I am perpetually annoyed that we continue to have culture war battles out of habit long after they have ceased to mean anything. For example, the liberal insistence that the media or the academy do not have liberal biases. Of course, the mainstream media is hostile to the interests of the Trump administration. Of course, our university system is unfriendly to conservative students and scholars. How could anyone have read the New York Times for the past five years and fail to conclude that essentially everyone that works for the paper is opposed to the Trump administration? How could anyone look at the universal adoption of cultural studies as the basic intellectual foundation of the academy and think that conservative scholars are going to be welcomed in academic institutions?
Maybe these are good things, I don’t know. But for God’s sake, let go of the pretense. If you’re a journalist or academic just own it. Just own it!
And so this open letter in Harper’s about free speech and debate. Please, think for a minute and consider: what does it say when a completely generic endorsement of free speech and open debate is in and of itself immediately diagnosed as anti-progressive, as anti-left? There is literally no specific instance discussed in that open letter, no real-world incident about which there might be specific and tangible controversy. So how can someone object to an endorsement of free speech and open debate without being opposed to those things in and of themselves? You can’t. And people are objecting to it because social justice politics are plainly opposed to free speech. That is the most obvious political fact imaginable today. Of course Yelling Woke Twitter hates free speech! Of course social justice liberals would prevent expression they disagree with if they could! How could any honest person observe our political discourse for any length of time and come to any other conclusion?
You want to argue that free speech is bad, fine. You want to adopt a dominance politics that (you imagine) will result in you being the censor, fine. But just do that. Own that. Can we stop with this charade? Can we stop pretending? Can we just proceed by acknowledging what literally everyone quietly knows, which is that the dominant majority of progressive people simply don’t believe in the value of free speech anymore? Please. Let’s grow up and speak plainly, please. Let’s just grow up.
I am promoting my book. Consider preordering a copy.