Old School Left Calls For End To Cancel Culture Of The New McCarthyist Left - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15106114
A Letter on Justice and Open Debate

July 7, 2020
The below letter will be appearing in the Letters section of the magazine’s October issue. We welcome responses at [email protected]

Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial. Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts. But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity. As we applaud the first development, we also raise our voices against the second. The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy. But resistance must not be allowed to harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion—which right-wing demagogues are already exploiting. The democratic inclusion we want can be achieved only if we speak out against the intolerant climate that has set in on all sides.

The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. 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. We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But 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. Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes. Whatever the arguments around each particular incident, the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal. 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.

This stifling atmosphere will ultimately harm the most vital causes of our time. 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. The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away. We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom, which cannot exist without each other. 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. If we won’t defend the very thing on which our work depends, we shouldn’t expect the public or the state to defend it for us.

Full letter and list of signatories.


The signatories include J.K. Rowling, Noam Chosmky, Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood, amongst many others. The racial hysteria of the intolerant left has reached the point where statues are being toppled, films are being sanitized and classic books are on the cusp of being banned. Kneeling has become a ritual sign of mass submission and attempts at rewriting the history of the USA are already underway (1619 project).

Trump Derangement Syndrome has driven an entire segment of the establishment to self-combust and betray all of its own values. It's turning into the very monster that it maniacally accuses Trump of being.
#15106121
The Sabbaticus wrote:
Trump Derangement Syndrome has driven an entire segment of the establishment to self-combust and betray all of its own values. It's turning into the very monster that it maniacally accuses Trump of being.



I don't think they are trying to become dictators.

They have a point. But... (you knew that was coming) we are in an era of transition. Such things can be quite unpleasant. Like the Civil War, for example.

So lets chew it over. Blacks are trying to get assimilated. I lived through Italians getting assimilated in the 70s, man, that was annoying. Seemed like they were on the news complaining all the time.

But, we got through it.

The authors don't want this to upset their apple cart, and who could blame them. But this looks like a number of disparate influences slamming together in the same moment. The kids are discovering politics, Blacks are not happy about being both chewed up and ignored. The public is afraid because of the virus and the economy.

Not even going to try and predict where it all winds up. But, to quote a very old movie, "fasten your safety belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride".
#15106138
The Sabbaticus wrote:The signatories include J.K. Rowling, Noam Chosmky, Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood, amongst many others. The racial hysteria of the intolerant left has reached the point where statues are being toppled, films are being sanitized and classic books are on the cusp of being banned. Kneeling has become a ritual sign of mass submission and attempts at rewriting the history of the USA are already underway (1619 project).

Trump Derangement Syndrome has driven an entire segment of the establishment to self-combust and betray all of its own values. It's turning into the very monster that it maniacally accuses Trump of being.


I don't see Zizeks name here, weirdly enough he has always been the most vocal about this from the left.
#15106182
Bari Weiss who tried to get Prof Joseph Massad fired from teaching at Colombia University for being pro-Palestine being amongst the signatories can tell you all you need to know about this joke of a letter.

Leftists (socialists/communists) have been laughing their asses off at the letter this week. It is a deserved response.
#15106332
skinster wrote:Bari Weiss who tried to get Prof Joseph Massad fired from teaching at Colombia University for being pro-Palestine being amongst the signatories can tell you all you need to know about this joke of a letter.

Leftists (socialists/communists) have been laughing their asses off at the letter this week. It is a deserved response.


Only the young ones that fail to see Noam Chomsky also signed it. So to real socialists/communists its no joke, only to Millenial socialists who haven't yet grown up more.

#15106341
skinster wrote:Not really sure what this means.


Chomsky still has a shitload of supporters on your side of the political spectrum. And he signed it. So alot of older Socialists and Communists took the letter seriously regardless of the right-leaning signatories(basically intended as a Bi-partisan letter)

Seems to be left-leaning Millenial youngsters who are laughing at it. The same people the letter is basically criticizing.
#15106352
Sorry, it looks like this is a *cross-class* issue:



Tricky identity politics

The array of signatures is actually more troubling than reassuring. If we lived in a more just world, some of those signing – like Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W Bush, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former US State Department official – would be facing a reckoning before a Hague war crimes tribunal for their roles in promoting “interventions” in Iraq and Libya respectively, not being held up as champions of free speech.



https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2020 ... ee-speech/
#15106354
It's not happening. An entire generation of people have a section whom have degrees in nothing besides why to cancel others. Their degrees are basically not good for anything else. What else are they going to do besides form mobs on social media and try to cancel people? They're literally doing as they were trained.
#15106361
Wulfschilde wrote:
It's not happening. An entire generation of people have a section whom have degrees in nothing besides why to cancel others. Their degrees are basically not good for anything else. What else are they going to do besides form mobs on social media and try to cancel people? They're literally doing as they were trained.




[A proportion of those signing] are not against the big cancel culture from which they have benefited for so long. They are against the small cancel culture – the new more chaotic, and more democratic, media environment we currently enjoy – in which they are for the first time being held to account for their views, on a range of issues including Israel.

Just as Weiss tried to get professors fired under the claim of academic freedom, many of these writers and public figures are using the banner of free speech to discredit speech they don’t like, speech that exposes the hollowness of their own positions.

Their criticisms of “cancel culture” are really about prioritising “responsible” speech, defined as speech shared by centrists and the right that shores up the status quo. They want a return to a time when the progressive left – those who seek to disrupt a manufactured consensus, who challenge the presumed verities of neoliberal and neoconservative orthodoxy – had no real voice.



https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2020 ... ee-speech/
#15106382
wat0n wrote:
It's good, but Chomsky and others bear responsibility for the rise of this leftist iteration of anti-free speech. Feed crows and they will eat your eyes.

Still, just as McCarthyism didn't last forever, neither will this. My guess is that if Biden wins, this will begin to be held up to much more serious scrutiny.




Wall Street, Republicans and militarists back Biden campaign

By Patrick Martin
9 July 2020

Anyone who wants to know what type of policies will be pursued by a Biden administration in the event the Democrats win the November 3 presidential election has only to look at the social and political forces that are rallying to his campaign. They include Wall Street, prominent Republicans and veterans of the Obama national security team.



https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/0 ... e-j09.html
#15106767
colliric wrote:Chomsky still has a shitload of supporters on your side of the political spectrum. And he signed it. So alot of older Socialists and Communists took the letter seriously regardless of the right-leaning signatories(basically intended as a Bi-partisan letter)


I don't know any socialist/communist who took the letter seriously but feel free to share who these are. Also, Chomsky is no fan of communism and is increasingly viewed as a gatekeeper for neoliberalism. It is accepted he's done lots of excellent work too, but this is by the by.

Seems to be left-leaning Millenial youngsters who are laughing at it. The same people the letter is basically criticizing.


The letter could make sense if it had examples of what it's talking about, or didn't have signatories that spent much internet time attacking people for their politics, e.g. Bari Weiss or JK Rowling, the neocons etc.

The letter was stupid. These people are mad because their ideas are now openly criticized and instead of defending their arguments, they're crying that they're being silenced (something that's not happening). All these people with massive platforms are being silenced. :lol: Sure. Tell that to Steve Salaita or Norman Finkelstein who academic careers were lost because of their politics in speaking for the oppressed.
#15106769
@ckaihatsu ;

This is nothing new. These people;


https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/0 ... e-j09.html

Aren't much different in essence than the nexus of people around President Trump. People oddly enough would be shocked-if the media reported honestly-at how a Biden Presidency (there won't be one, but still...) would resemble ''Trump 2.0'' more than anything else.
#15106779
I've yet to form an opinion about "cancel culture". I've spent the last few days learning about it and I feel that I still don't grasp it fully. I appreciate the discussions here regarding it, anyhow.

A Letter on Justice and Open Debate

Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial. Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts. But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity. As we applaud the first ¨development, we also raise our voices against the second. The forces of iliberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy. But resistance must not be allowed to harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion—which right-wing demagogues are already exploiting. The democratic inclusion we want can be achieved only if we speak out against the intolerant climate that has set in on all sides.


Any gains of iliberalism, any weakening of "democracy", lies on the doorstep of liberalism. Its failure in the very first place. We know of the growing right-wing political forces in the world today, there was always going to be a response.

The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. 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. We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But 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. Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes. Whatever the arguments around each particular incident, the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal. 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.


Blinding moral certainty, yes, that would be nice. Not a luxury for many, or almost anyone anywhere. I remember the certainties of the 90's. Those have crumbled, replaced by a grim reminder that our world can not escape its history.

This stifling atmosphere will ultimately harm the most vital causes of our time. 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. The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away. We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom, which cannot exist without each other. 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. If we won’t defend the very thing on which our work depends, we shouldn’t expect the public or the state to defend it for us.


You do seem to want the public defend it for you. I guess now is the time to use some of that "exposure, argument, and persuasion" instead of just "a vogue for public shaming and ostracism".
Last edited by MadMonk on 12 Jul 2020 00:15, edited 1 time in total.
#15106781
Black Consequense wrote:I never cared for Harry Potter but the left made me want to buy the collector addition. She literally didn't say anything wrong and they threaten to kill her, so I'll say something: Transwomen are counterfeit women.


Trans women are trans women. We shouldn't treat them exactly like genetic women because they aren't genetically the same, but we should treat them with respect because they're human beings.
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