If I Could Talk to Milo, This is What I’d Like to Tell Him

Milo Yiannopoulos has had a wild year.  If you pay attention to the news cycle at all you have surely heard of the constant controversy that surrounds this young man.  His recent personal and professional crisis over statements made a year ago, has thrown gas on the fire of liberal “haters” bent on ending his career.  The left despises Milo, which tells me he’s on to something.  In the era of Trump, Milo has reinforced some of the same truths that our new President used to wake up the silent majority.  One of those truths is simply the basic premise that truth does exist and none of us get credit for creating or discovering it.  What Milo, much like Trump, has reminded us of is that what now is considered brilliant intellectual conservatism used to be called common sense.

Milo’s lectures, mostly given on college campuses, touch on a number of topics. Among those have been race, abortion, and free speech.  If you have never watched a Milo presentation or read the transcripts from one, you really should (that is, if you can look past the jokes about gay relations and drug use).  In familiarizing yourself with his work you will get to hear him discuss both St. Thomas Aquinas and Al Bundy, praise the reasoning of the Roman Catholic Church, refer to Rachel Maddow as “that nice young man on the TV”,  and then totally dismantle the arguments of social justice warriors and nanny-state progressives.  He can be both homo-cliche and brilliant in the same sentence.  He truly has a mind and whit that few in conservative media can match.

Before ever watching any of Mr. Yiannopoulos’ campus talks I had read a few of his articles on Breitbart: not his speech transcripts, just his articles in the Tech section of the website.  So, I knew who he was.  As he grew in popularity and name recognition I picked up that he was gay and that he was building up his own sort of movement and fan base.  I suppose you could say I assumed the worst.  I figured the fact that he was a gay conservative was all he brought to the table, and that goofy millennials took to him because their parents didn’t.  Like with most up and coming sensations, I assumed he would be a passing celebrity fad that would lose luster as time went on.  To me he was the conservative political media’s version of a boy band.  He even looked the part.  Then we all saw the news reports of the riots at Cal-Berkeley.  At that point I decided that if I wanted to discuss the issue of free speech intelligently, I needed to know if free speech was all this Milo character was guilty of.

In learning more about Milo I did what every good free-thinking American with a college degree does to investigate and form a coherent opinion.  I looked him up on Youtube (sad, isn’t it?).  I initially found it uncomfortable to watch him speak due to his flamboyant and effeminate movements and gesturing.  This discomfort didn’t stem from homophobia or prejudice.  It was because the mannerisms and traits seemed fabricated or created.  His Liberace-like persona seemed made up to me.  However, I was never under the impression that the role he seemed to be playing was about theatrics or self-promotion.  To me, he appeared insecure in his own skin.  As talented and articulate as he sounded, he looked to me to be terrified.  His appearance left me unable to listen to his points.  Something definitely seemed out of place.  That was the point at which I referred to the written transcripts of his college campus lectures and I was blown away.  Seeing his words on paper truly displayed for me the great talent that so many had discovered before me.

With the comments Milo made in that controversial interview with Joe Rogan, great insight was gained into the mind of a child abuse victim, which Milo professes to be.  If other victims are out there that share those same views, they surely are smart enough to not share them out loud.  Few would imagine that these thoughts would be received well by the general public.  If you haven’t yet seen the videos of his comments to Joe Rogan, here are the few that stirred the most trouble:

“This arbitrary and oppressive idea of [age of] consent which totally destroys, you know the understanding of many of us have the complexities and subtleties and complicated nature of many relationships.
 
“You know people are messy and complex and actually, in the homosexual world particularly. Some of those relationships between younger boys and older men, that sort of coming of age relationships.
 
“The relationships with those with older men have helped those young boys discover who they are. And give them security and safety, provide them with love and reliable and sort of a rock. Where they can’t speak to their parents.”
“You’re misunderstanding what pedophilia means. Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13-years old who is sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty. Pedophilia is an attraction to people who don’t have functioning sex organs yet. Who have not gone through puberty. Who are too young to be able to understand. That is not what we are talking about.”
When asked to clarify his stance on “cross-generational” relationships –
“Yeah I don’t mind saying… I don’t mind admitting that. And I think particularly in the gay world and outside the Catholic Church if that is where some of you wanna go with this. I think in the gay World some of the most important enriching and incredibly the… mm … you know life affirming, important shaping relationships very often between younger boys and older men, they can be hugely positive experiences.”
As I read through these comments, and matched them up with my first impressions of watching Milo on video, a picture seemed to take shape of someone very damaged by the experiences of his youth.  Many victims of child sexual abuse feel a sense of responsibility for what happened to them, and this lifts the guilt away from the perpetrator and normalizes this awful sin in the mind of the victim.  However, the conscience doesn’t lie.  It is a gift to some and a curse to others, but the conscience is always there.  Where Milo absolves his abuser of all guilt, he heaps it on himself.

I am no psychologist, but i believe that the person we see in Milo’s campus talks is not the real Milo at all.  I believe the real Milo is closer to what we witnessed in his press conference when he resigned from his position at Breitbart News.  He was reserved, humbled, contrite, and sincere.  Milo said that was the first time he had ever apologized for anything.  That would be hard to believe, but his experience is definitely different from most.  Personally, my hope for Milo is that his learning to apologize will start a process of healing and self-discovery.  Remorse is the first step towards alleviating guilt.  As guilt is eased, so goes the shame that comes with it.  I hope that Milo can endure this process so that we all might see what he’s really capable of becoming.

If I could talk to Mr. Yiannopoulos today I would tell him that what he said in that interview was wrong.  I would explain to him that the man that abused him during his teenage years was undoubtedly ill and probably a monster.  I would encourage him to get help, both psychological and spiritual, and I would praise him as being one of the most talented conservative orators I’ve heard since Buckley himself.  I have read that Milo has plans to create a website focusing on celebrity and entertainment and I desperately hope for all our sakes that this is not true.  As a pro-life, pro-free-speech, limited government millennial he can change American culture for decades.  He has the intellectual potential to affect a great many people with his ideas on politics and society, and I hope he does not let that go to waste.  Finally, I would remind him that the person he becomes on the other side of this painful period will serve as inspiration to other victims of child sexual abuse.  By triumphing over his circumstances to reach his fullest and most honorable potential he just might change the world for other young victims.  I pray for him and his journey going forward.  I also pray that my fellow conservatives embrace Milo through this period, while denouncing his vile comments,  and show all those watching that we are a compassionate lot that looks out for our fellow man.   Good luck, Milo.

This post was submitted by:  Daniel D. Ellis

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