On Tuesday, Harpers released a powerful open letter denouncing cancel culture and celebrating open debate. Even far-left anti-capitalist Noam Chomsky signed the letter.
“The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted,” the letter warns. “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.”
The signatories lament that “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.”
As Iowahawk noted, “Noam Chomsky was a Cambodian Genocide denier who defended Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, and today I learned cancel culture has gotten too wacky even for him.”
Of course, for some of the signers, past performance is no guarantee of future results:
Related: Kanye West and the uncancellables. It’s hard not to admire people who get rich and say whatever they want.
UPDATE: Open Letter Endorsing Free Speech Sparks Civil War at Vox. “Vox critic at large Emily VanDerWerff tweeted a letter she said she had sent to Vox editors stating that [Matt] Yglesias’s decision to sign the letter—which she said was also signed by several ‘anti-trans’ critics—made her feel ‘less safe’ at the publication.”
Relax! Just because Matt signed something, doesn’t mean he actually agrees with it:
MORE: Ironic: Names are dropping off letter decrying an intolerance of opposing views because of opposing views. “Removing their names after being shamed by the mob shows exactly why the letter exists in the first place. Amazing, really.”
In accordance with the prophecy: “We apologise again for the fault in the subtitles. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked have been sacked.”