It’s damaging to our country when people are forced from their jobs, their clubs or their associations with others because they express ideas that bother other people. I know there’s nothing in the law or the Constitution that prevents it from happening. I’m simply saying it’s a bad thing when it does happen, especially when we make it such a common event. The most damaging effect will be to make people fearful about expressing themselves at all. Fortunately, I harbor no such fear.
A healthy society has no trouble dealing with the presence of extreme or even absurd ideas as part of the public discourse, because better ideas usually rise to win the day when there’s an open and honest debate. The problem with our present society-takes-care-of-it approach to speech punishing is that the loudest and most aggressive factions get to decide which speech is acceptable. And the political left, those who deny creating this present fascist style stifling atmosphere are getting nervous now that it has turn on them.
Today, Harper’s Magazine printed a letter to be featured in a future issue that I found interesting, considering who signed it. This open letter on open debate is signed by a wide range of notable people (100) including, Gloria Steinem, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Noam Chomsky, leftist scumbag Matthew Yglesias, David Brooks, my former teacher Wynton Marsalis, J.K. Rowling, Francis Fukuyama, and Salman Rushdie among other artist, journalist and scholarly elite. It’s an interesting read, even with the ridicules attempt to pin censorship on the right, and you may find the entire list of signatures surprising.
Fear of the mob or true concern?? You decide. Here’s The Full Text. A Sample below.
“The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty……”
“Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes. Whatever the arguments around each particular incident, the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal. We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement……”
“It is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought. More troubling still, institutional leaders, in a spirit of panicked damage control, are delivering hasty and disproportionate punishments instead of considered reforms…….”
The left knows they have unleashed a monster. And the monster is driving the wagon.
Some of the most influential and important ideas in human history started out as radical, and out-of-the-mainstream. But because people were not afraid to express them, even in the face of sanction, they eventually changed history for the better. Is it no longer possible for that to happen because the Twitter mob won’t stand for it?
And do mainstream journalists really believe in free expression? Or do they really love limits on free expression, as long as they get to be the enforcers??
[DMF Center for the Study of Regressive Proglodyte Policy]