“The devil is real. And he lies, his name is Soros György” – with this provocative opening, alt-right Milo Yiannopoulos didn’t need to struggle for the attention of his Hungarian audience. The Budapest crowd cheered the self-proclaimed “troll”, even if, at least to me, his comment seemed to have an ironic tone. In any case, this claim was far from the only controversial thing that was said on Friday night.
Personally, I did not have much knowledge about the speaker, maybe that was the reason I couldn’t recall the main message, or any major topics of the evening, when someone asked me about the show afterwards. But maybe just the talk didn’t have a focus. Milo mostly jumped from one political issue to another with forced smiles and dozens of politically incorrect jokes. He mentioned controversial political topics such as migration, cultural difficulties with Islam in Europe, should we say “Merry Bloody Christmas” or just Happy Holidays, and culture wars that he claimed were being waged “between Social Justice Warriors and normal people”; in addition, after referring to US President Donald Trump as “Daddy” last year, Yiannopoulos praised “Uncle Viktor” Orbán for supposedly defending Europe.
Upon reflection, the British provocateur seems more of a fashionable stand-up comedian, whose carrier has been built on making wild statements and attacking “political correctness,” than a serious political thinker. But in his business model these kind of jokes are not part of his core values (whatever those might be), but are rather political tactics meant to neutralize his “liberal” opponents. As he admitted in previous interviews, Milo deliberately goes out of his way to use his jokes to hurt and attack his political opponents. And in his talk last Friday, he went on to claim that jokes are the “best weapon” to “humanize” people who liberals, in his view, want to “demonize.”
In addition to his implied sexual attraction toward Donald Trump and Viktor Orban, Yiannopoulos admires them politically as well. He repeatedly mentioned Hungary’s importance in the “culture wars,” and the role that he claims Hungary plays defending Europe.
You’ve met your destiny again, and you fight in the front lines in Europe. Hungary evolved, as a sort of robust, brave, renegade nation in the frontlines of Europe. It’s perhaps, the result of your 20th century.
But one of the biggest achievements Hungary, he thinks, is its government’s ability to ignore the opinion of the international press. In fact, in one of the most shocking statements of the night, the alt-right pundit rejected the basic importance of press freedom in society, telling his audience that
we will protecting the press, when there is press worth protecting.
At the end of the presentation, Zsolt Jeszenszky, host of the evening and the son of former Foreign Minister Géza Jeszenszky (who has become known in Hungary as a foul-mouthed media personality), read audience questions that Yiannopoulos responded to.
Of these, perhaps, the most prominent question was when the someone asked what would his opinion be if the majority of people in Europe were non-white within a couple of decades:
I don’t care about skin colour, what I care about are ideas, when people are entering into Europe, they share our values, I want them speak the language they move to, the first basic requirement, and live like who actually want to be there. I care about what is in people’s heart, and do they let me live how I want.
The two speaker agreed that western civilization is superior to Muslim culture. Achievements such as freedom of speech and women’s rights are worth defending, with Milo adding that “if the left don’t want to protect it, we will do it instead.”
In addition to controversial and extreme political statements, the event also had some almost indescribably bizarre moments as well. Of these, without a doubt the most notable, and cringe-worthy, took place when Zsolt Jeszenszky, after taking the stage at the beginning of the Q&A session, made comments suggesting that
he would be willing to perform sexual acts upon Yiannopoulos.
This discussion, which went on for an uncomfortably long time, can be seen at the video’s 1:17-minute mark.
The event took place peacefully. Unlike Yiannopoulos’ lectures in Western Europe or in the US, Friday night’s talk did not see any protesters. At the same time, however, there weren’t many audience-members either for the government-funded speech, a fact that Milo himself complained about. The former Breitbart columnist claimed that he would have happily seen the additional 700 applicants who wanted to attend, but that the organizers decided that they “did not deserve” to participate in defending Europe.