible-believing, take-it-from-my-cold-dead-hands kinda guy. So, according to the True Believers, he hates gay people and wants to oppress them. The fact he loves Milo, and doesn’t really have a problem with Milo’s homosexuality, really puts a dent in that narrative. (He thinks homosexuality is ‘wrong’, but he also thinks profanity is ‘wrong’. How much time does he spend lamenting the existence of homosexuality? About the same amount of time he spends concerning himself with the existence of profanity. Neither is a big issue for him.)

    “After watching some videos, I realized that virtually every charge made on mainstream media about him is a lie…”

    C’mon, tell the truth: you didn’t need any more evidence than you already had to know that ‘virtually every charge made on mainstream media’ is a lie, right? 😉

    Like you, I’m unable to do the mental gymnastics required to contort his words into a defense of pedophelia. If you’re new to Milo, you may not know that he was sexually abused at a young age, and has been open about both his experience, and how horrible child molestation is. (In the transcript quoted, they skip over the part about ‘Milo’s experience at age 14’. That ‘experience’ is pretty crucial to the context of the rest of the conversation.) If Milo is in fact ‘ok’ with man-boy relationships, he’s certainly never said anything that would indicate it.

    But, no matter: the assassination worked. Before Milo’s fall, my Trump-fan buddy was thinking, ‘Ya know, this gay dude is alright! Maybe I should be a little more positive in my view of homosexuals…’ Now? ‘Ahh, I knew something wuz wrong with them gay dudes…’ He saw the headlines and that was enough for him.

    As for the Vox article, I have a hard time taking it seriously. The tone is basically that I’m supposed to be impressed that a person (or group of persons, more likely) succeeded in a crusade to put an end to someone’s free speech? Forgive me for not leaping for joy, bad back you know.

    Furthermore, the deliberateness and care that went into crafting the misleading quote would be laughable if it wasn’t so insidious: “[Milo]… defended the idea of ‘13-year-olds’ having sex with ‘older men,’ arguing that child molestation provided a ‘sort of ‘coming of age’ relationship’ for teenagers.” Compare that with Hogeye’s transcript and any honest person can see what I mean.

    Curious to read his book whenever gets it out.

  • #239

    Jacob
    Keymaster

    I confess you surprised me with your response, Hogeye my friend.

    Firstly, you say Milo claimed that “Some 13 year olds are mature enough to have sex”, and you also say you find this statement uncontroversially true.

    13 seems too young, to me, to validly consent to sexual intercourse with an adult. But, rather than trying to make some argument to that effect, I wanted to go ahead and ask what standard you would judge consent by, or whether you knew of something empirical that I didn’t which might lead me to agree with you. I figure if it strikes you as an uncontroversial claim then you’ll have a clear, fairly simple reason for accepting it, and it would make more sense for me to understand your reasoning, before going further on into the discussion, than to go with a guess.

    Roth Bard, do you happen to have a link to the part of the video, (or a transcript of it,) that contains the context you mention? Hogeye’s transcript certainly gives me the impression that Milo condoned the actions of “Father Michael”, not that he condemned them. In another video he also tries to justify the person’s behavior.

    On the “outing” of the transgender student at the University of Wisconsin, the student had already been in the news, with her picture and name, so it’s hard to say he “outed” her. I do think that his actions were cruel and potentially put her in danger. Unprovoked violence against transgender people is not unheard of, and since she was sitting in the audience during his speech, it seems reasonable for her to have been afraid that someone could recognize her and the situation could easily escalate into violence.

  • #241

    Hogeye
    Participant

    “Some 13 year olds are mature enough to have sex” seems obvious to me, since this set of people has a lot of variation. Some 13-year-olds have a mental age much higher. Some cultures don’t have the age hangup. It seems to me that the denial – saying that no 13-year-old ever has been mature enough for sex – would be the extraordinary statement that needs defending. BTW Milo himself says he was old enough (at 14.)

    I note that you oppose the contention above with, not its denial, but a statement that could be compatible: “13 seems too young, to me, to validly consent to sexual intercourse with an adult.” That is stating a general rule about 13-year-olds which, by the way, Milo agreed with. (“The law is probably about right, that’s probably roughly the right age. I think it’s probably about okay…”) In short, one can say that most 13 year olds are not ready for sex, but some are.

    Also, Jacob, you added “with an adult” as if that were important, as if maybe your beef was with *age differences* rather than sex with a minor. Are you admitting that a 13-year-old might consent to sex with a 14-year-old?

    My understanding of the transcript is that Milo did not condone nor did he condemn the actions of Father Michael; he cracked a blowjob joke. Where’s your sense of humor?

    I’m too concerned about free speech and delighted by political incorrectness to worry about silly hypotheticals like: someone somewhere might get harmed by a third party. Should I stop making fun of statists and theists or drug prohibitionists simply because someone might harm one after hearing my ridicule? Or perhaps a closer analogy – should I refrain from making fun of anorexics or alcoholics simply because someone may in the future try to harm one?

  • #242

    Jacob
    Keymaster

    Thanks for your response, Hogeye! To answer all out of order:

    My understanding of the transcript is that Milo did not condone nor did he condemn the actions of Father Michael; he cracked a blowjob joke. Where’s your sense of humor?

    My understanding of the transcript you posted is different, but we can examine other statements he made as well. In the video I linked to in my previous post, he explicitly says of the sex act between himself and Father Michael, when he was 14, that “It wasn’t molestation, it was perfectly consensual.” In another video, (the same video as your transcript, I think, but a part not included verbatim in your transcript,) we can find him explicitly claiming that 13 year olds can consent to have sex with 28 year olds. He certainly believes himself to be against pedophilia, but we have to examine the rest of what he says as well, not just the part where he claims to oppose what he thinks of as “pedophilia”, but the parts where he makes specific claims about relationships between people of specific ages.

    Also, Jacob, you added “with an adult” as if that were important, as if maybe your beef was with *age differences* rather than sex with a minor. Are you admitting that a 13-year-old might consent to sex with a 14-year-old?

    I did add “with an adult”, for a couple of reasons. First, because it focuses us on the specific claims that Milo made. He defended sexual relationships between people 13 years of age and people 25 or 28 years of age. Second, it seems easier to me to come to some working answer to whether sexual consent between a 13 year old and an adult is possible than whether sexual consent between a 13 year old and a 14 year old is possible.

    Whether a 13 year old and a 14 year old can consensually have sex with one another, and under what circumstances this might be possible, (if it is), is also an interesting, (and difficult,) question. I’m willing to say, carefully, that I won’t commit to condemning a 13 and 14 year old who have sex with one another under all possible circumstances. I’m willing to leave open the possibility that two 13 year olds might, under some possible circumstances, be able to have consensual sex with one another. Saying it’s possible requires me to demonstrate that such circumstances could occur, and I’m not sure whether it’s possible or not. My default judgement in a random instance would be to guess that consent was not present, but I wouldn’t claim that it couldn’t be present under any possible conditions.

    But Milo was not talking about sex between a 13 year old and a 14 year old. Perhaps that was not clear in my initial post. I feel more capable of making a case that 13 year olds can’t consent to have sex with 28 year olds, and that is all I need to make a case for to disagree with Milo.

    For the sake of argument, I’ll even grant a little more leeway. (Reserving the ability to retract it utterly on a whim, as I confess doing so makes me uncomfortable.) Say a 14 year old was living independently, in their own home, without parents, roommates, or others older than them living in their household. Say they had a stable source of income by which they could pay their bills and live decently, (by “decently” lets say about as well as I do.) Stipulate, (importantly,) that they are not having sex for money and that their livelihood makes absolutely no requirement of them in regard to sex; whether they choose to have sex with anyone or not has no causal connection to whether they are able to make a decent living. Say they are also mentally stable.

    In such a case, if they have sex with, say, an 18 year old, I wouldn’t commit to the claim that the 18 year old was necessarily molesting them.

    I’m not sure I can stretch my intuitions much farther than that without some powerful empirical research on the psychology of consent, providing some sort of comprehensive account of what constitutes consent, as a mental state, and of what conditions are necessary for it to be present. So far as I am aware, no such research has ever been undertaken, nor is any comprehensive scientific account of consent likely to be produced in the next few decades.

    Going about as far as I can, then, I still can’t agree with Milo. I would be surprised to learn that he, when he was 14, met the conditions I outlined. Assuming he did not, I take issue with his claim that he could have provided valid consent.

    I note that you oppose the contention above with, not its denial, but a statement that could be compatible: “13 seems too young, to me, to validly consent to sexual intercourse with an adult.” That is stating a general rule about 13-year-olds which, by the way, Milo agreed with. (“The law is probably about right, that’s probably roughly the right age. I think it’s probably about okay…”) In short, one can say that most 13 year olds are not ready for sex, but some are.

    Fair enough. But, in my mind, who they’re having sex with, and why, makes a difference. I do think differently about two 13 year olds having sex than about a 13 year old and a 28 year old having sex. Among other things, I find it hard to imagine an adult not having immense power over a 13 year old, while a 13 year old would have negligible power over an adult. It’s possible one could invent scenarios in which such a difference in power would not be present, * but I expect they would bear little resemblance to what happened between Milo and Father Michael.

    This is also more than a question about “statist decrees”. He’s treating Father Michael’s actions as ok, not as a vice, so it’s not that he wants to treat it as a vice but not a crime.

    “Some 13 year olds are mature enough to have sex” seems obvious to me, since this set of people has a lot of variation. Some 13-year-olds have a mental age much higher. Some cultures don’t have the age hangup. It seems to me that the denial – saying that no 13-year-old ever has been mature enough for sex – would be the extraordinary statement that needs defending. BTW Milo himself says he was old enough (at 14.)

    It’s true that some cultures don’t have the age hangup. I prefer to live in one that does. Perhaps I might be alright with a culture that accepted 16 year olds as full adults, and treated them as able to consent to sex. But I would prefer people treat 13 year olds as too young.

    Consent is something I value greatly, and that I place a lot of weight on in trying to decide how to interact with other people. I prefer to err towards a strict set of conditions for consent. Condoning sexual relationships between adults and children seems to require about as broad a standard of consent as one could concoct.

    I don’t mind admitting that there’s an emotional element in my intuitions, here. In my case, it is not so much disgust as fear. I’m afraid to live in a society of people that set their bar for consent as low as Milo does.

    I’m too concerned about free speech and delighted by political incorrectness to worry about silly hypotheticals like: someone somewhere might get harmed by a third party. Should I stop making fun of statists and theists or drug prohibitionists simply because someone might harm one after hearing my ridicule? Or perhaps a closer analogy – should I refrain from making fun of anorexics or alcoholics simply because someone may in the future try to harm one?

    No, I won’t ask you to refrain from those things for those reasons. But I will ask you to not go as far as Milo did.

    His ridicule, in the case of the University of Wisconsin student, involved joking about having sex with the person he was making fun of. It’s not just that he made fun of her that put her in danger; inviting his audience to laugh at the thought of him “banging” her or applying his lipstick to seduce her comes about as close to saying, “If any of you rape this person later let me in on the joke,” as he could have come without explicitly condoning violence against her.

    I confess that he stopped short of explicitly saying, “I’d rape this person.” But the way he did it, he was engaging in sexual harassment. Joking about having sex with someone who obviously would never consent to have sex with you, given how you are simultaneously demeaning them, implies, to me, that you find the thought of them being raped funny. In those circumstances I would have held him partially to blame if someone had physically harmed her, because he was implicitly encouraging people to do so. I wouldn’t have treated him as an aggressor in the strict NAP sense of aggression, but I would still treat him as partially responsible, because his actions would have been causally connected to the harm done to her.

    Regarding my sense of humor, I’ll be the first to confess that social issues make it hard for me to laugh about things. I take life quite seriously. Even without that, though, sexual harassment and child molestation seem especially difficult to interpret in a humorous way. Milo doesn’t come off as an underdog, to me, the way I guess he does to you by being politically incorrect and abrasive. His actions at the University of Wisconsin just make him seem like a generic bully. His discussion of pedophilia makes him seem scary.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Jacob.
  • #244

    Hogeye
    Participant

    Jacob> “He explicitly says of the sex act between himself and Father Michael, when he was 14, that ‘It wasn’t molestation, it was perfectly consensual.’”

    He ought to know. He was there. Are you still trying to defend the statement “No 13 year olds are capable if having consentual sex?” You know, a single counter-example refutes that.

    Milo> “We are talking about 13-25 or 13-28 – these things do happen consensually.”

    Yes, quite true. You seem to be jumping from “it happens” to “promoting pedophilia.”

    Jacob> “Second, it seems easier to me to come to some working answer to whether sexual consent between a 13 year old and an adult is possible than whether sexual consent between a 13 year old and a 14 year old is possible.”

    If the question is “Are some 13-year-old capable of consent” then age difference should not matter. Thus is could be that your disgust response is about age difference rather than absolute age (if you have no problem with a 13 and 14 year old having sex.)

    I suppose this issue is about the moral agency of 13 year olds. I think some are old enough to consent, but you claim none of them are (at least if the age difference with their partner is over 10 years or so.) By admitting that a 13-year-old might consent to sex with a 14 or 16 year old, you weaken your case that they are incapable of consent with a 28 year old. Maybe you could come up with a power or intelligence difference argument – but be careful. You may make sex between smart people and dumb people verboten!

    I suppose I am more ready than you to take people at their word when they claim consent, rather than to second-guess them and say they are too dumb or immature or incapable of giving consent. I prefer to err (if at all) on the side of individual sovereignty rather than paternalism.

    Your interpretation of Milo saying he wanted to date the transvestite is bizarre, to me. Saying “I’d like to date him. Maybe I should put on some lipstick.” is not remotely condoning rape. Milo was (if you saw the video) underlining the tranny’s obvious masculinity while poking fun at his own gayness. Funny! I have no idea how you could interpret that as condoning violence, let alone an invitation to rape.

  • #250

    Jacob
    Keymaster

    I’m still trying to defend the claim that no 13 year olds can validly consent to sex with an adult, yes. I doubt whether they can consent to sex with each other, but it seems harder to demonstrate this one way or the other with certainty. I’m certainly aware that one counter-example is enough, but I’m deeply worried that if we adopt a norm or heuristic that accepts 13 year olds as able to consent under any circumstance that such a norm would lead to our condoning cases of rape. I’m far more worried about making sure we don’t condone rape than I am about making sure we don’t ostracize or hurt adults who had consensual sex with teenagers.

    In retrospect, I linked to the Vox article without expecting a debate on age of consent. I’d rather be able to channel such a discussion into empirical questions as much as possible; “Are there documented examples of people having sex at 13 and living the rest of their lives unharmed by it?” for instance. I didn’t come with detailed knowledge about adolescent psychology, only with the expectation that others here would agree that 15 and below was too young. Thus, I didn’t come prepared to debate the question.

    That we’re having the debate undermines my assumption that what Milo said would discredit him among all other libertarians, which was, I think, what I had been going for.

    I just watched the press conference Milo held after resigning from Breitbart. In it, he says he thinks 14 is too young, and refers to his experiences at 13 as abuse, which of course contradicts what he said in the other videos I linked to. If nothing else, that he says now that it was abuse calls into question his earlier denial. (And he explicitly says it’s something he changed his mind about, and that it took him a while to accept that his experiences had harmed him.) I think this shows my “second-guessing” his earlier statement that the acts were consensual was justified. He could be backpedaling from his earlier claims dishonestly; perhaps he still privately thinks of his experiences as consensual, but if he’s second-guessing his earlier statements himself, I think that makes it easier for me to second guess him and say that his earlier denial fails to show that it’s possible for 13 year olds to consent to sex.

    I agree that I’m more willing than you to second guess people who claim that they gave valid consent to various things. Michael Huemer spends a lot of time doing the same thing with the social contract in The Problem of Political Authority. You, yourself, Hogeye, refer to Stockholm syndrome in your anarcho-capitalist FAQ. And I assume you believe that in the case of, say, a 3 year old, saying the word “yes” is not sufficient for consent to sex. So I’m second guessing people in broader circumstances than you, but you seem to accept the possibility that someone can believe themselves to have been in a consensual relationship even when they weren’t. Have I guessed wrong about this?

    In any case, I think, at least, we’ve managed to keep up our practice of civil discussion about things we disagree on, and I’m grateful to you for that. I’m glad Roth finds your posts agreeable, and glad that we seem to be growing our forum. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m angry at either of you, personally.

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