July 8, 2020

"Okay, I did not sign THE LETTER when I was asked 9 days ago, because I could see in 90 seconds that it was fatuous, self-important drivel that would only troll the people it allegedly was trying to reach — and I said as much."

Tweeted Richard Kim, the enterprise director of HuffPo, quoted in "Artists and Writers Warn of an ‘Intolerant Climate.’ Reaction Is Swift. An open letter published by Harper’s, signed by luminaries including Margaret Atwood and Wynton Marsalis, argued for openness to 'opposing views.' The debate began immediately" (NYT). (Here's where we discussed the letter yesterday.)

From the NYT article:
[T]he letter... spearheaded by the writer Thomas Chatterton Williams, began taking shape about a month ago.... “We didn’t want to be seen as reacting to the protests we believe are in response to egregious abuses by the police... But for some time, there’s been a mood all of us have been quite concerned with.”

He said there wasn’t one particular incident that provoked the letter. But he did cite several recent ones, including the resignation of more than half the board of the National Book Critics Circle over its statement supporting Black Lives Matter, a similar blowup at the Poetry Foundation, and the case of David Shor, a data analyst at a consulting firm who was fired after he tweeted about academic research linking looting and vandalism by protesters to Richard Nixon’s 1968 electoral victory.

Such incidents, Mr. Williams said, both fueled and echoed what he called the far greater and more dangerous “illiberalism” of President Trump. Mr. Williams said the letter was very much a crowdsourced effort, with about 20 people contributing language. Then it was circulated more broadly for signatures, in what he describes as a process that was both “organic” and aimed at getting a group that was maximally diverse politically, racially and otherwise.

“We’re not just a bunch of old white guys sitting around writing this letter,” Mr. Williams, who is African-American, said. “It includes plenty of Black thinkers, Muslim thinkers, Jewish thinkers, people who are trans and gay, old and young, right wing and left wing. We believe these are values that are widespread and shared, and we wanted the list to reflect that,” he said....

There was particularly strong blowback over the inclusion of J.K. Rowling, who has come under fierce criticism over a series of comments widely seen as anti-transgender.

Emily VanDerWerff, a critic at large at Vox who is transgender, posted on Twitter a letter she said she had sent to her editors, criticizing the fact that the Vox writer Matthew Yglesias had signed the letter, which she said was also signed by “several prominent anti-trans voices” — but noted that she was not calling for Mr. Yglesias to be fired or reprimanded. Doing so “would only solidify, in his own mind, the belief that he is being martyred,” she wrote....
Ha. She would call for his firing, but it might give him too much — the sense of his own martyrdom.

Some other signatories are now backing away from the letter based on the other people who signed. They're afraid to stand with the "Harry Potter" author. They're afraid to sign a letter against cancel culture because it might lead to their being cancelled. They've seemingly never heard of the concept that we must all hang together or we will all hang separately. They want nothing to do with the famous author who's in the process of getting crushed to death. Wouldn't want to get splattered.

100 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Trans Genders Rule!

h said...

It's this kind of "stay in line" thinking from the left (from the left!!) that will drive me to vote for DJT in November.

Gunner said...

This pathetic Harpers letter is a glorious self-own of liberalism. I guess they needed more Republican bashing.

Lucien said...

It would be quite amusing to view this letter and its aftermath as a staged piece of performance art.

tim maguire said...

Richard Kim was smart in recognizing how irrational the cancel culture crowd is and that this would only cause blowback against the authors, but it's crappy of him to describe it as "trolling." I guess when you're smart and a coward, you know where to direct your insults.

The signers falling all over themselves to cave under the pressure ("I only supported free speech because I didn't understand who else was supporting free speech!") is funny. Very funny. I have nothing but disdain for them.

Sebastian said...

"They've seemingly never heard of the concept that we must all hang together or we will all hang separately."

I suspect they have, but realize that they are just as likely to be guillotined collectively.

Anyway, the basic error of the letter was to assume that intolerance is a bad thing. Every prog know it isn't. It just depends on who has the power to use it.

Ambrose said...

Wow, he could see all that in 90 seconds. Must be smart.

rcocean said...

I'm not sure what's meant by "Only troll the people it was allegedly was trying to reach". Who was it trying to reach? And why is that "trolling"?

I found the organizer's comment about it not being a bunch of "old white guys" because it has blah, blah, "Jewish Thinkers" - hilarious. It implies Jews aren't "White" and ignores the fact that Chomsky and many others who signed are old - very old.

Finally, I'm not too sure who was "Right wing" among the signers, but if Leftist Mrs. harry Potter is too "Hot" for them to handle, their definition of "Right wing" may be a little odd. Maybe he thinks Gary Wills is "right wing".

Nonapod said...

Such incidents, Mr. Williams said, both fueled and echoed what he called the far greater and more dangerous “illiberalism” of President Trump.

It's almost as if in the mind of the progressive intellectuals, all the current evil in the world eminates from one source and once source only: Donald Trump. Or at least, as we see here, Trump must be tied in to any sort of description of the current idea intolerance that is wreaking havoc in the elite liberal community. They can't just say that "We've got a problem here" without at least partially blaming Trump somehow. They need that release, that small relief from personal responsibility. Like an alcholic admitting that at some level, it's not really their fault. It's a disease after all.

Rick said...

They've seemingly never heard of the concept that we must all hang together or we will all hang separately.

Why conclude they don't know about this concept instead of that concluding they reject it? Isn't that your own pet peeve?

The better question is why they reject it. Since there is always some risk the mob will come for them there must be some benefit to outweigh that risk. Some do so because the risk of the other path is greater. But as you say if everyone did it together this would be eliminated. The other reason is because they want Rowling et al. hung even if it includes a risk they'll be hung themselves.

tcrosse said...

Mortgage payments doth make cowards of us all.

mezzrow said...

We get the culture we deserve, I suppose. I'll leave someone else to pull up the inevitable Auden quote.

It really wouldn't take that much courage in the light of history to stand against this, but we have no historical perspective and less courage at hand at present.

What must those people who faced real fascism and totalitarianism think of us at this time?

Michael K said...

I think of Deng Xiaoping with a dunce cap on his head during the Cultural Revolution.

He was lucky to survive. Robespierre was not. I wonder if any of these can see the future?

RNB said...

Appeasers crying to the crocodile not to be eaten. Or, at least, to be eaten last.

Kay said...

I’m not a fan of cancel culture, but if you’re someone who hates celebrities you can’t find it all bad.

JK Rowling took it from the evangelical right back in the 00’s and now she’s taking it from the left. If anyone can weather this storm it’s probably her.

Expat(ish) said...

There is literally not enough popcorn in the world.

Maybe if we stopped subsidizing ethanol we wouldn't run out during the Trump/Kanye/Empty-Chair debate in October.

-XC

PS - I know that the corn for popping and the corn for ethanol aren't the same, but work with me here.

BidenFamilyTaxPayerFundedCrackPipe said...

This woman was in a zoom meeting with other "educators" and one of the people in the meeting had a black child crawl up on his lap.

This is now considered "racist" by the angry mob leftwing brain-dead beehive.

SJW Rant

It hurts people if you are a whitey raising a black child. The left insist we stay separated.
The left demand racial segregation.
Someone should tell Madonna.

Automatic_Wing said...

Ah yes. These letter signers think they can tap the brakes - ever so lightly - on this our continually accelerating cultural revolution. And protect themselves with a rote disclaimer that the Orange Man is super bad and stuff. Well, good luck with that.

Churchy LaFemme: said...

Apparently it was a Blue Letter

Do I read a message in your eyes
You want to love to stay another night
Baby when you day goes down
I won't be waitin' around for you.

Sprezzatura said...

“She would call for his firing, but it might give him too much — the sense of his own martyrdom.”

Yesterday I saw this letter on Twitter.

I think Althouse is making a leap here. It’s just as easy (probably easier) to suggest that Emily didn’t want an Yglesias apology because that would make him feel like a martyr. It’s not certain that the martyrdom is re Matt being fired. Especially because the letter is weak re actually accusing Yglesias of much of anything substantive. The letter is about hurt feelings. Trans hurt feelings that are supposedly not necessarily fully recognized or deemed to be legit by others, like Matt.

MikeR said...

"Okay, I did not sign THE LETTER when I was asked 9 days ago, because I could see in 90 seconds that it was in favor of Freedom of Speech."

rehajm said...

It really wouldn't take that much courage in the light of history to stand against this, but we have no historical perspective and less courage at hand at present.

I concur, though it wouldn't take much to persuade me that many of us are just batshit crazy...

n.n said...

Transgender, trans-social, and, of course, transhuman are trendy... progressive religious dogma. Paradoxically, liberalism (i.e. divergence) is an ultraconservative ideology.

Jupiter said...

The Left has the universities and the corporations. They no longer need any "intellectuals", except for show trials.

YoungHegelian said...

Reaction is swift

Of course it is. No deviation from the Party Line can be permitted.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

How many black, Muslim, Jewish, gay, trans, old, young, left, right thinkers does it take to write a letter?

bagoh20 said...

I wonder how many words these "lunimaries" have uttered or written over the years that turn out to be complete bullshit when the actual challenge really appears. How many have they bullied with their right to free speech only to run away when the bulling turns back on them.

Courage remains the rarest virtue and the most valuable. It's the only thing that will save all that is worth saving. It can and does fail, and always due to scarcity.

AustinRoth said...

J.K.Rowling is hardly being crushed. Having a multi-billion dollar industry is what insulates her.

Do you really suppose her publishing house would cancel her and the revenue she provides? If they were that carven, do you further suppose no other publishing house would sign her?

Rick said...

He said there wasn’t one particular incident that provoked the letter. But he did cite several recent ones, including the resignation of more than half the board of the National Book Critics Circle

It's interesting they cite only recent events excluding James Damore of Google, Kevin Williamson of The Atlantic, Brendan Eich of Mozilla, Brett Weinstein of Evergreen State College, Laura Kipnis of Northwestern, and Nicholas and Erica Christakis of Yale among many others. This helps maintain the fiction this has anything to do with Trump.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, surely you weren't looking for moral courage among the left of center?

bagoh20 said...

Can you ever be what you most admire. The opportunity is finally here. It's scary, but exhilarating. What have you really got to lose. The bullies won't leave you anything anyway. They destroy indiscriminately, and simply move on, leaving you in the rubble. There is no new world with them, only more rubble, because they are not builders.

Sebastian said...

If I were asked to sign an open letter with Noam Chomsky, I'd consider hanging separately a serious option.

narciso said...

Xis own father didnt survive the cultural r3volution.

Kevin said...

There was particularly strong blowback over the inclusion of J.K. Rowling, who has come under fierce criticism over a series of comments widely seen as anti-transgender.

They're fighting intolerance.

Just not their own.

Spiros said...

"BLM and Antifa are disgusting, violent losers." Probably... But what happens if these bastards become fully and truly ostracized? I think they will turn to terrorism.

We don't have to pound these people into submission. Harper's demand for open debate among people with diverse interests and perspectives, including BLM and Antifa, is the way forward. Then negotiation and compromise. We can't just ignore the scumbags.

Danno said...

"Wouldn't want to get splattered."

That only happens to blacks in black neighborhoods in places like Chicago, where Black Lives Splatter is a more appropriate organization. BLM only concerns itself with blacks (I'm defying new AP guideline) that are shot by police, even when justified.

mandrewa said...

"JK Rowling took it from the evangelical right back in the 00’s and now she’s taking it from the left."

These things don't seem even remotely equivalent.

Disapproval from the left is isn't just disapproval it means you lose your income and your reputation. It means you're branded an enemy by the media and academia and often even the government. Or at least that's what it means for most people.

And what does disapproval from the evangelical right mean? Not much. It's simply a statement of what they are for or against. It means the evangelical right is taking a stand. And it's not even necessarily a bad thing for the target of it.

wendybar said...

The left is now eating their own. When even Noam Chomsky is worried about the left going nuts...you know there is trouble in Utopialand.

Fernandinande said...

NYT article

The first words of the first sentence are false; at least the nyt didn't waste any time getting down to business.

corn for ethanol

Seven Amerindians drank hand sanitizer containing methanol; 3 dead, one blind, 3 others critical. Critical of the hand sanitizer, I would guess.

Chris N said...

I sure do trust the folks at HuffPo to curate freedom of thought, speech and the arts.

Sam L. said...

I despise, detest, and distrust the NYT. The WaPoo, too.

Gahrie said...

How long until they start burning heretics at the stake again?

gilbar said...

BleachBit-and-Hammers posted a link with a...

SJW Rant
It hurts people if you are a whitey raising a black child. The left insist we stay separated.


Having watched BB&H's link, i have a Serious Question:
WHY do these Karen's think that they NEED TO YELL?
do they think that it makes them more persuasive?
do they think it makes us know that they are ANGRY?
do they Even Know that they are doing it?

Speaking as a person with Anger Issues; i can tell you, from personal experience, that things go BETTER if you use your indoor voice

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

God, I love this. As I've said before, the Left is crumbling, not rising. And the absolutely crazy thing is that they're doing it with no pressure or involvement from the Right.

These people can't stand themselves.

hawkeyedjb said...

We've reached a danger zone in this country. We still officially have Free Speech, as the 1st Amendment prevents the government from censoring or punishing based on viewpoint. But every other institution in society is not so prevented, and most of them will gleefully take on the task of ruining anyone who deviates even a degree from the Groupthink. There is a horrifying story making the rounds of a young woman who finds her acceptance at Marquette University in danger because she is a Trump supporter. This is awful, something akin to the wasted lives that resulted from the Cultural Revolution in China. And there is absolutely no countervailing power to arrest this sickening trend. The leftists will achieve what they want, which is getting rid of free speech, without ever touching the 1st Amendment.

Because Diversity requires that we all think exactly the same.

Fernandinande said...

Mr. Williams, who is African-American

Williams is a mulatto.

Original Mike said...

The liberal/left is perversely obsessed with what's in other people's head.

PM said...

What is a culture reporter? Is that some kind of lab worker?

Original Mike said...

"What must those people who faced real fascism and totalitarianism think of us at this time?"

They know where we're headed.

William said...

Charles I, just before execution, addressed the crowd. "If they can do this to me, your anointed King, think what they can do to you". If they can marginalize J.K.Rowling, think what they can do to Matt Yglesias.....There was a recent article in The New Yorker about Flannery O'Connor. O'Connor's published writings are not racist, but in her letters and diaries, she expressed reservations about integration and used the dreaded n-word. The writer of the article claimed that it was time to re-evaluate O'Connor's literary status.....I wonder how it is these unacknowledged legislators of the world do not realize how foolish they look.... This really does look like an exceptionally slippery slope. I'm reading the memoirs of Madame de Stael. She hoped to escape Napoleon's censors by writing a book about German literature and thought. Nonethelss, the galley proofs were confiscated and destroyed. The reason? She had written a book about German thought without mentioning the salubrious effect Napoleon had had on German thought.....It's past time to ban Rowling's books. So far a I know, she has not created one transgendered character in the Harry Potter world. Silence is violence. This is why transgendered people are subject to such abuse.

John Borell said...

Losers. The whole fucking bunch of them.

Losers for signing the letter.

Losers for backing away from it.

James Graham said...

"Thomas Chatterton Williams"

What would the late Jimmy Breslin write when encountering that name?

robother said...

Wonder if Robespierre argued at his trial that cancelling him was taking it too far, and that such extremism would jeopardize the Revolution ideals he shared with the executioners?

Shorter version: Cancel him, cancel her, cancel the guy behind the tree, just don't cancel ME!

ndspinelli said...

Michelle Goldberg was in a debate vs. Jordan Peterson/Stephen Fry where she took the pro PC stance. She is apparently confused.

Francisco D said...

Some other signatories are now backing away from the letter based on the other people who signed. They're afraid to stand with the "Harry Potter" author. They're afraid to sign a letter against cancel culture because it might lead to their being cancelled.

It sounds like they had a brief moment of clarity and courage, but it didn't last very long.

They should have taken the red pill.

gerry said...

No deviation from the Party Line can be permitted.

In the REALLY good old days, a Party member had to know what the Party policy was before the policy existed.

Wait - that's true of Cancel Culture now, isn't it? Wow! These are the good old days!

mccullough said...

Some of these cowards are now backpedaling because Trump’s speech last week shit all over Cancel Culture.

If Trump is against it, they are for it.

Howard said...

Oh, the humility

MadisonMan said...

It's a Trap!

Doug said...

This is going to be fun. "Who's there wokest of us all?".
Hope this devolves into an "am too - are not" contest quickly.

The Drill SGT said...

Kay said...
JK Rowling took it from the evangelical right back in the 00’s and now she’s taking it from the left. If anyone can weather this storm it’s probably her.


It helps, as the brits would say, to have lots of brass.

The Drill SGT said...

So far a I know, she has not created one transgendered character in the Harry Potter world. Silence is violence. This is why transgendered people are subject to such abuse.

I don't know. I thought Ron in his dress robes was a bit poofy :)

Clyde said...

It’s not that they oppose having jackboots stomping on human faces, as long as they get to be the jackboots.

BidenFamilyTaxPayerFundedCrackPipe said...

Cancel CULTure is so vast and wide on the LEFT, to point out it's misery and eventual boomerang will only get fellow travelers on the left... canceled.

So they cowardly run and hide.

MD Greene said...

These clods have abandoned classic liberalism for the comforts of an echo chamber, and they don't even seem to know it.

They're like middle school girls who text each other (not now, but bear with me) each morning to find out what the cool kids are wearing to school today.

Not a good look for self-styled intellectuals.



Kay said...

mandrewa said...
"JK Rowling took it from the evangelical right back in the 00’s and now she’s taking it from the left."

These things don't seem even remotely equivalent.

Disapproval from the left is isn't just disapproval it means you lose your income and your reputation. It means you're branded an enemy by the media and academia and often even the government. Or at least that's what it means for most people.

And what does disapproval from the evangelical right mean? Not much. It's simply a statement of what they are for or against. It means the evangelical right is taking a stand. And it's not even necessarily a bad thing for the target of it.
7/8/20, 11:10 AM


Don’t disagree with most of what you wrote but I also vividly remember the attempts to censor Rowling in the 00’s and these came mostly from the right.

Birkel said...

The concern is that Trump will be re-elected because people do not want officially sanctioned Democratic rioting and vandalism.

This is about calming the waters for Democratics.

stutefish said...

Atwood and Marsalis are "luminaries"?

Also: "Emily VanDerWerff, a critic at large at Vox who is transgender,"

Isn't the whole point of accepting transsexuals that we *not* draw attention to their transition? Here's Emily trying to be thought of as a woman, and the luminaries* Jennifer Schuessler and Elizabeth Harris making sure we all understand she was actually a man once.

---
*"Luminaries" meaning, "rando NYT stringers".

Lem said...

fatuous, self-important drivel...

Link

Butkus51 said...

They're still the scorpion. Trust them at your peril.

NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

They wanted to be persecuted so bad, and now they are. And they aren't nearly as brave as they thought.

Alex said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your next write ups thanks once again.
I Need Help With My Homework Now

Amadeus 48 said...

The concept of schadenfreud was invented to cover situations like this:
1. Althouse staked out the ground that this whole thing should be suspect because for 40 years or more the left has been trying to squash the legitimacy of the right making its arguments in public. The signers act like it is a recent phenomenon.
2. Some guy who thinks he’s a girl is in a huff because Matty likes JK or something. I don’t know...I left high school in 1966.
3. We could just let people blabber away. Here’s a pro tip: the Bolshies and the Nazis did what they did because they were brutal thugs who purged their opponents and crushed dissent— the not because they were masters of propaganda. They used propaganda to brag and intimidate their opposition after they had acted. We are seeing no-hopers on the left trying to use propaganda. Are they ready to act? They started to act in the George Floyd riots which were masked by the George Floyd protests. We should also act. Support and improve the police.
4. I think people on the left are going to be increasingly uncomfortable with what they are supporting. JK and Matty sitting in a tree; k-i-ss-i-n-g. Does anyone really care that some transgender type is outraged? So what? I am outraged that that person is outraged.

Martin said...

There used to be a saying that a liberal is a person who won't take his own side in a fight.

They lost me with the deranged statement that Trump is the real threat to free speech. They cannot make common cause with people who could be their allies on this issue, because empty virtue signalling is more important than preserving their own rights.

Really pathetic.

BidenFamilyTaxPayerFundedCrackPipe said...

The collective left will say nothing as their brethren shove Jews into ovens... just don't shove the collective left in there.

bagoh20 said...

"Don’t disagree with most of what you wrote but I also vividly remember the attempts to censor Rowling in the 00’s and these came mostly from the right."

Possibly it seemed like that, but I don't remember any significant threat to her career from the Right. That power is really something the Right just doesn't and hasn't possessed for a long time. When people get cancelled, censored, fired, and scared of what they say or have said, it always comes from the Left. Even sexual infractions don't become a real threat to anyone's career until the Left gets on board with it. The Right can jawbone all they want, but nobody gets fired, indicted, or cancelled until the Left wants it too.

The Left has lately become so quick to cancel that the Right can't even get a shot at it. That can be satisfying to watch from the Right, but it is not a good development, and the vast majority of Americans should see that as the evil it is.



Michael K said...

Isn't the whole point of accepting transsexuals that we *not* draw attention to their transition? Here's Emily trying to be thought of as a woman,

No, of course not. They are like vegans. Wait 230 seconds and they will tell you.

One of the few trans-sexuals that is not crazy, in my opinion, is Deirdre McCloskey who wrote this book, but she/he has written about the heartbreak of this decision. Very unhappy with it.

Unknown said...

"...the famous author who's in the process of getting crushed to death."

Is that happening?

I haven't followed the play-by-play, but I have always assumed that if the entire cancel culture faced off against J. K Rowling, they wouldn't stand a chance.

What is the score, now?

Known Unknown said...

=A BLUE LETTER YOU SAY?!?

Rick said...

The Drill SGT said...
It helps, as the brits would say, to have lots of brass.


She has FU money, not brass.

n.n said...

This is about calming the waters for Democratics.

Yes, a Trojan horse, a burden in utero, civility bullshit.

mikee said...

Isn't something quite like this petitions signing kerfuffle a subplot in the movie Mean Girls? Or am I thinking of some other high school movie?

Lem said...

He didn't sign the letter out of fear of being cancelled himself.

stevew said...

They thought about, discussed, and worked over some amount of time to compose this letter. It is thoughtful, and thought provoking. To me it is uncontroversial. Now that it is published the letter and its authors and signatories are under critical fire. Did they think that everyone would look at the list of "luminaries" that signed it and respond with, 'Well, ok then, this is all perfectly fine and correct!'? Having spent all this time and energy creating it, why are they so quick to abandon it?

Looks like these Elite folks are not so good at making and defending a cultural and political argument and point of view.

BUMBLE BEE said...

Here is a black man with a white baby in his arms...
https://www.breitbart.com/local/2020/07/08/video-ex-wide-receiver-catches-child-thrown-burning-building/
Semper Fi

Paco Wové said...

"making sure we all understand she was actually a man once."

He's still a man. A mentally disturbed man.

Phil 314 said...

"Some other signatories are now backing away from the letter based on the other people who signed."

Chicken

Shit

gbarto said...

I grew up in a small, conservative town. I know people who would have canceled JK Rowling if only they had been able. The left is most guilty today because they have the most power over the culture. But now is a good time to get the right firmly on the record in favor of free speech because one day when they are ascendant there will be some among their number who think it's their turn to censor. It is worth remembering that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The one thing true conservatives must never forget is that human nature does not change, not even theirs, and we must therefore always be on guard against ourselves and our fellows as much as against our enemies.

JackOfClubs said...

J.K. Rowling's comments were not "widely seen as anti-transgender". The criticism is narrow both in terms of quantities of persons doing the criticizing and in terms of the vision of acceptable discourse they are willing to allow. It has been widely publicized but, unless the press are willing to admit they are among the critics and not just neutral reporters, this does not constitute widespread criticism. Most of the furor is from people who are just unthinkingly repeating what they believe is the expected response, usually without actually quoting the comments (as above) which are alleged to be offensive.

hawkeyedjb said...

"But now is a good time to get the right firmly on the record in favor of free speech..."

I know of nobody in favor of free speech who isn't a conservative or libertarian.

wildswan said...

JK Rowling has a whole series of books written under the name Robert Galbraith and they have been best-sellers. The scene is elite, celebrity culture in England. I find these books fascinating but they are so dark that I have to rest in between reading them. Anyhow there's more to JK Rowling than Harry Potter (not that I didn't like Harry Potter) and she is the kind of author that writes a book in 2013 that helps you understand 2020. You can see why the so-called elite are supporting BLM - blackmail matters. But it won't hold off the reckoning. What 1929 was to the stock market, 2020 will be to the cultural elite.

wildswan said...

JK Rowling has a whole series of books written under the name Robert Galbraith and they have been best-sellers. The scene is elite, celebrity culture in England. I find these books fascinating but they are so dark that I have to rest in between reading them. Anyhow there's more to JK Rowling than Harry Potter (not that I didn't like Harry Potter) and she is the kind of author that writes a book in 2013 that helps you understand 2020. You can see why the so-called elite are supporting BLM - blackmail matters. But it won't hold off the reckoning. What 1929 was to the stock market, 2020 will be to the cultural elite.

ken in tx said...

I don't see the modern left as a party with a party line. There's no politburo or general secretary issuing orders. They are more a seething mass of crab-like creatures pulling one another down back into the mass or chopping some of them up randomly just because they can.

GingerBeer said...

"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," they write. "The restriction of debate, whether by a repressive government or an intolerant society, invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less capable of democratic participation." I thought that was the whole point.

Bob said...

Re: crushed to death. In Tudor/Stuart England, those accused of crimes were expected to plead either guilty or not guilty. If found guilty, their lands and possessions became the property of the Crown. One could avoid losing one's property by refusing to plead either guilty or not guilty - - standing mute. If the accused chose to stand mute, they could be pressed to death - - stretched out on the floor and heavy weights placed on their body until they died from suffocation or broken bones (the ribcage, thus rupturing the internal organs). The accused would be just as dead as if he had pled guilty, but his family retained their lands and wealth, an important consideration to a wealthy family.

Rowling's situation is closer to that of Spain during the days of the Inquisition - - she has committed heresy and must be punished publicly in an auto-da-fe. In Spain this was done by burning, but the whole spectacle of an auto-da-fe lasted an entire day, with the accused heretics paraded to the public square wearing a special robe called a Sanbenito, their crimes listed on a board worn around their neck. They were forced to make a public confession, after which they were punished as the Inquisition had ordered - - by burning, or garrote, or on rare occasions even released.

JPS said...

gbarto,

"The left is most guilty today because they have the most power over the culture."

Great point. A lot of otherwise open-minded people on the center-left think authoritarianism is an inherently right-wing trait. (See also, "We've come to expect this from the right....") Whereas I'd say it's found there, and in at least equal abundance on the left, and we all notice the wind more when it's in our face than at our backs.

"But now is a good time to get the right firmly on the record in favor of free speech because one day when they are ascendant there will be some among their number who think it's their turn to censor."

Absolutely. And I'm embarrassed to admit, I'm probably much sounder on free speech now that I know beyond doubt I'd be hounded out of my field if I gave my unvarnished views on the events of the day; not on substance, but for failing to applaud long enough at certain points the left is most exercised about.

"It is worth remembering that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Too many nowadays prefer the John Lehman version, "Power corrupts, but absolute power is kind of neat."

Jamie said...

I'm probably much sounder on free speech now that I know beyond doubt I'd be hounded out of my field if I gave my unvarnished views on the events of the day; not on substance, but for failing to applaud long enough at certain points the left is most exercised about.

I'd like to tell myself that I've always felt as strongly about free speech as I do right now, and I do think it's true that I have always, all my life, considered it a foundational value worthy of a robust defense. But I have to agree that real life at the moment has given me ample reason to consider what that robust defense might need to be.

And the truth is, I'm not ready to provide that defense. Is our retirement money in a place where They can't touch it? Are my kids sufficiently schooled in how to keep their heads down, especially the one who's graduated and in the workforce? What exactly did I post, back when I was doing FB and had an openly conservative blog post-9/11? Now that we all know the real, terrible consequences of expressing an unpopular view (or even just appearing lukewarm about a popular one), I feel I have to think of the consequences before I speak up. Not only do I not want to be cancelled myself, since I'm not independently wealthy, but others in my life are also vulnerable if I speak. This is, of course, the plan.

I am not likely to catch anyone's notice. But my husband is now working in the belly of the beast after a career in oil and gas, and he's not as careful as I think he needs to be about what he says. I think he probably will be cancelled eventually - and all I can do is try to communicate to him that when he finally says whatever he's going to say that's going to bring down the mob on him, it had better be worth it to him... and then I have to back him up.

Bruce Hayden said...

“Mr. Williams, who is African-American”

“Williams is a mulatto.”

Barack Obama was mulatto, which meant that his kids were too. If Barack Obama Sr were his father, he was 50/50, but if he had other paternity, his Black blood may have been <50%. Black models and actors often tend to be mulatto too. That’s because under their skin color, they tend to have whiter features, that are more attractive to a white (and Asian) audience.

JAORE said...

Yeah, I signed it. But I didn't sign it for the clear meaning of the letter. I signed it because I thought only the the GOOD people signed it.

My God, have words lost all meaning to these (lefty) people.

Largo said...

JAORE wins the thread.