Once in a very long while, Bill Maher actually says something that’s reasonable and makes a LOT of sense. And when he does, I like to make it a point to praise him for it. This is one of those times.
Some background: Some leftist blowhard freaked out when he found out that he would be a guest on Bill Maher’s talk show in the same episode as Milo Yiannopoulos. I guess he thought he’d get Milo’s gay-conservative-pro-Trump germs on him or something? So, the guy wrapped himself in sackcloth and ashes on Twitter and proclaimed he would NOT appear on Bill Maher’s show, because TRIGGERED! –
Jeremy Scahill, a freelance journalist, claimed that inviting Yiannopoulos on air was “many bridges too far” for HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher – and end in somebody dying.
In a long message on Twitter, Scahill, who helped found news site The Intercept, laid out his reasons for refusing to go on the show.
Scahill, who has appeared on the show before, posted a long message on his Facebook page attempting to justify his decision.
The crucial part (emphasis ours) said:
…Milo Yiannopoulos is many bridges too far. He has ample venues to spew his hateful diatribes. There is no value in “debating” him. Appearing on Real Time will provide Yiannopoulos with a large, important platform to openly advocate his racist, anti-immigrant campaign. It will be exploited by Yiannopoulos in an attempt to legitimize his hateful agenda…
…Yiannopoulos has shown he will use his appearances to publicly attack and shame specific ordinary people by name, a practice which could lead to violence or even death. Real Time, of course, has the right to book whomever it wants on its show, including Yiannopoulos. But I cannot participate in an event that will give a platform to such a person.
Sounds like someone willing to have a rational conversation about the issues, lemme tell ya.
According to this, Bill Maher – to his credit – responded to this leftist temper tantrum thusly –
In a statement, Maher said that “liberals will continue to lose elections as long as they follow the example of people like Mr. Scahill whose views veer into fantasy and away from bedrock liberal principles like equality of women, respect for minorities, separation of religion and state, and free speech.”
“If Mr. Yiannopoulos is indeed the monster Scahill claims — and he might be — nothing could serve the liberal cause better than having him exposed on Friday night,” he continued.
While I’m certain some conservatives would feel squicky about admitting it, I have no problem in saying this – Bill Maher is exactly right! This is what so many of us have been trying to tell the left for YEARS (and it’s totally Milo’s schtick) – If you want your views to be seen as credible, you need to confront the other side. The right does this CONSTANTLY (mostly because we have no other choice). We confront. We debate. We study the opposition. We craft our arguments based on the facts. We don’t run away from legitimate fights over the issues (granted, we have no time for idiots who parrot debunked talking points and are just there to name-call and be annoying). We want our opponents to speak up – because then we can point out their stupidity and give correct information.
But running away from and shutting down your opponents is not the way to go. If anything, it makes your opponents more interesting to people who haven’t decided what they think. For all the talk that Milo is this SUPER-SCARY monster who doesn’t deserve a platform to voice his opinions, lots of people are certainly interested in buying his book or attending his speaking events. Whether they agree with him or not (or even if they haven’t made up their minds).
I contend that this push to silence the right is why we won in 2016. Regular Americans don’t hold with attempts to censor others. If anything, it makes them more interested in what is being censored – whether or not they actually agree with it in the end (I’ve read so many “banned books” that were just crappy novels that had a few objectionable things in them, but were hardly worth my time in the long run. I actually felt dumber for having read them). For all the left’s insistence that their ideology is the one that champions free speech, reality has repeatedly shown that the opposite is true.
So, keep protesting right-wingers’ speech, guys. Since that’s worked out for you SO WELL thus far.