Milo tour bus
Graffiti on Milo Yiannopolous’ tour bus | facebook.com/myiannopoulos

The campus of the University of California, Berkeley was thrown into chaos on Wednesday evening, when Milo Yiannopoulos was due to give a talk on ‘cultural appropriation’.

Most of the protesters’ rioters’ behaviour is completely familiar: smashing windows, pelting police with rocks, shooting fireworks at buildings and other people, and violently beating bystanders. In one instance, a rioter sprayed pepper spray in a woman’s face – the apparent cause thereof was her donning a red cap that read “Make Bitcoin Great Again”.

The cause of this outrage was, in fact, Milo’s presence on the Berkeley campus.

Milo is the Technology Editor for Breitbart. He is currently on his Dangerous Faggot tour, as part of which he speaks at various American universities about many of the issues in contemporary politics and student political activism. The name of his tour refers to the fact that he, as a gay man, represents a massive divergence from the politically-correct culture of the Left.

Fascism and the current year

One of the favourite rhetorical devices of the Left is to point out what year it is. They do this not merely for the sake of stating the obvious, but to signal that we are on our way to their utopian fantasy; it’s a signal that points to their ‘progressive’ and ‘superior’ view of the world.

Yet nothing is more regressive and primal than the way in which the campus Left responds to those with opposing views. What’s even more remarkable is the fact that the same people who roam the streets with their faces completely masked, beat up their political opponents and total strangers, torch vehicles, and smash doors and windows, refer to their ‘enemies’ – who do not engage in the same behaviour – as ‘fascists’.

As Milo rightly pointed out in an interview with Tucker Carlson, the Left’s name-calling (‘fascist’, ‘racist’, ‘homophobe’, ‘white supremacist’, etc.) is used to legitimize violence against those they disagree with.

Milo CNN tweet
CNN’s tweet about Milo | facebook.com/myiannopoulos

The intellectuals in society have no small part to play in this. Academics at universities have cultivated the current safe space, trigger warning, anti-micro-aggression atmosphere. Journalists are just as guilty, if not more so: shortly after the riots began, a tweet by CNN claimed that “extremist Milo Yiannopoulos” was responsible for starting the riots, and that he was “[rallying] white supremacists”. Once again, the gatekeepers of ‘truth’ are the primary manufacturers of fake news.

Irony and cognitive dissonance

UC Berkeley riots LGBT
UC Berkeley riot (aerial view) | Fox News

No image from the Berkeley riots was more jarring than that of the rioters in front of a building featuring an LGBT-flag light display.

And this is where we get to the crux of the problem: the social justice Left has woven a truly remarkable narrative, according to which it is the guardian of ‘oppressed minorities’ – amongst which, Milo, as a gay man, should be included.

But if you contrast this with the vitriol and violence we have come to expect, it becomes clear that the social justice Left has to deal with some major cognitive dissonance.

They support free speech and ‘openness’, but as one UC Berkeley student said:

“The whole reason we’re here is for free speech … Milo’s hate speech is not allowed here. When it’s hate speech, our free speech is to shut him down.”

They ‘protest peacefully’ – as people flee their ‘protests’ with their faces covered in blood. Their assaults and destruction of property apparently do not constitute violence, but ‘micro-aggressions’ do. They are ‘tolerant’ of others, but take to the streets and riot when someone they disagree with appears on campus.

Nobody complained about ‘misogyny’ when a woman had pepper spray sprayed in her face, simply for trying to attend Milo’s event. There were no cries of ‘homophobia’ when a gay conservative was forced off campus by a violent mob.

But, as Milo has rightly pointed out, he’s not on the Left’s ideological reservation.

In her famous novel, Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand depicts a society that ultimately collapses under the weight of its own dishonesty and cognitive dissonance. In light of the above, it is perhaps fitting to end with the words of one of the main characters:

“Are you seeking to know what is wrong with the world? All the disasters that have wrecked your world, came from your leaders’ attempt to evade the fact that A is A.”

Nicolai is a Copy Editor and Senior Staff Writer at the Rational Standard. He is a fourth-year actuarial science student at the University of Cape Town. He enjoys thinking and writing about economics, Critical Theory, culture, and current affairs.