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A Reader Defends Milo

Milo Yiannopoulos (NextCONF/Flickr)
Published with the reader’s permission:

I normally agree with everything you say but I completely disagree about what you said concerning Milo.

I think he explains it quite well in his latest statement https://www.facebook.com/myiannopoulos/posts/851826321621931

and see also the video https://www.facebook.com/myiannopoulos/videos/851905428280687/

Milo was abused as a child by a priest. This has clearly affected him (perhaps even contributing to his homosexuality – he had in the past said that in his case his homosexuality was mostly nurture rather than nature). To cope with the event he laughs about it pretending that he was in control. This way he does not see himself as a victim. I can’t see anything wrong with that.

(See his response for the other stuff. His reference to boys and older men was about 16/17 year olds – above the age of consent – not 13 year olds)

Notwithstanding this abuse he seems to have found the grace within him to forgive (or at least not condemn) the priest who did that to him. And instead of a catholic hating atheist he is someone who always defends the Church and its magisterium (see here for a collection of writing by a hostile atheist: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/barrierbreaker/milo-yiannapoulos-leading-catholic-guilt-evangelist/).

Milo has an audience of young people who are disaffected by liberalism. Instead of just getting them to to hate the left he also feeds a positive message to them (the social conservatism of the catholic church). But he does so in a subtle way. 80% of his speeches are just useless entertaining (for some) packaging but the 20% he does communicate is great and important. The reason he does so is to ensure that the left does not actually engage with him on his positive message (because they think he is just a troll who does not have one). But the way it looks to his fans is that this guy does have a message and not no one is actually engaging with him on the substance. And so he wins by default.

He plays up the sexual libertinism but that is part of the goal. In most people’s minds social conservatism is the same thing as prudishness. And no one likes prudes. As such communicating the message is harder if one is perceived as a prude. Milo plays all that hedonism up so that he is not perceived that. This disables the defence of the interlocutor against social conservatism. And then he explains why abortion is wrong, why contraception is bad, why marriage is between a man and a woman, why same sex couples should not adopt, etc… Milo is probably the most effective communicator of social conservatism that there is nowadays (at least among the young).

And in his more serious moment he does show real dignity and compassion. You saw his video at Memories Pizza. And also other moments where he talks about working class americans and how they have been mistreated. He does genuinely care.

What Milo needs right now is not our vilification but our prayers.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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