Conservatism, properly understood, is an ideology with a positive agenda. As conservatives, we are for a set of principles that lead us to value individual rights and responsibilities, humility in our government, and respect for our history and culture. But too many people define conservatives as whoever is against liberals. This is wrong.
The current talk of the town is Milo Yiannopoulos. Milo’s sole “conservative” credential is that he is un-PC. There are very good conservative arguments to make against political correctness. Under the guise of not being offensive, political correctness is often used as a means to stifle free speech. It gives rise to an authoritarian impulse to control thoughts by controlling what people can say and hear.
But Milo does not make those arguments. Instead he just insults. He is a shock-jock who chose to operate in a political medium. He is an internet troll in human flesh. His goal is not to advance a conservative agenda, but to gain notoriety for himself. Being un-PC does not make someone a conservative; sometimes it just makes them an ass.
Milo fits squarely into the latter category. He has willingly associated himself with the alt-right – a racist, authoritarian movement that by its own admission is not conservative and seeks to replace conservatism as the dominate political philosophy for Republicans.
And yet, because his entire shtick is about insulting liberals, some people call him conservative. No. Conservatives, real conservatives, must stand strong against this. We must take care not to associate ourselves with avowed racists, or dilute our liberty agenda with the authoritarianism of the alt-right.
Which is why it was incredibly distressing to hear that Milo was invited to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference later this week. Thankfully, CPAC quickly rescinded their invitation. We should of course defend Milo’s right to free speech, but conservatives should not be promoting him. He is not one of us.