I was in Berkeley, CA Wednesday night, going about my business, when I heard speech through loudspeakers. I couldn’t make out the words, since I was several blocks away, but the tone and manner of their delivery (and today’s political climate) made it clear that it was the police breaking up a protest. Someone later told me that there was, indeed, a protest on the UC Berkeley campus. Apparently a protest against Milo Yiannopoulos’ “Dangerous Faggot Tour” (no, seriously, that’s what he calls it) speech became violent, resulting in property damage, etc. Of course, Milo’s speech was canceled, since the police could not guarantee his safety, or the safety of those attending the speech or the protest. This led to President Trump threatening to revoke UC Berkeley’s federal funding via Twitter. From the statements by UC officials, and the video I saw on the news, it looks like masked anarchists dressed in black caused most, if not all, of the actual violence and property damage, but it didn’t help that the protests created a perfect environment for violence to break out.
I’ve listened to Milo Yiannopoulos on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast (to Joe’s credit, he wasn’t buying most of what Milo had to say), and in various YouTube videos. Notice that I’m NOT saying “I listened to Milo so you don’t have to,” because I WANT you to listen to him. The way you win against agitators/real-life trolls like him is to BEAT HIM AT HIS OWN GAME. See, if you let him provoke you into violence, he gets to argue “See? These so-called ‘liberals’ get pretty darned intolerant when someone doesn’t agree with them. I guess they’re left-wing in the same way Stalin was…” To put it another way, Milo’s game is like that of a little kid hitting his brother while riding in the back of the car, then yelling “MOM! BILLY HIT ME!” when his brother hits him back.
So how do you win? It’s simple. Protest peacefully outside his speech sites. DO NOT YELL. DO NOT USE VIOLENCE, except in actual physical self-defense. Send people in to the speech who (1) do not interrupt the speech in any way, and (2) wait until the question and answer session after the speech to ask Milo uncomfortable questions he can’t answer without looking bad or lying, then call him on his answers if they’re dishonest or evasive. It’s not easy – he’s a professional journalist with a lot of speech and debate experience, but certainly a decent student debater who’s well-prepared can do the job. Just watch his YouTube videos- there are many. If no one acts like an idiot, and Milo isn’t able to “own” (or “pwn” in Internet “l33t hax0r” lingo), there’s not much material for future “pwnage” (“ownage,” meaning one person completely dominated the argument, for those of you who wisely don’t spend much time on YouTube) or “rekt” (wrecked) videos. (I know, many of those videos are misleadingly titled, anyway – a spirited debate where both sides made good points and no one was the clear winner is often labeled ‘[Person the video poster likes] DESTROYS [the person the poster doesn’t like] in debate!” But I digress.)
Another, perhaps easier, method is JUST DON’T GO to speeches by Milo or anyone you find socially destructive, counterproductive, or just stupid and annoying. You see, even though Milo has bragged that he COULD afford to speak on campuses for free if student organizations wouldn’t pay for him to appear, he won’t. I have no idea if he really can afford to spend his time making free speeches in support of free speech, but I don’t blame him for refusing to work for free. Most people won’t. And that’s how you win against such people. If practically no one shows up to hear a speaker, colleges will stop booking that speaker. No one wants to waste money. There’s no violence or crazy threats to defund a university for things it can’t control; everyone just goes about his or her business. Everyone wins but the trolls!
Feel free to let me know what you think by commenting on this blog post or emailing me.
Author: John Linneball Who did you think? ;-)
I'm the proprietor and only tutor for this business; that's why I named it after me.