More Milton Friedman, Less Milo Yiannopoulos: a Call for Real Liberty

If you are connected with libertarian or conservative circles on social media, chances are you have seen a lot of posts on the controversial alt-right leader, Milo Yiannopoulos. While Milo has frequently been entering the news cycle for some time with off-the-cuff or insulting comments like women being unable to handle math or science education or careers or transsexual individuals being predisposed to sexual violence, the recent revelations really blew a lid with a lot of conservatives. While misogyny and transphobia, for many conservatives, are ideal ways to advocate for the advancement of free speech, apparently romanticizing pedophilic relationships is not.

For many student libertarians, though, these comments didn’t do much to turn our favor against Milo because there was never much favor there to begin with.  Milo has never been on the side of libertarians even if Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, tried to pass him off to us to deflect blame of inviting a pedophilic apologist. Milo, himself, will tell you how much of a libertarian he isn’t. Here is one of his most revealing comments:

“Libertarians are children. Libertarians are people who have given up looking for an answer. This whole ‘everybody do what they want’ is code for ‘leave me to do what I want.’ It’s selfish and childish. It’s an admission that you have given up trying to work out what a good society would look like, how the world should be ordered and instead just retreated back into selfishness. That’s why they’re so obsessed with weed, Bitcoin, and hacking.”

Perhaps now that Milo has lost his book deal, been disinvited by CPAC, and resigned from Breitbart, young conservatives and libertarians can take a step back and see what is really needed to promote American liberty and free markets. At the International Students For Liberty Conference last weekend, Wolf von Laer, the CEO of SFL, started the conference with the phrase “we need more Milton Friedman, and less Milo Yiannopoulus”.

It doesn’t even need to be Milton Friedman! It could be Ludwig von Mises or Freidrich Hayek for all it matters. However, what does matter is that libertarians and conservatives remember how central the free market is to preserving American liberty, and not the hate that Milo Yiannopoulus spews.

I don’t want to give the impression that free speech isn’t also central for our country’s liberty. It is, but Milo’s tactics are hardly a good defense of free speech, especially when there are so many better examples to point to. As Milo runs across the country offending college students, Greg Lukianoff and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education are actually protecting students from free speech violations on campus. While Milo posts whiny Facebook rants and videos, Cliff Maloney Jr. and Young Americans for Liberty are launching a national free speech campaign. While Milo aims to spread his brand of alt-right politics, over 900 Young American for Liberty chapters, over 120 SFL Campus Coordinators, and a significant number of liberty-oriented organizations are actually fighting for liberty and free speech on the ground in our nation’s universities.

More Milton, less Milo.


This piece solely expresses the opinion of the author and not necessarily the organization as a whole. Students For Liberty is committed to facilitating a broad dialogue for liberty, representing a variety of opinions. If you’re a student interested in presenting your perspective on this blog, visit our guest submissions page.

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