The importance of being Milo
The importance of being Milo
On the phone from his home in Miami, the conservative who was born in Kent, England, tells Inquirer the other reason he’s having so much fun irritating those prone to choleric temperaments: “I am the living, breathing refutation of identity politics.
I’m a gay, Jewish immigrant with a black husband, and I really like the Bible and guns and free speech. They just don’t know how to deal with this, that’s why they splutter and go crazy and smash up places when I give college Talks.
“Long may it continue,” he adds, explaining that the violence and hysteria shows that protesters have little of substance to offer in debates. “They know they can’t win on the merits, they realise that identity politics isn’t going to work on me, they realise that they can’t scare or intimidate me, so their only remaining response is violence. And that, for me, is a massive victory.”
His take on identity politics is simple: “Identity politics is the great cancer of American public life. This idea that just because you’re a woman, or gay or black, or whatever, you have to believe a certain thing, follow a certain set of political principles … This is so counterfactual, so anti-intellectual and so incredibly downright bloody patronising to people, the idea that they have no free will, that their political views should be dictated by their skin colour, it’s so offensive and stupid.”
One of the purposes of his Australian Troll Academy Tour is to suggest how we can avoid going down this US path of entrenched identity politics.
Start by understanding the enemy, he says, and how they use feelings-based legislation (think section 18C of our Racial Discrimination Act) as ideological weaponry to excise from public life people they don’t like, using imaginary hurt feelings. “This is a recipe for abuse,” Milo says.
He will find a receptive audience given how 18C has been used against conservatives and free thinkers, from Andrew Bolt and The Australian’s cartoonist Bill Leak to students at Queensland University of Technology.
Next, understand why the cultural left has become so illiberal. “It’s a mark of complacency in ruling elites,” he explains. “Liberals (US parlance for those on the left side of politics) run Hollywood, the media, the academy at universities. Liberals have run everything for a really, really long time.
They have become reliant on authoritarianism and bullying and intimidation, instead of having to persuade people.”
As the cultural underdogs, he says, conservatives and libertarians have to persuade people that this status quo is wrong and “they’re sharpening their tool kit, they’re honing their skills, their rhetoric and reasons and logic”.
And finally, Milo says we should understand what he has come to know. “These people only really have the power you give them. If you turn around and stick a little finger up at them … not very much bad happens.
So every time someone says, ‘You can’t say that,’ ask them why, and who died?”
Milo adheres to dictum of Andrew Breitbart, the eponymous website’s founder who died in 2012, that politics is downstream from culture, hence culture is the most important battlefield.
Asked what success will look like on the cultural battlefront, Milo says it’s more a case of what it will sound like. “When we start to laugh … when we see people poking fun at the people who really rule over us, journalists and university professors and Hollywood actors and actresses, these ludicrous, pontificating lightweights who think they can dictate to the rest of us how we should think, and what we should say.
When we have belly-laughs on mainstream TV at their expense — the cultural authoritarians hate humour and being laughed at — when that happens then we will know we are winning.”
Janet Albrechstein Australian 11/11/2017