I'm a huge Jonah Goldberg fan. I read all of his books and almost all of his columns. I usually listen to whatever podcasts he's on. I find him informed, witty, well-considered as well as consistent, both intellectually and morally. He didn't support Trump, pointing out his many flaws and currently points out the inconsistencies and hypocrisies of Trump supporters. If lying was bad for Hillary, then it's bad for Trump. If executive power grabs were wrong for Obama, they're wrong for Trump. And so on.
Having said that, I differ with him about the value of the pugnacious-cons like Milo, Steve Bannon and others. Like a promising football team that has slow wide receivers, there's only so far you can go without adding talent at those positions. Fans get tired of watching the team lose because they lack deep threats.
I'm an even bigger Andrew Klavan fan. His podcast is the only one I don't miss and his Klavan on the Culture videos are still treats to me, no matter how many times I watch them. He frequently talks about how conservatives need to get involved in the culture wars beyond simply tut-tutting about political speeches at the Oscars, degenerate lyrics in music and lockstep groupthink in the universities. I differ with him as well about the importance of Milo and other outrageous performers.
Here's what they're both missing. I'm tired of sitting quietly while progressive institutions like the press, academia and the entertainment industry label me. I'm tired of the racism, sexism, homophobia and islamophobia accusations. I'm absolutely over the goon tactics, the thuggery, the sneering and the moral posing on the left. It's all well and good to write essays proving the accusations are scurrilous, but sometimes you need to, as Obama said, punch back twice as hard. Like a football team that's down by 17, you've got to have those deep threats who can take post patterns to the house. I want someone who's going to flip them the bird, loudly and in public. I want a George Carlin or a Lenny Bruce.
Milo has been unique in this. On the left, there's Colbert, Stewart, the View and on and on. Vapid, ignorant, one-sided bigots, all of them. Until Breitbart and then Milo, we had nothing. Sure, we've got Ben Shapiro who is a once-in-a-generation talent at shredding people in debates with cold, cruel logic, but he's not charming. Andrew and Jonah are funny, but they're not brutal, they're not going to make you pump your fist. Milo is that missing piece.
People make purchasing decisions based on emotions, not logic. If you can't engage their hearts, you're not going to be a good salesman. Yes, you have to have a good product with clear benefits, but if that's all you've got, your sales will remain modest. Combine a great product with an engaging sales campaign and you're in business. Brilliant essays in the National Review are great product, but they don't capture the heart.
Andrew is right, you've got to engage in the culture war. National Review and Ben Shapiro in debates aren't part of the culture the way Jon Stewart was. Milo took that spot. Yes, he's a provocateur and a nut, yes he's damaged goods and has serious issues, yes to all of that and more. So what? He finally punched back in a way that made you laugh. He was absolutely brutal on stage in a way that was flamboyant, stylish and crazy. He was entertaining. You wanted to see more. You dialed in to his YouTube videos because you wanted to see what nutty things he was going to say today.
Now that Milo's on the injured reserve, so to speak, who's going to play that role?
Milo, taking it to the house.