Gottfried Slams Milo: "The Right’s Version of Kim Kardashian"
Paul Gottfried writes in The American Conservative:
A few days ago I brought home from our local library, nestled in Pennsylvania Dutch country, Milo Yiannopoulos’s self-published livre de scandale.
Dangerous is supposedly dynamite, because even Milo’s putative adversary Bill Maher praises the author as “a young, gay alive Christopher Hitchens.” Milo promises that anyone who makes it through his book can learn how “to fight back against campus commies, their enabling professors, the mainstream media, and establishment Republican bores.” All one needs to acquire this ability is Milo’s text, providing the reader can get though his frenetic prose centered on his activities as a self-promoting gadfly.
I’ll concede two things to Milo. One, unlike his erstwhile patron, the sulky Steve Bannon, he can turn a phrase; and although much of what he writes is vacuous, he says what he sets out to say with wit and verve. Two, he has spent much of his young, tumultuous life courting friends who could advance his career as some kind of conservative celebrity, from Bannon and the staff at Breitbart to David Horowitz and more recently, Tucker Carlson. I’m less impressed by the fact that Milo’s dashed around on campuses, challenging academic political correctness in the name of his notion of self-liberation. His adventures have not exactly been life-imperiling. So-called conservative speakers are invited to what are called institutions of higher learning by local Republican organizations, and these organizations, together with Washington-based groups, help pay for their trip and expenses. Since these appearances are likely to create a ruckus and cause demonstrations, provisions are made to protect the speakers. But if the situation looks really threatening, then the presentation is cancelled, and the snubbed “conservative” (as a lavish consolation prize) is invited on to Fox News to tell his story. As someone who spent more than 40 years battling the PC and other intolerant Lefts on American campuses, without the slightest assistance from Republicans or the conservative media, I am hardly bedazzled by Milo’s daring or showmanship...
The only reference to a serious political thinker that I can locate in Milo’s book is to Leo Strauss on page 42, and even that reference is so fuzzy (It seems that Strauss told us that “scholars should seek to understand the author as he understood himself.”) that it’s hard to understand why the quotation is there. Yes I know that I’ve made fun of “cultural conservatives” who make wooly philosophical arguments while trying to stay clear of delicate policy questions. But plowing through hundreds of pages dashed off by the Right’s version of Kim Kardashian in what is an intellectual wasteland, may be worse than ivory-tower conservatism.
Allow me to point out that Milo and other past and present claimants to the Alt-Right label have one thing in common, a passion for raising havoc while leaving theoretical agonies and the deep learning to others...
As a public figure he is mostly about whirling energy tied to an unconventional lifestyle that fits into the socially leftist but also libertarian factions of the current youth culture. Milo is good at mocking but it’s hard to see what in Western civilization he is specifically trying to save, other than his right to sound off.