I’ve always disliked the phrase “I told you so”. It reeks of bitterness wrapped in arrogance, especially coming from a young person. Yet I don’t see any other way to encapsulate my frustration with the recent open letter from Harper’s American magazine titled “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate”.
Signed by over 150 writers, intellectuals, journalists, historians and academics, the letter generally advocates for a culture that encourages open debate and greater tolerance towards differing opinions.
I think Bridget Phetasy put it best:
To everyone who signed The Letter: Welcome to the alt right.
Notably, among those signatures were Harry Potter novelist J.K. Rowling, Noam Chomsky, Margaret Atwood, David Frum, and co-founder of Vox.com Matthew Yglesias.
As expected, it didn’t take long for many of these signatories to walk back their involvement. Guilt by association is alive and well in 2020 cancel culture, with many apologising for being unaware of some of the other signatories.
Jennifer Finney Boylan indicated ignorance on her part in saying, “I did not know who else had signed that letter… I am so sorry.”
I did not know who else had signed that letter. 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.
In Matthew Yglesias’ case, he was berated for associating with a letter full of transphobes, supposedly like J.K. Rowling who recently landed in hot water for declaring that there are only 2 biological sexes. An uncontroversial statement, according to former sex researcher Debra Soh.
Yet a full mea culpa is offered as Yglesias declares “I have committed to not doing contentious stuff on Twitter anymore”.
I have committed to not doing contentious stuff on Twitter anymore, so I seriously can’t comment on this and would appreciate being taken out of the thread.
So to you J.K. Rowling and those that signed this letter, I would like to say: “Time was your ally but now it has abandoned you.” The window of opportunity you had to shut cancel culture down was vast, and the perception that it was closing was blatantly clear. Yet here we are.
How many conservatives and provocateurs did you watch get purged from social media platforms over the last four years? Most of you have stood idly by and watched or even threw stones when the mob came for the free speech of others outside and in your professions.
So no, I don’t welcome your washed-down, apologetically-worded letter. Nor do I respect the fact that many of you are distancing yourself from it as the infernal purge continues.
The numerous cancellations in recent weeks have reminded me of the protests against former professor at Evergreen College, Bret Weinstein, back in September 2017. Bret was a vocal critic of an Evergreen State College event that asked white students to leave campus to highlight the historical wrongs against ‘coloured America’.
Bret Weinstein attempting to reason with a crowd at Evergreen State College:
It may be presumptive of me, but I believe that Bret would be in agreement with me when I say to the signatories of this letter, “Welcome to the party pal. What took you so long?”
We need to put an end to this ‘unwinnable game’, as Douglas Murray puts it in the Madness of Crowds.
Everyone can be cancelled for at least one aspect about themselves. Even though my immigrant parents and grandparents are walking examples of successful integration, I will still be cancelled and called a racist for advocating for less immigration to allow for our infrastructure to catch up.
So how do we solve this “circular firing squad”, as Barack Obama put it in April 2019?
If 50% of people get cancelled, then it will nullify the concept of being banned, because everyone else is also deemed persona non grata.
If wisdom is the ability to understand consequences and courage is the ability to point them out, I think it’s safe to say that our society has a severe courage deficit after recounting the events surrounding this open letter.
So if you’re looking to find the bastions of free speech and open discourse, do not look to academia — you will be sorely disappointed as I was.
We need your help. The continued existence of the Daily Declaration depends on the generosity of readers like you. Donate now. The Daily Declaration is committed to keeping our site free of advertising so we can stay independent and continue to stand for the truth.
Fake news and big-tech censorship make the work of the Canberra Declaration and our Christian news site the Daily Declaration more important than ever. Take a stand for family, faith, freedom, life, and truth. Support us as we shine a light in the darkness. Donate today.
Activists within the pro-LGBT Methodist Church claimed Edwards’ words “distressed” co-workers. They accused the father of five of engaging in behaviour that “was extremely damaging”, arguing that he was also potentially hurting the organisation’s “business plan”.
Louise Elliot’s uphill battle against LGBT lawfare puts all Australians on notice. We either fund the fight for fundamental God-given freedoms, or lose them forever. The Hobart City Councillor is one of nine Australian women who have been punished after speaking truth to trans-falsehoods.
One does not expect that we should get all of our information and knowledge about important world events from young European females who are often featured in the media. BUT, if I had to choose between the two of them, I know which one I would rather run with.