by Ben Cohen
The Alt Right's favorite online troll Milo Yiannopoulos was evacuated from the University of California at Berkeley after student protesters threw smoke bombs, smashed windows and lit a massive bonfire when he arrived to give a speech yesterday.
While the students at UC Berkeley haven't exactly covered themselves in glory in recent times, their uprising over the presence of one of Breitbart.com's most prominent editors did much to redeem their reputation. Usually, censoring speech of any kind is not a good thing, and universities should be places where people from all over the political spectrum should be able to speak freely. But in the era of Trump and the growing menace of thinly veiled fascism, students are well within their right to exercise radical protest when dealing with official Trump spokespeople. Because Yiannopoulos is no independent journalist, and he is no longer a fringe extreme right nutjob making a living shocking people à la Ann Coulter. He is the official face of Trumpism and has, as we learned today, direct ties to the president (whom he affectionately calls "daddy"). In response to the uprising at Berkeley, Trump threatened to pull federal government funding from the university, effectively using his position to bully a historic university with a long history of academic excellence and progressive thinking.
Yiannopoulos is an interesting case study in the rapidly emerging Alt Right movement -- a gay, Greek born Brit plying his shock jock style journalism in the US to great effect. Countering the excesses of left wing intersectionality and gender identity obsession, Yiannopoulos, a self described “dangerous faggot”, has created a very successful niche for himself, largely through bashing feminists, liberals and minorities while presenting a completely alternative reality.
Yiannopoulos engages in an extreme form of Orwellian doublespeak where up is down and left is right -- literally. To Yiannopoulos, conservative women who stayed at home to cook and clean are the real feminists, liberals are actually fascists and the welfare state is responsible for impoverishing African Americans and other minorities. There are an array of sophisticated arguments to back up these claims, all of which are basically historically inaccurate and based on easily disprovable bullshit.
Yiannopoulos -- who penned a 3,500 word essay on what it means to be 'Alt-Right' believes that White Anglo Saxon Protestant culture a morally superior to all other cultures and must be defended against marauding Islamists and immigrants infiltrating the west to rape (white) American women and take advantage of the liberal state. So insistent that right wing Judeo Christian values are the pinnacle of human achievement, Milo even believes being gay is a bad thing and would turn himself straight if he could. Yiannopolous is basically a more intelligent, articulate version of Ann Coulter (herself a gay icon) and has perfected veiling his toxic politics with intellectually seductive writing and a knack for theatrics.
"Skinheads, by and large, are low-information, low-IQ thugs driven by the thrill of violence and tribal hatred," wrote Yiannopolous in response to the suggestion that the Alt Right movement is a fascist one. "The alternative right are a much smarter group of people — which perhaps suggests why the Left hates them so much. They’re dangerously bright."
You'll notice of course, that he doesn't deny the charge.
In the past, listening to Yiannopolous speak was always entertaining, particularly for those of us who share a good portion of disdain for the social justice warriors wrecking liberalism -- but only as performance art and from the safety of fringe right wing lunacy spectatorship. But now he has gone mainstream and his opinions are no longer dismissible -- they are the underpinning philosophy of the new president and his dastardly chief strategist and former Breitbart.com executive Steve Bannon. This is for lack of a better word, terrifying. Yiannopolous and his band of proto-fascists have real power, and will be a serious force to reckon with in the coming years.
The time for conversing with the Alt-Right movement has now come to and end -- its followers are too extreme and too far gone to be reached and no good will come from attempting serious dialogue. Fascism cannot and should not be negotiated with no matter how dressed up it is. Yiannopolous may believe he is a fabulous person speaking truth to power, but the underlying assumption behind his political philosophy is that he is intellectually and culturally superior because he is a white male. This is fascism, plain and simple.
The students at UC Berkeley have kicked off the beginnings of a true resistance to this madness -- a movement willing to use real force if necessary to make their point. While many on the left are concerned about physical resistance to Trumpism, they would do well to study history. Appeasing fascism has never worked, and it won't work again. It must be fought and it must be destroyed before it takes hold of the public's psyche in an irreversible way. The Alt Right has already morphed into an incredibly powerful movement of energized activists and true believers convinced that they are the true vanguards of the revolution. And with Steve Bannon's stated desire to "destroy the state" and "bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment,” the left must not take their threats idly. Bannon, Yiannopolous and the Alt Right movement must now be taken at their word, and fought tooth and nail to prevent them from enacting whatever dark fantasy they aim to enforce on the American population.
While Yiannopolous has portrayed himself as a subversive thinker concerned with freedom of speech, really he is a hate merchant who has dedicated himself to dividing society along ethnic and gender lines. Unfortunately for him, he is now feeling the effects of his contribution to society from a growing resistance movement that will no longer tolerate his bullshit.