I promised myself that I’d spend less of 2017 dissecting the provocations of assorted jerks and frauds. I held out for a while. But as Milo Yiannopoulos’s reign as the latest conservative enfant terrible crumbled this weekend over video of him suggesting that very young teenagers can consent to sex with adults, with organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference rescinding a speaking invitation that they had extended to him and a conservative imprint of Simon & Schuster canceling his $250,000 book contract, it seemed worthwhile to note one particular element of his confidence game.
Yiannopoulos’s rise coincided with a new wave of protest on college campuses and was directly facilitated by conservative college students who booked him in an attempt to raise even more ire from their liberal peers. At the same time that conservatives were criticizing liberal college students as vulnerable snowflakes making unreasonable requests of their administrations, conservative college students and groups were enabling the rise of an intellectual fraud at the cost of their own funds and credibility.
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