CPAC is this week. It’s that annual gathering of activists, members of the Young Republicans, Ron Paul fans, bloggers, schmoozers, boozers, glad-handers, pundits, donors, politicians and even the odd conservative, from time to time. That’s not a criticism, really, it’s simply a reality. It’s not just a conservative conference.
CPAC has a bit of history throwing up some crazy speaking announcement and trying to set the world on fire in the last week or two before the event. This year, the honor of “click bait” goes to the king of the genre, Milo Yiannopoulos.
The controversy has rightly erupted on the right, because Milo is what the old folks like to call “objectionable.” There are other words that fit him: inappropriate, loud, controversial, outrageous, ludicrous, vile, inexplicable, or ****.
Milo is a senior editor at Breitbart.com (of course) and pretends to be part of the conservative movement. He tries to speak at various colleges and universities, causing frequent protests and disruptions from students and liberal activist groups trying to prevent it. He was also permanently banned from Twitter. On that thin basis, he is often defended and embraced by the right as a victim of the “snowflake” left refusing to be tolerant of other points of view.
It is an ill-advised embrace. Mere objection to the left, or to the silencing of speech on campus is not evidence of being allied.
For example, here’s a lovely story recalled by NRO’s Jay Nordlinger:
Last year, the conservative journalist Ben Shapiro and his wife had a child. Ben sent out a tweet that said, “With infinite gratitude to God, we’re overjoyed to welcome to the world our new baby boy, who arrived at 10:30 this morning.” Ben got the usual torrent of Nazi tweets, wishing his new baby and the rest of the family to the gas chambers. There were tweets showing the Shapiro family as lampshades. And so on.
Yiannopoulos wrote a tweet of his own. It said, “Prayers to Ben who had to see his kid come out half-black. And already taller than he is!” Accompanying this tweet was a comical picture of a black baby.
Mickey White noted yesterday the “clickbait” effect, how Milo makes money off of his wild schemes and bizarre behavior.
Patterico this morning has posted what is probably the worst of the Milo deluge of awful, his defense of sexual relationships between adults and children. Yes, really. On video.
As for what he actually says at these vaunted college campus free speech events, this example:
Yiannopoulos told fans at Minnesota State University that Joe Bernstein, a media writer at BuzzFeed News, represents “a typical example of a sort of thick-as-pig shit media Jew, who has all these sort of right, P.C. politics.”
Milo was an instigator and figurehead for that mess of political and apolitical ideas that made up the earliest supporters of Donald Trump for President. The ones who (we seem to forget) openly bragged about their intent to destroy the Republican party utterly and permanently, who called actual conservatives “cuckservatives”. And yes, it was aimed at real conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh. They only adopted Rush and other conservatives later after an adequate amount sucking up to Trump. (And Rush did plenty of sucking last year.) Milo was a champion of the word, writing an essay that swept the alt-right off their feet.
Milo is a hero to this brand of pseudo right winger. These are the real nasty ones, the holocaust joke ones, who spent big chunk of their time online calling themselves the Trump “army” and swarming on anyone on social media from the right who didn’t embrace their hero. Is that what CPAC is about this year?
Being shouted down by the left doesn’t make you a conservative any more than writing for Breitbart does. Even if you choose to embrace the chaotic notion that the enemy of your enemy is your friend, it doesn’t make that friend a conservative.
So what does the C in CPAC stand for, now? Controversy? It may say “conservative” on paper, but what does that word even mean anymore? Does anyone know?
I know that if Milo is conservative then I’m not. Breitbart.com is populist and nationalist, but it’s not conservative either. And the Trump administration may have made some conservative moves or appointments, but that doesn’t make him one either. And while expecting some sameness and agreement on a campus may run counter to the spirit of a university, it is decidedly not against the purpose of a specialized political conference aimed at a particular group of people.
Which raises the question: who is this conference for? What does it stand for?
I guess the easy literary out would be to say it stands for “confusion”, but that’s a bit trite. You could say it stands for “conundrum”, but that would be ridiculous and we’d have to hate you.
Better, perhaps to say that we don’t know anymore. We don’t know what the C stands for. We don’t know what “conservative” stands for. Not in 2017. Not post-Trump’s election. We don’t know what the right is, really.
Most of us are still going to be there this week. People will still be networking. Business as usual will go on. And for part of the conference, ephebophilia fan, alt-right hero, hater of social conservative values, and friend of neo-Nazis and racists Milo will get a prime spot. It’s despicable. It’s shameful. It frustrates and angers me. It will get a lot of attention. It will be on all the news channels.
Maybe that’s what the C stands for. Cameras.
You’ll see our cameras there. RedState parent company Townhall is a major sponsor of the event. And lest you think it strange that I disagree with this terrible decision as an employee of a sponsor, please note that their own board members aren’t exactly thrilled, either.