Conservative journalist Milo Yiannopoulos and former co-worker Ben Shapiro have been sparring on the national stage for months. Yiannopoulos, a homosexual college dropout and darling of the alt-right has warred with Shapiro, a Jewish conservative and graduate of Harvard Law School, who’s attitude is summed up by his popular phrase:
Facts don’t care about your feelings.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 5, 2016
The two seldom discuss economics, but rather choose to focus on social issues, where both Shapiro and Yiannopoulos have gained popularity by stirring up controversy on college campuses. Shapiro was protested at Cal State, which provoked a national tour, while Yiannopoulos decided to troll the LGBT community by calling his speaking series “The Dangerous Faggot Tour.”
Yiannopoulos believes that his movement is “happening on campuses because finally the Left has pushed it too far.” To the point where “people have realized their nice ordinary lives are being threatened by crazy politics with no basis in facts.” Yiannopoulos depicted his ‘cultural libertarianism’ as a reaction to the ‘cultural Marxism’ now prevalent in all aspects of life.
Yiannopouos explained that progressives don’t like him because of his ability to “beat liberals in arguments, unlike the last 30 years of conservatism.” He went on to say, “they don’t like me because they can’t write me off as a bigot, as a homophobe, as a misogynist, as a racist because I’m a sassy, gay Brit,” which has disarmed the cultural Marxists of their usually tactics.
“For the [past] 30 years, the Left has just said ‘oh if there’s an argument we don’t like, they’re a hateful bigot so don’t listen to anything they have to say. They seek to delegitimize the speaker instead of actually presenting an argument while I force them to bring their A-game. They just realized they don’t have one.”
Yiannopoulos has been a veracious voice in support of the Republican frontrunner, while Shapiro has been an unwavering voice in the #NeverTrump movement. Both journalists have a large conservative base, but are currently engaged in a civil strife for the conservative discourse and narrative.
The ongoing rivalry between Shapiro and Yiannopoulos most accurately depicts the fraction occurring within the anti-establishment right, particularly among Trump and Cruz supporters.
Trump and Cruz indeed do have substantive differences, however, the stylistic differences are more drastic than the substantive ones. This also holds true for Shapiro and Yiannopoulos, who both espouse similar views, but have vastly different stylistic approaches.
While both journalists enjoy getting a rise out of progressives, Yiannopoulos seems to have a unique ability to troll feminists and social justice warriors. Recently, Yiannopoulos stirred up controversy by announcing that he would wear a Native American costume during his speaking tour at Yale.
The stylistic differences explain the difference in their demographics of support: Yiannopoulos support skews young, and Shapiro’s old. Shapiro, while still controversial, tends to be more polished, while Yiannopoulos style is more provocative.
“Trump and I represent something that scares the Left — the utter, wholesale rejection of political correctness. Total defiance. The idea you don’t back down, you double down. When somebody comes to my event and says they’re offended by a joke, I rack my brain for a more offensive one… Trump does the same thing.”
Combatting cultural Marxism has become a full time job for both Shapiro and Yiannopoulos, but the difference is that Cruz and Shapiro want to raise the level of discourse to fit the old narrative of social conservatism, while Trump and Yiannopoulos continue to foster a new style; Alt-right, ‘cultural libertarianism.’