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  1. #126
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Well kindly be specific then. What are you referring to?

    My position can be stated quite simply. I believe people have the fundamental Right to express their opinion in a free society, and not be censored or censured for doing so. Hence the Chomsky quote.
    Where would I draw the line? Hate speech- by which I mean admonitions of violence, expulsion, exclusion, discrimination etc against those you disagree with. Hence the Voltaire quote.

    A further posit from this position may be more controversial to some. I actually believe you have a de facto obligation to rationally debate in favour of your viewpoint, without fear of recrimination or discrimination. If capable (sorry TD).
    I further believe that the acceptance of these stated positions is a large part of the reason for the success of our Democratic societies to date. Pluralism, diversity, tolerance etc breeds Strength- not Mob rule. A free market of Thought, Opinion and Ideas. Not believing so seems to me pre-Rennaisance, and totally undemocratic.

    To sum up, I am not the sensitive type. You are both entitled and welcome to disagree with my opinion on any given topic- and vigorously debate your point of view. I would have thought that was obvious from my Issue's Mod stint.
    But if you would deny me or others the same Right, yet accept the many benefits of living in this diverse, tolerant sociopolitical system of ours, then I call you out as a Hypocrite. No, I didn’t do not like the current trend of censoriousness and 'Groupthink'. I consider it quite worrying and damaging actually. The OP is both timely and relevant- cheers looper.
    I have been specific. You keep misrepresenting, erecting straw men to tilt at, and engaging in ad hom.

    Too late to come the ‘I’m reasonable / open minded / interested in constructive debate’ bit for sure.

  2. #127
    Its all gleaming
    NamPikToot's Avatar
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    Sabang, you'll be spineless, weak and dementia ridden soon, someone is looking for another poster to bully.

  3. #128
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raycarey
    whinging ceaselessly and bleating your white grievance.
    He seems to alternate between getting upset over things that don’t actually effect him and incongruously claiming he finds it hilarious, doesn’t care about it, and has better things to do.

  4. #129
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    sabang's Avatar
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    I have been specific.
    No, you haven't. What point do you wish to make??? Make it. Or, if you have made it, cut n paste it here- 'cus I'm certainly not aware of it. Be specific.

    [and if I had a buck for every time you say this word strawman, I would be a wealthy man indeed. Got any other words there, Einstein?]

  5. #130
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NamPikToot
    Leo is suffering from withdrawl symptoms, he needs another anonymous geriatric poster to pick on to prove he's as manly as he thinks he is when he pouts in thle mrror - fooking weirdo.
    Ah huh.

    Did you just yell that at the pic of me you’ve got saved?

    Quote Originally Posted by sabang
    No, you haven't. What point do you wish to make??? Make it. Or, if you have made it, cut n paste it here- 'cus I'm certainly not aware of it. Be specific.

    [and if I had a buck for every time you say this word strawman, I would be a wealthy man indeed. Got any other words there, Einstein?]
    Actually I really have and, strangely, don’t really feel the need to repeat myself to someone who resorts to logical fallacies and ad hominem and then thinks he’s entitled to reasoned responses.

    Come back and talk to me when you’re sober or whatever if you’re wanting actual debate.

  6. #131
    Pedantic bastard
    nidhogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    No, you haven't. What point do you wish to make??? Make it. Or, if you have made it, cut n paste it here- 'cus I'm certainly not aware of it. Be specific.

    [and if I had a buck for every time you say this word strawman, I would be a wealthy man. Got any other words there, Einstein?]
    Kinda wished you had adressed my post rather than shit stirring it, but still.

    Here is my take:

    Transgendered women have a right to be treated as women. Check. Agree.

    Biological women have the right to a space free from some dude who identifies as a woman. Check. Agree.



    Wait, what the fuck?????

    Like it is complicated, and if you see it as simple, you probably do not understand the issue.

    And at that point it is probably better to say less, and listen more.

  7. #132
    Its all gleaming
    NamPikToot's Avatar
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    a musical interlude to lighten the mood.


  8. #133
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    my post rather than shit stirring
    I am not shit stirring at all. Obviously, ant has been thoroughly whackamoled, so I'll give up on him. If you know what this mysterious specific point is that he has made, and would care to copy it, I would appreciate that. I will respond as best I can, but I cannot respond to an alleged specific point that I really cannot identify, and the poster refuses to confirm.


    Transgendered women have a right to be treated as women. Check. Agree.

    Biological women have the right to a space free from some dude who identifies as a woman. Check. Agree.
    Is this the great public toilet debate? Sorry, but it is of little import in my book. If one has the resources, and traffic, to justify a 3 toilet system- M, F & Trans, great fill yer boots. Obviously, this will not always be practicable. Is that really the end of the world to some people? The French have been using unisex toilets forever. In aussie department stores, there is often a third toilet that is for mothers with babies- to change their nappies. Maybe trans too? Then you have disabled toilets for wheelchair access. Another thought? Jeez, is this really considered an important debate?

    Seriously, this thread has gone way off topic- the OP is about Censoriousness. That is what I am responding too, not toilet policy, or budget. I have made several perfectly reasonable posts on the topic, and anyone is welcome to respond if interested.
    Last edited by sabang; 10-07-2020 at 10:36 PM.

  9. #134
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang
    I have made several perfectly reasonable posts on the topic
    ...
    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    retarded lemmings
    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    intellectual lemmings
    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    you lemmings have no intelligent response
    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    You really are being Owned
    ...and many more rambling and incoherent ones.

  10. #135
    Its all gleaming
    NamPikToot's Avatar
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    Poor Leo

  11. #136
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    A More Specific Letter on Justice and Open Debate

    On Tuesday, 153 of the most prominent journalists, authors, and writers, including J. K. Rowling, Malcolm Gladwell, and David Brooks, published an open call for civility in Harper’s Magazine. They write, in the pages of a prominent magazine that’s infamous for being anti-union, not paying its interns, and firing editors over editorial disagreements with the publisher: “The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted.”


    The signatories, many of them white, wealthy, and endowed with massive platforms, argue that they are afraid of being silenced, that so-called cancel culture is out of control, and that they fear for their jobs and free exchange of ideas, even as they speak from one of the most prestigious magazines in the country.


    The letter was spearheaded by Thomas Chatterton Williams, a Black writer who believes “that racism at once persists and is also capable of being transcended—especially at the interpersonal level.” Since the letter was published, some commentators have used Williams’s presence and the presence of other non-white writers to argue that the letter presents a selection of diverse voices. But they miss the point: the irony of the piece is that nowhere in it do the signatories mention how marginalized voices have been silenced for generations in journalism, academia, and publishing.


    Some of the problems they bring up are real and concerning — for example, they seem to be referencing a researcher being fired for sharing a study on Twitter. But they are not trends — at least not in the way that the signatories suggest. In reality, their argument alludes to but does not clearly lay out specific examples, and undermines the very cause they have appointed themselves to uphold. In truth, Black, brown, and LGBTQ+ people — particularly Black and trans people — can now critique elites publicly and hold them accountable socially; this seems to be the letter’s greatest concern. What’s perhaps even more grating to many of the signatories is that a critique of their long held views is persuasive.


    The content of the letter also does not deal with the problem of power: who has it and who does not. Harper’s is a prestigious institution, backed by money and influence. Harper’s has decided to bestow its platform not to marginalized people but to people who already have large followings and plenty of opportunities to make their views heard. Ironically, these influential people then use that platform to complain that they’re being silenced. Many of the signatories have coworkers in their own newsrooms who are deeply concerned with the letter, some who feel comfortable speaking out and others who do not.


    The letter reads as a caustic reaction to a diversifying industry — one that’s starting to challenge institutional norms that have protected bigotry. The writers of the letter use seductive but nebulous concepts and coded language to obscure the actual meaning behind their words, in what seems like an attempt to control and derail the ongoing debate about who gets to have a platform. They are afforded the type of cultural capital from social media that institutions like Harper’s have traditionally conferred to mostly white, cisgender people. Their words reflect a stubbornness to let go of the elitism that still pervades the media industry, an unwillingness to dismantle systems that keep people like them in and the rest of us out.


    The Harper’s letter cites six nonspecific examples to justify their argument. It’s possible to guess what incidents the signatories might be referring to, and it’s likely that if they listed specific examples, most wouldn’t hold water. But the instances they reference are not part of a new trend at all, as we explain below.


    1. Editors are fired for running controversial pieces?


    When the signatories claim that “editors are fired for running controversial pieces,” they seem to be arguing it’s a problem that James Bennet, the former Opinion editor of the New York Times, was fired. In reality, Bennet resigned because Black staffers risked their jobs to publicly point out that Bennet had signed off on an opinion piece that called for the use of the nation’s military against its own citizenry for exercising their First Amendment rights. Bennet first defended the piece, then admitted to not reading it before publication. The Times itself admitted that the piece was not up to its own editorial standards and its publisher said in a letter to staff that the piece was emblematic of a “significant breakdown” in the editing process. The signatories of the letter seem to be suggesting that all viewpoints should be published in opinion pages, with no limits on what those viewpoints might be. They never tell us why opinion pages, like the ones in the New York Times, shouldn’t publish opinion pieces by flat-earthers or explicit calls for violence. The answer is simple: Newspapers have editorial judgment and set the tone for what is published in their opinion pages. The Times chose to solicit and amplify a perspective from a senator, and backlash ensued, which is similar to what’s happening in the Harper’s letter — prominent people with huge platforms complaining they don’t have enough latitude to share their views. A large number of Black, brown, and trans editors don’t wield the same kind of power as white editors, because most newsrooms are already led by a primarily white and male workforce.



    2. Books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity?


    The signatories claim that “books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity.” This could be a reference to American Dirt, a book by Jeanine Cummins — a non-Mexican white woman who recently began identifying as Puerto Rican — about a Mexican bookseller, which was roundly criticized by Latinx writers and authors like Myriam Gurba and Los Angeles Times writer Esmeralda Bermudez. That book was featured as a part of Oprah’s Book Club, despite the fact that Latinx journalists like Bermudez said the story was a far cry from real-life immigrant experiences. It could also be a reference to Apropos of Nothing, Woody Allen’s book that was dropped by Hachette, a major publisher, after employees protested Allen’s history of sexual assault allegations. The book was later picked up by a different publisher.


    Manuscripts for books written by nonwhite authors are not given such leniency. A recent Twitter hashtag highlighted that even when Black and brown authors do have book deals, they are not compensated at anywhere close to the same rates as their white colleagues. Additionally, the top ten banned young adult books in 2019 are ones that feature trans main characters, as journalist Katelyn Burns has pointed out. Rainbow Rowell, who wrote a book widely decried by Asian American book critics for its inaccurate portrayal of Korean culture, is now having that book adapted into a movie — with a Japanese director.




    3. Journalists are barred from writing on certain topics?


    The signatories claim that “journalists are barred from writing on certain topics.”Here, they could be talking about how just last month, at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a Black journalist was told she could not cover protests because she was biased because of one tweet on protests. But if this is the example they are referencing, then they misunderstand the situation entirely. Alexis Johnson’s situation is not unique, nor is it a new phenomenon for a Black writer to be silenced by her editors. Black and brown journalists have been barred from writing on certain topics because of our perceived lack of “objectivity” for decades.



    4. Professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class?


    The signatories claim that “professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class.” This could be a reference to Laurie Sheck, a New School Professor, who said the N-word when referencing a James Baldwin piece in class. Yet, she is still employed and has classes listed for spring 2021. A similar incident occurred with Princeton professor Lawrence Rosen, whom Princeton defended. He ended up canceling the class, but he was backed by his institution. Black, brown, and trans professors have been harassed by conservative websites, threatened, and had careers ruined for speaking about our own experiences or confronting systemic racism.




    5. A researcher fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study?


    The signatories claim that a researcher was “fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study.” This is likely about David Shor, who tweeted a summary of an academic paper by Professor Omar Wasow and was then fired from his job at Civis Analytics, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research firm. It could very well be true that Shor was fired for posting the study. The facts of the situation are unclear and the company has said it will not comment on personnel matters. If Shor was fired simply for posting an academic article, that is indefensible, and anomalous.




    6. The heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes?


    The signatories claim that “the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes.” This is so vague that it seems hard to pick out a specific example, although in New York Times coverage of the Harper’s letter, Willliams cites resignations at the National Books Critics Circle and the Poetry Foundation. The Poetry Foundation’s president and board chair resigned after prominent Black poets criticized its recent four-sentence Black Lives Matter statement, writing that the organization had failed to tangibly support marginalized communities. The board of the National Book Critics Circle was not removed, but resigned after a former president made the racist suggestion that he had seen “far more of white people helping black writers than of black people helping white writers.”


    It could also be about Bon Appétit editor in chief Adam Rapoport, who was pushed to step down after a writer shared a photo of Rapoport in brownface — in a racist Halloween costume as a Puerto Rican — and accusations of creating a toxic work culture by underpaying BIPOC staff. It could also be a reference to the resignation of the CEO of CrossFit or to several CEOs of fashion and lifestyle companies who stepped down after reckonings with racism in their workplaces. The vagueness of the letter confers protection from criticism most especially in this section. You can read a specific list of examples here. None of the CEOs who stepped down made “clumsy mistakes”; many of them were deeply involved in creating racist and exploitative work environments that are just now being unveiled after years in which they collected paychecks and acclaim.



    Not only is there no significant evidence of inappropriate censure linking these instances, it’s unclear what examples the authors, some of whom are considered writing icons, are even drawing from to make their point. Exactly as Osita Nwanevu wrote recently in the New Republic: “Viral stories and anecdata that people focused on the major issues of our day might consider marginal are, for [Bari] Weiss and her ideological peers, the central crises of contemporary politics⁠.”


    What the signatories are describing are things that have happened to journalists, academics, and authors marginalized by their respective industries for years — just not in the ways the signatories want to highlight. The problem they are describing is for the most part a rare one for privileged writers, but it is constant for the voices that have been most often shut out of the room. When Black and brown writers are hired by prominent media institutes, NDAs and social media policies are used to prevent them from talking about toxic workplace experiences.


    The letter talks about none of this.


    While the Harper’s letter is couched in the events of the last few weeks, it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is actively informed by the actions of its writers, many of whom have championed the free market of ideas, but actively ensured that it is free only for them. It’s ironic that the letter gives highly sought-out space to some of the most well-paid and visible people in media, academia, and publishing. These are the same people who possess the money and prestige to have their ideas shared in just about any elite publication, outlet, or journal. There will always be a place for them to have their voices heard. Some even started yet another publication last week. Most writers and journalists from backgrounds historically left out of the industry are not in the same position.


    We recognize a few of the signatories of the Harper’s letter have been advocates of the issues that concern us here, which is, in part, the root of our hurt and dismay. Yet, everyone who signed the letter has reinforced the actions and beliefs of its most prominent signatories, some of whom have gone out of their way to harass trans writers or pedantically criticize Black writers.


    In fact, a number of the signatories have made a point of punishing people who have spoken out against them, including Bari Weiss (who made a name for herself as a Columbia University undergrad by harassing and infringing upon the speech of professors she considered to be anti-Israel, and later attempted to shame multiple media outlets into firing freelance journalist Erin Biba for her tweets), Katha Pollitt (whose transphobic rhetoric has extended to trying to deny trans journalists access to professional networking tools), Emily Yoffe (who has spoken out against sexual-assault survivors expressing their free speech rights), Anne-Marie Slaughter (who terminated her Google-funded organization’s partnership with a Google critic), and Cary Nelson (whose support of free speech, apparently, does not extend to everyone) — just to name a few. What gives them the right to use their platforms to harass others into silence, especially writers with smaller platforms and less institutional support, while preaching that silencing writers is a problem?


    Rowling, one of the signers, has spouted transphobic and transmisogynist rhetoric, mocking the idea that trans men could exist, and likening transition-related medical care such as hormone replacement therapy to conversion therapy. She directly interacts with fans on Twitter, publishes letters littered with transphobic rhetoric, and gets away with platforming violent anti-trans speakers to her 14 million followers.


    Jesse Singal, another signer, is a cis man infamous for advancing his career by writing derogatorily about trans issues. In 2018, Singal had a cover story in The Atlantic expressing skepticism about the benefits of gender-affirming care for trans youth. No trans writer has been afforded the same space. Singal often faces and dismisses criticism from trans people, but he has a much larger platform than any trans journalist. In fact, a 2018 Jezebel report found that Singal was part of a closed Google listserv of more than 400 left-leaning media elites who praised his work, with not a single out trans person in the group. He also has an antagonistic history with trans journalists, academics, and other writers, dedicating many Medium posts to attempting to refute or discredit their claims and reputations.


    It’s also clear that the organizers of the letter did not communicate clearly and honestly with all the signatories. One invited professor, who did not sign the Harper's letter, said that he was asked to sign a letter "arguing for bolder, more meaningful efforts at racial and gender inclusion in journalism, academia, and the arts." The letter in its final form fails to make this argument at all. Another of the signers, author and professor Jennifer Finney Boylan, who is also a trans woman, said on Twitter that she did not know who else had signed it until it was published. Another signatory, Lucia Martinez Valdivia, said in a Medium post: “When I asked to know who the other signatories were, the names I was shown were those of people of color from all over the political spectrum, and not those of people who have taken gender-critical or trans-exclusionary positions.”


    Under the guise of free speech and free exchange of ideas, the letter appears to be asking for unrestricted freedom to espouse their points of view free from consequence or criticism. There are only so many outlets, and while these individuals have the ability to write in them, they have no intention of sharing that space or acknowledging their role in perpetuating a culture of fear and silence among writers who, for the most part, do not look like the majority of the signatories. When they demand debates, it is on their terms, on their turf.


    The signatories call for a refusal of “any false choice between justice and freedom.” It seems at best obtuse and inappropriate, and at worst actively racist, to mention the ongoing protests calling for policing reform and abolition and then proceed to argue that it is the signatories who are “paying the price in greater risk aversion.” It’s particularly insulting that they’ve chosen now, a time marked by, as they describe, “powerful protests for racial and social justice,” to detract from the public conversation about who gets to have a platform.


    It is impossible to see how these signatories are contributing to “the most vital causes of our time” during this moment of widespread reckoning with oppressive social systems. Their letter seeks to uphold a “stifling atmosphere” and prioritizes signal-blasting their discomfort in the face of valid criticism. The intellectual freedom of cis white intellectuals has never been under threat en masse, especially when compared to how writers from marginalized groups have been treated for generations. In fact, they have never faced serious consequences — only momentary discomfort.




    About this letter


    This letter was a group effort, started by journalists of color with contributions from the larger journalism, academic, and publishing community. While a few of us organized the writing process, our role was to facilitate the group’s voice, not set the content or direction. Contributions were seen by all the collaborators and accepted through consensus. There is no particular order to this list of signatories, nor did any one person do the bulk of the work in writing the letter.


    Many signatories on our list noted their institutional affiliation but not their name, fearful of professional retaliation. It is a sad fact, and in part why we wrote the letter.


    A More Specific Letter on Justice and Open Debate - The Objective
    Last edited by misskit; 11-07-2020 at 01:20 AM.

  12. #137
    Never Mind The Bollix
    Looper's Avatar
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    ^Whataboutism ?

  13. #138
    The Dentist English Noodles's Avatar
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    ^Imagine being a journalist at Teen Vogue and telling Salman Rushdie that he's wrong and censorship is good, actually.

  14. #139
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looper View Post
    ^Whataboutism ?
    You're using it wrong.

    Ask HooHoo and his puppy Klondyke for advice.

  15. #140
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Under the guise of free speech and free exchange of ideas, the letter appears to be asking for unrestricted freedom to espouse their points of view free from consequence or criticism.
    Fucking right it does.

    And fuck them.

  16. #141
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looper View Post
    ^Whataboutism ?
    Didn’t see that at all. More like the writers of the first letter were speaking from a bully pulpit was the point.

  17. #142
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NamPikToot View Post
    A glass of whine later once the children have gone to bed.

    accurate.

  18. #143
    The Dentist English Noodles's Avatar
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    So much for the bravery of the Harper’s letter

    The response to the free speech petition has once again exposed the intolerance of the Left

    Is it possible to re-establish the bare minimum rules of political disagreement in the internet age? Latest developments at the front line of the culture wars would suggest not.

    Earlier this week a group of 150 writers appended their names to an open letter published in Harper’s Magazine (note to British readers — this is not the same thing at Harper’s and Queen, which would be a stranger home for such a declaration).

    The contents were, as at least one signatory admitted, fairly anodyne. The letter spoke of “the free exchange of information and ideas” and of how this constituted “the lifeblood of a liberal society”.

    It went on to criticise the current vogue for ‘cancelling’ people because of their expressed opinion, stating that “As writers we need a culture that leaves us room for experimentation, risk-taking, and even mistakes. We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences.”

    All of which seems eminently reasonable, almost to the point of something so bland it hardly needs to be said. What is more, the organisers of the letter were clearly careful to signal that they were based in the dead-centre/centre-left of the political culture wars; its opening paragraph spoke of the “forces of illiberalism [that] are gaining strength” and which have, according to the letter, “a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy”.

    This latter offering probably made good political sense to the writers. After all, the last four years have increasingly seen ‘free speech’ being depicted as some kind of ‘alt-right’ issue. If you are in favour of free speech but would like to be seen as politically respectable then it is crucial that you clear your throat by denouncing the US President as an equal threat (at least) to the illiberal Left. Otherwise your peers may have too easy a time presenting you as yet another tiki-torch-wielding racist.

    The signatories of the letter were well chosen. There were plenty of women among their number; not all of the signatories were white. And there was even – rarest of all — a degree of political diversity among the signatories. As well as people like Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie and J.K. Rowling — all figures identifiably of the political Left — the letter was also signed by David Frum, former speechwriter to George W Bush and ardent ‘never-Trump’-er.

    In a way this cut-off point only a millimeter to the Right of the political centre told its own story about the extent of political diversity. If you are to get a large group of Left-wingers to sign a letter, even a letter in support of a fundemantal liberal principle like free speech, one must be careful not to contaminate them by proximity to anyone further to the Right than David Frum.

    Alas even this cautious positioning did not entirely work. J.K. Rowling may be the most successful author of her generation, perhaps of all time, and a woman whose political views have always denoted her as being of the political Left. But in recent months an author idolised by millions of young readers has asserted that biological sex exists and that, while trans people should be afforded the same rights and dignity as everyone else, nevertheless they are not quite the same thing as born-women.

    For expressing this view J.K. Rowling has come to be viewed by a certain type of activist as to all intents and purposes indistinguishable from Donald Trump or Steve Bannon. So the Harry Potter creator affixing her signature to the Harper’s letter was already going to be a provocation too much for some sensitive souls, while the inclusion of even one solitary figure — Frum — from the centre-Right made the whole affair too toxic for others to bear.

    From the moment that the letter was published its critics were inadvertantly revealing why it needed to be written in the first place. Many asserted that cancel culture did not exist, that it was another example of the interminable ‘gas-lighting’ or ‘dog-whistle’ claims of an increasingly marching Right. Many of the activists making this claim were, of course, also arguing that signatories of the letter should be cancelled, for proximity to transphobia, among other thought-crimes. Vox’s Matt Yglesias was denounced by his own colleague because, of course, political opinions threaten safety; this, again, proved the point of the letter.

    Elsewhere, and perhaps even more enjoyably, there were those who objected to the idea that in a letter purporting to span the political divide there should be people on the list who, er, spanned the political divide. One of the signatories, a little-known author called Jennifer Finney Boylan, even issued an apology within hours of the letter’s publication. “I did not know who else had signed that letter,” she wrote: “I thought I was endorsing a well-meaning, if vague, message against internet shaming. I did know Chomsky, Steinem, and Atwood were in, and I thought, good company. The consequences are mine to bear. I am so sorry.”

    It must be an awful thing to discover, that. You wake one morning believing that you have just signed the usual “well-meaning, if vague” letter alongside a genocide-denier and other reputable Left-wing authors, only to discover that a former speechwriter to a Republican president is on the same list of names as yours. What a lot of weight that must be to bear. Almost intolerable in its way.

    Of course, others did not even reach the great point of bravery achieved by Jennifer Finney Boylan. Some authors revealed that the letter had come across their desks but that they had given it a pass, among them someone called Kaitlyn Greenidge, who announced on Twitter that the letter had been passed to her a week before.

    “I was so mad about it when I read it and have been angry about it for days,” she tweeted. She then copied in the email she had written to the organisers in which she wrote that she did not think that ‘cancel culture’ was a real threat. “Or, at least, I do not believe being asked to consider the history of anti-blackness and white terrorism when writing a piece, after centuries of suppression of any other view in academia, is the equivalent of a loss of institutional authority.”

    In a way the reaction to the Harper’s letter neatly demonstrates the impossibility of the task it sought to achieve. A letter calling for unity across political divides showed up the great political problem of the era, which is not intolerance in the general, but the absolute unwillingness of the political Left to tolerate the political Right. In trying to be inclusive it was accused of including people accused of bigotry; in attempting to find a common cause for writers to unite around it was accused of providing cover for ‘white terrorism’. In attempting a ‘hang together’ ethic it found some of its number hanging apart within hours of lift-off.

    It is bad news, this. It suggests the difficulty of finding any ethic around which our societies might unite. For all the decency of their stand, the Harper’s organisers could not reach out in any real way. They dared not, for instance, reach out to any figures who are supportive of the current President of the United States, a figure who, while divisive, happens also to have been elected. Why were Roger Kimball, Conrad Black or Victor Davis Hanson not among the letter’s signatories, for example, if the aim was to show that liberal society offered a wide spectrum of debates that could be reasonably argued?

    And yet, even in a letter whose lines of delineation were chosen with exceptional, unrepresentative care, the wider, clamouring crowd could not be satisfied. Is it the worst thing in the world that the Harper’s letter met such an opposition? Obviously not. Is it a bad sign? Absolutely.

    https://unherd.com/2020/07/viewpoint-diversity-as-long-as-its-on-the-left/

  19. #144
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    ^Yup. It seems the threats to Freedom, of Expression and the Free exchange of Ideas are emanating every bit as much these days from the Illiberal Left as it traditionally has from the Unconservative Right. A sad development, accompanied by the same herd mentality.

    True liberals, conservatives, and obviously those in the centre accept the necessity for Freedom of Expression in our free, diverse, pluralistic society- it is in fact one of it's fundamental building blocks. If we upset a few spongecakes by our insistence on these Rights, well diddums.

  20. #145
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Why is it that you constantly resort to the Americanisms of 'The Left', 'the Loony left', 'Illiberal Left' etc...

    Any topic is more complicated than the 'loony left' and the 'fascist right wing motherfuckers', isn't it?

    The source you quote was founded by Torygraph and Conservatives Montgomerie and Chatterton - happily 'fascist right wing motherfuckers' they must be . . . yet there are many articles I agree with and I clearly belong to the 'loony left', though I haven't voted left of centre for quite a few years.



    Quote Originally Posted by misskit View Post
    Didn’t see that at all. More like the writers of the first letter were speaking from a bully pulpit was the point.
    Agreed.

  21. #146
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    I assume that post was not directed at moi, PH? I too dislike the terms "liberal" "Conservative" (as opposed to conservative), anything really that is being used as a fatuous label in the cursed Identity products of the current era, by intellectual scalliwags. The intolerance emanating from both Right and Left (at it's margins anyway) is neither liberal, or conservative.

    They have nothing to do with actual liberalism or conservatism, which accept the basic tenets of Freedom of Expression and it's intrinsic importance to the development and maintenance of our sociopolitical system and it's many benefits.

  22. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by panama hat View Post
    Why is it that you constantly resort to the Americanisms of 'The Left', 'the Loony left', 'Illiberal Left' etc...
    Because he is apparently getting all of his talking points from right wing propaganda sites. This is the manufactured terminology that they use down to the letter.

  23. #148
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    Looper you have started yet another TD shitfest. Intelligent debate is dead and buried on TD and totally pointless. It just breeds a torrent of abuse from the more intellectually challenged who are unable to debate ideas in a calm rational discourse.

  24. #149
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    Quote Originally Posted by panama hat
    Why is it that you constantly resort to the Americanisms of 'The Left', 'the Loony left', 'Illiberal Left' etc...
    Because dealing in absolutes, binary notions, absolutes, blanket statements and gross generalizations is increasingly becoming his 'thing'.

  25. #150
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    I was surprised that you were surprised.

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