Friday, September 22, 2017

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.
Read the full review here.
 RW note: I'll have my own review of the book up in a few days.


  1. Great stuff. Milo is a minstrel.

  2. I'll give Milo this: he's willing to take fire from the far-Left like few others. Sure, he's got people/organizations watching his back a bit, but that's still worth something--the willingness to constantly deal with logical fallacies and ad hominem attacks being lobbed at one all day long.
    But Gottfried makes some valid points of differentiation here too and touches on some concerns I had lurking in the back of my mind re Milo but on which I couldn't quite place my finger. So I appreciate his review. I think I'll stick with texts being promoted out of places like for now.

  3. According to Vox Day, this is an excerpt from Milo’s book “Dangerous”:

    Leftists have always been well practiced at turning social classes against one another. But the working classes can prove frustrating to socialists intent on class warfare. Marxists were particularly perturbed when, during World War I, the European working class (with the exception of Russia) chose to fight for King and Country instead of rise up against their masters. This is understandable to a certain extent, socialist leaders like Marx had never done a day of work in their life.

    In the 1920s, the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci had an idea for a new form of revolution—one based on culture, not class. According to Gramsci, the reason the proletariat failed to rise up was because old, conservative ideas like loyalty to one’s country, family values, and religion, held too much sway in working-class communities.

    If that sounds redolent of Obama’s comment about guns and religion, it should. His line of thinking is directly descended from the ideological tradition of Gramsci.

    Gramsci argued that as a precursor to revolution, the old traditions of the West—or “cultural hegemony,” as he called it—would have to be systematically broken down. To do so, Gramsci argued that “proletarian” intellectuals should seek to challenge the dominance of traditionalism in education and the media, and create a new revolutionary culture. If you’ve ever wondered why you’re forced to take diversity or gender studies courses at university, or why your professors all seem to hate western civilization, blame Gramsci.

    In the 1950s and 60s, a group of European expatriate academics known as the Frankfurt School married Gramsci’s idea of cultural revolution to the idea of a new revolutionary vanguard: one made up of students, feminists, and minorities, many of whom felt excluded from mainstream western culture and sought to change it. Their ideas would provide much of the intellectual ballast for the cultural upheavals of the 1960s, and the subsequent transformation of the Left.

    If a very gay man can trigger the Democrats to show their true colors of Khmer Rouge, I think that’s probably a good thing.