The ultimate decision, however, belonged to the club’s executive board. And they understood the issue wasn’t really about Yiannopoulos at all: It was about keeping our club together. Because while it’s theoretically possible that the invitation of one speaker might be worth the fall of the conservative movement at UCLA, Milo Yiannopoulos—a loathsome intellectual bantamweight of no public consequence—wasn’t that speaker. This simply wasn’t the hill for the Bruin Republicans to die on.
All of which is why the board made a unanimous decision to cancel the event. Some members of the club took this as a loss, because disinviting Yiannopoulos was what liberals on campus had wanted. But this view misses the point: Conservative ideas do not exist simply to counter liberal ideas: They rest on bedrocks of human nature and philosophy. We don’t believe in free speech because progressives believe in curtailing speech. We don’t believe in limited government because progressives believe in big government. We believe these things because they are right and can be justified on their own terms. They are first principles. An ideological movement based around nothing but knee-jerk oppositionalism isn’t a movement at all. It’s a pose.