The recent events with the American Conservative Union revoking their invite Milo Yiannopoulos from the annual Conservative Political Action Conference has left conservatives and libertarians with a wide range of reactions.
As conservatives, we have, in the past, supported policies and principles over personalities. Over the past year or so, we’ve lost our way. With the emergence of speakers and pundits like Milo and Tomi Lahren Facebook shares and likes have been clicked in droves.
When we go about supporting clickbait conservative figures for the sake of pissing off liberals and being edgy, we lose credibility. In this case, the ACU find themselves putting out the fire that was Milo supporting and defending pedophilia.
Here’s our chronic problem. As conservatives, we agree on economic policy most of the time. We may differ on social policies, which is absolutely fine. Debate encourages research and being informed on our stances. Our problem is that we often confuse supporting conservative policies as being anti-liberal. The two are not the same. Milo and Tomi are very clearly anti-liberal. With each video and public appearance, they make it clear who they’re opposing. However, they rarely make the case for conservative policies, and when they do, they are absolutely poor messengers of our beliefs.
They’re anti-liberals whose main function is to infuriate left-leaning individuals in the angriest, outrageous ways to turn social media responses. When liberals and independents see this, not only are they put off, they think of us as made up of only angry whites who have no empathy. This isn’t true and makes it hell for people like College Republicans, Students for Life, Young Americans for Liberty, and others to sway the minds of campus independents and liberals.
There is infighting that happens between conservative student groups, yes, but our mission is erased when we don’t even have an audience. When Milo gives a free pass to pedophiles, it shreds credibility and frames an argument against us. When Tomi calls Black Lives Matter a hate group, it completely misses the point the non-violent protesters are trying to make and it burns a bridge conservatives didn’t have the time to realize we had.
It’s time we go back to fighting for our principals and policies. It’s time we stick with morals and not let them blow in the wind of populism. It’s time we bring academic freedom fighting and support for the first amendment back to conservative college students rather than bussing in controversial speakers to make a headline. It’s time we bring information to the discussion rather than insults. It’s time we show our policies work to those who doubt us.
If the American Conservative Union wanted a speaker to highlight free speech and the struggles conservative college students have, there’s a long list of people who actually deal with it. Alex Smith, David Giffin, and Julia Porterfield are three examples with more credibility than Milo.
Being anti-liberal doesn’t accomplish much, but being a true conservative and supporting our beliefs does. If we want a change, run for your Student Government. Join a conservative student organization. Meet elected officials and campus administrators. Go knock doors. Attend meetings.
Work hard and you may find yourself winning. Believe me, you won’t get tired of it.