Daily Centrist: What Milo Yiannopoulos Taught Progressives
NOTE: I don't support what Milo says. This is an analysis of why people supported him.
Welcome to TaraElla Daily News, where we build a centrist classical liberal awareness, one day at a time, one issue at a time. If you are interested in real intellectual discussions about issues, you've come to the right place, and I highly recommend subscribing. Today, we are going to look at the rise and fall of Milo Yiannopoulos, one of the most controversial and captivating figures in recent political history.
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My focus is, why was Milo the phenomenon he was? I mean, even if you throw a lot of money behind something, it's not bound to be a success. But Milo was, at least for some time, a success by any metric. It means that, what he offered connected with people in some way.
So, What Did Milo Have To Offer?
What he offered? You mean, people actually supported that? A few probably did. But for many people, the value of Milo was that he represented a push back against progressives, with their increasingly outrageous demands. Without the hardline progressive wave of the late Obama era, I doubt that Milo would have been as successful. Now, I am not saying that progressives are bad. Safe speech is certainly bad, but not all progressive ideas are bad. Putting the merits of each issue aside, what I want to illustrate is that, the capacity of acceptance of change is limited, and people feel threatened about further change soon enough. We are all, to some extent, reactionary against change, and this is an in-built mechanism to prevent dangerous change from taking place. To prevent the rise of more Stalins and Pol Pots. It's a good thing, actually. That's why there's nothing wrong with being conservative, as long as one is still open to considering new ideas.
Studies have often found that conservatives are generally more prone to fear, and hence more prone to push back against change. But when change goes too far, too quickly, even people who are usually liberal become reactionary, and become part of the push back. While I disagree with Milo's fans that he was an important part of Trump's election, I do believe that he rode the same wave of push back as Trump, to their respective successes. The truth is, many moderate liberals became Milo fans, and many moderate liberals voted for Trump. Without these liberals neither would have gotten to where they are.
So, Why Did Milo Fall?
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It is quite commonly believed that Milo becoming less popular over time was just a function of people getting tired of his outrageousness. And surely, there was probably a component of that. But it's not just that. Again, it is helpful to look at the innate progressive vs conservative balance of individuals. We each have our own balance, and some people are more to one side or the other. But the key is, everyone acts according to their natural balance. Once Donald Trump got elected, the political balance in the outside world effectively shifted, and this was enough to tip the internal balance of many people. This process continued as we got further into the Trump era. Moderate conservatives, who now had representation in the White House, felt less of a need to latch onto Milo. Moderate progressives, who were now part of the opposition, gradually walked away from all things conservative, and some even made up with SJWs over time. The election of Trump has in effect begun a process of restoring things back to their previous state. All this was a natural and inevitable process. If Milo wanted his star to continue to rise, maybe he should have wanted Hillary to win.
So, What Have We Learned?
The truth is, balance is everything. Both progressives and conservatives who want to achieve their goals need to understand this. Most people are somewhere around the middle. The rise of Milo was an inevitable consequence of progressives moving too far from the middle. In other times in history, conservatives may have done similarly. For example, the stuffy 1950s gave rise to the scary 1960s. The truth is, we need to get people to work together, to work towards solutions that all sides can be happy with. There is a value in moderation and compromise, a value that many progressives seem to have forgotten recently. This is what caused the rise of Milo. Moderate progressives would do well to hang a picture of Milo up on their wall, to remind them of how their movement alienated many people during the middle of this decade.