A reader in Chicago sends this video clip in which the notorious Milo Yiannopoulos takes his crew to visit Memories Pizza and interviews the owners about their experience last year. You’ll remember Memories Pizza as the small-town Indiana pizza shop whose Evangelical Christian owners were more or less set up by an Indiana TV reporter, amid the Indiana RFRA debacle, who asked them if they would cater a gay wedding. They said no, an answer which, upon broadcast, brought down a hateful national mob on their heads. They closed the business for a few days, and considered never opening again. They got death threats. I wrote about it all here at the time, saying:
This may not be the America the gay rights movement and its allies, especially in the media, wanted. But this is the America they have created. And it’s just starting.
I don’t know that I ever would have recommended watching a Milo video, but this one is genuinely informative, even moving. The interview with owners Kevin O’Connor and his daughter Crystal doesn’t start until the nine-minute mark, so fast-forward. They are gentle, kind, normal, small-town people. This interview really amplifies the horror of what the Social Justice Warrior mob did to them. It’s a relief to see that their business still thrives.
Milo points out in the interview that the O’Connors have no problem serving gay clientele — they served him, after all. He also says in the interview that he believes the liberal mob descending on their heads is one of the events that shocked a lot of Americans into voting for Donald Trump. Trump was not a candidate at that point, of course; what he means is that seeing what the left can and will do to the little guy, all in the name of #LoveWins™, helped radicalize a lot of middle-American people towards Trump.
It’s an impossible claim to prove, but I think Milo is onto something. If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know that I’ve been talking about the Benedict Option for at least a decade. It has never really taken off. After the Indiana RFRA event, of which Memories Pizza was a key part, interest in the Benedict Option really took off. That was the catalyst for a lot of conservative Christians. I noted this in the manuscript for The Benedict Option, but I had not thought about all that being a catalyst (not the catalyst, but a catalyst) for the Trump campaign until Milo said so. I did note in my manuscript that the refusal of the GOP to stand firm in the face of Big Business pressure was revealing. Perhaps this too, at some level, worked to Trump’s advantage, signaling to conservative Christians at the grassroots level that whatever his many sins and failings, Trump was not a guy who was going to be intimidated by political correctness.
Interesting theory, anyway.
UPDATE: Commenter yahtzee says:
As JB13 points out, the Brendan Eich thing might have been even bigger. As someone who works in tech and couldn’t even imagine donating money to an anti-SSM initiative, that whole thing hit me like a bolt of lightning, and completely changed my political thinking.
I disagree up and down with the entire leftist project, but in a multicultural empire like the United States, I thought a soft sort of libertarianism was the best thing to strive for. The Eich affair taught a lot of us that no, “live and let live” is not going to be an acceptable equilibrium for the left.
It doesn’t matter if you agree with leftist initiatives in part, you’re an ideological enemy if you disagree with any of it. And any of it can change at in any given week, given the passions of the mob.
And they’ll come after your reputation, and your career, and your family. You’ll be proclaiming, “But I support same-sex marriage!” as you’re mobbed for some new sin that didn’t even exist last week in the fevered mind of people who’s grasp on actual, solid reality is tenuous.
No thanks. Hitching your wagon to the ideology of the mentally ill or confused doesn’t seem like a long-term winning strategy.