Why Milo is wrong about Brexit.
Milo Yiannapoulos has been a big deal, of late. He is infamous among the polite circles for his provocative positions while simultaneously being adored by hundreds of thousands of his fans for exactly the same thing. He is uncompromising, minces no words, is often hilarious and has fabulous hair. All of which for, I love him.
However, of late, I’ve been witness to him being hopelessly out of depth on issues. He has moved beyond his critiques on feminism and his incisive commentary on internet culture, and into waters much more layered than a purple haired feminist spewing platitudes. The best example of this will be his recent comments on Brexit. He uploaded a video before the vote, and co-wrote an article after the Leave Side won. Both of them show how unaware he is of the very fundamentals of the issue. It’s sad to have one’s intellectual hero disregard detail, fact and nuance, and posture/bend over backwards/perform ridiculous mental acrobatics to spook life into his tall, flimsy, and ultimately hollow claims. But that’s what happened.
His low-energy video and crooked article fit more appropriately under loony propaganda than informed insight.
Below, I write about the three things Milo is most wrong on. Like — fabulously wrong. Other than these, he engages in conspiracy talk, fear mongers and uses a host of logical fallacies. I’m not addressing any of those. Just the places where he departs from fact, and the places where he maims reality to suit his narrative.
- Immigration - Milo’s pre-referendum video was entirely about immigration. Hordes of muslim immigrants are coming in, he said, and most of them hold beliefs that are contrary in obvious and important ways to the principles of western civilization. (Paraphrasing.) He’s right about that. I’m no left-winger - there isn’t a sign of Open Borders For All in my backyard. Uncontrolled immigration can be a problem, and Germany is a clear example of how soon it can become one. However, just because it’s a German problem doesn’t mean it’s a British problem, too. Great Britain is not in the Schengen Passport Free Zone, and hence is largely outside the refugee mess. Milo fails to recognize this important distinction. Milo also mentions the problem of integrating Muslims into western societies, and singles out the Pakistani community in Britain as an example. But what part of that problem will be resolved by leaving EU? None. He conflates two issues, makes an unsuccessful dash at connecting the dots, and presents a premise faulty at best and willfully misleading at worst.
- Economics. Milo says in the article, “ To argue that Britain needs to tether itself to the likes of Greece and Spain to remain economically competitive is ludicrous. It’s like arguing that Israel needs to join an economic union with Palestine and Syria.” Firstly, bad metaphor. Secondly, Britain wasn’t tethered to Greece and Spain. British taxpayer didn’t have to pump-out any money for a bailout, as was secured in the renegotiation by David Cameron. Finally, Britain wasn’t in the Eurozone, and the aforementioned renegotiation also achieved a formal agreement on the permanent status of the separate British currency as well as a legal promise of non-discrimination from the EU. Milo mentions none of that, and claims, rather fallaciously, that Britain economy was held back by being a member of EU(The opposite is true.)
- Of those who voted. The people who voted for leave were, according to the article, “increasingly angry” and “freshly politically motivated.” But statistics sing a different tale. Between 18 to 24, 75% of people were for staying in EU. Above 65 years of age, 61% people were for leaving. Are these oldies, who’ve perhaps seen up to ten election cycles, the freshly politically motivated Milo is referring to?
There’s a lot more in the article that is fodder for scrutiny and exposé. (For example: “everyone in Britain wants the housing market to crash.”)
Milo is, without a fleeting doubt, a brilliant provocateur and has done more for the ideals of free speech and western democracy than most of us could hope to in a lifetime. However, that doesn’t excuse any of the wrong-doing and intellectual shallowness. And hence I, still a proud fan, would like him to continue speaking on important issues with his characteristic wit and style, but with more substance, greater honesty and a commitment to facts that outweighs his commitment to whatever tribe he is hopping through.
Make Milo Great Again!