X Close

Why won’t liberals defend liberalism? The woke threat to liberty is not a fringe issue — and people with mainstream opinions are in the firing line

Expelliarmus! J.K. Rowling has received little support from fellow liberals. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Expelliarmus! J.K. Rowling has received little support from fellow liberals. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)


June 30, 2020   6 mins

Cancel culture has yet to be cancelled. In fact, it’s never been busier and no one is safe. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich and famous, or poor and unheard of, you too can be a target. In fact, it doesn’t matter whether you meant to offend anybody — if enough people are offended, or claim to be, you can lose your privacy, your reputation or your job. Even being dead is no guarantee. If there’s some sort of monument to your memory then that too is fair game.

It should be stressed that cancel culture is not the exclusive preserve of the woke Left. Performative offence-taking is something that can be engaged in by persons of just about any ideological persuasion.

However, if you see a reasoned complaint about cancel culture, then it’s probably coming from a conservative or libertarian point of view. On the other side of the ‘culture war’, liberals have rather less to say about this matter.

Which is odd, because in many ways they have more to lose. While conservatives are already alienated from modernity, and libertarians dream of a future that hasn’t happened yet, liberals are living in the world that they built. Our cultural infrastructure may have roots in pre-modernity, but today most of it is run by liberals — and has been for decades. It’s not called liberal democracy for nothing.

As radicals exploit the crisis-filled moment to continue their march through the institutions, it is liberal values that are under attack — like free speech, fairness, equality and reason.

So why aren’t the partisans of the Enlightenment rallying against the statue topplers — and the other manifestations of cancel culture? The liberal grandees of the commentariat seem remarkably unalarmed by recent events. Some of them, like Matthew Parris, in a recent piece for The Spectator, emphasise the upside.

*

At this point I should point to some honourable exceptions. For instance, impeccably liberal writers like Janice Turner of The Times who speak out against the “tiny, intolerant minority” that “is dictating public policy which the vast majority of us abhor”:

“Where will the righteous anger train stop next? When will we know that ‘progress’ is finally achieved? When every member of every public body utters the required line? When every associate of JK Rowling is shamed? When every corporation is scared into compliance?”

Turner isn’t the only one. There are others, including some who aren’t just liberal but firmly on the Left, who have taken a stand. However, they often pay a price for doing so — becoming othered and isolated from the bien pensant mainstream. The feminists smeared as ‘TERFs’, for instance. Or the defenders of academic freedom associated with Quillette magazine. Or the Remain supporters, like Caroline Flint, who resisted the undemocratic attempt to overturn the referendum result.

Though these all continue to believe the things that placed them firmly in the non-conservative camp, they’ve become defined by their dissent. That’s not because liberalism and wokeness are the same thing (they aren’t), but because liberals who expose the differences find that their fellow liberals refuse to stand with them. It’s not that such solidarity would require full agreement, just a defence of the right to disagree.

So why the passivity? It maybe that mainstream liberals perceive the woke threat to be an exaggeration — perhaps an outright invention of the populist Right. If the calling-out of bigotry does occasionally tip over into cancel culture then any excess is the work of irrelevant fringe. And, anyway, where’s the harm? Will democracy be irreparably damaged if the likes of Katie Hopkins are kicked off Twitter?

Except that cancel culture goes so much further than any of that. This issue is about what is happening within mainstream institutions — and what is being done to people with mainstream views.

Look at what happened to James Bennet, who was, until recently, a well-regarded comment editor at the New York Times. He was forced out after internal ructions a few weeks ago. The controversy was over the paper’s publication of  an op-ed by Tom Cotton, a Republican Senator. It happened at the height of the unrest in several American cities — and Cotton argued for “an overwhelming show of force” to restore order. It was a hawkish piece, but one that drew a distinction between a “majority who seek to protest peacefully” and “bands of miscreants.” Nevertheless, that was too much viewpoint diversity for the paper’s activist-employees — and Bennet had to go.

It’s not only editors who need to watch their step. Columnists too are in danger. In March, Suzanne Moore of The Guardian wrote in defence of Selina Todd, an Oxford professor who was de-platformed for wrongthink on trans issues. Moore soon found herself facing an intense campaign of criticism. This included a condemnatory letter whose signatories included several of her own Guardian colleagues. Buzzfeed News reported on a further letter, this one apparently signed by hundreds of Guardian staff. Unlike James Bennet, this insider pile-on did not force Moore out. Still one doesn’t have to achieve a full cancellation to make others think twice before defying the party line.

Not that one has to be a public figure to be targeted. Earlier this month, the Washington Post decided to run a major story (getting on for 3,000 words of it) about a fancy dress party that happened two years ago. This was deemed newsworthy because a party guest had covered her face in black make-up. According to the article, the costume was intended as a satire on people thinking that wearing blackface is OK. The guest quickly regretted her decision and apologised for it. Nevertheless she was subsequently tracked down, named and ended up losing her job. Justin Trudeau is still in his though.

Another recent example is the bizarre story of how David Shor, a political data analyst whose work has contributed to Democrat election campaigns, got cancelled. His offence? Tweeting about research by a black academic showing how, in 1968, peaceful protests increased the Democratic vote while riots reduced it. For this, he was accused by members of his professional peer group of ‘anti-blackness’ and other affronts. His employers, a progressive data analytics company, fired him — though for reasons why are disputed. You can read more about this Kafkaesque tale here and here.

Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, we’ve had the Booker Prize Foundation’s cancellation of its honorary vice-president Baroness Nicholson, (see Janice Turner’s article for more). And also Graham Linehan, of Father Ted fame, getting banned from Twitter (trans transgressions, again).

So, no, it’s not just right-wingers who get cancelled. If they do or say the wrong thing — or merely do or say it in the wrong way — progressives can also find themselves in trouble. Indeed, on the principle of pour encourager les autres, liberals make the ideal cancellees.

*

Perhaps that’s the real reason why liberals are reluctant to speak-up — they’re afraid they’ll be next. As Winston Churchill said about appeasers, “each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last”.

What can liberals do to defend liberal values while standing clear of the snapping jaws? Well, one thing they could do is to name their ‘woke breaking point’ — to state publicly how much woke is too much. Think about it in terms of statues. It’s one thing to object to a monument to a slave trader (I’d certainly hate to have one in my town), but how much further would you want either the illegal topplings or the official removals to go? Where do you say ‘thus far and no further’? Should Churchill be safe? Gandhi too? I’ll admit this is fast becoming a clichéd question, but it does demand an answer — especially from those who fancy themselves cultural arbiters.

For commentators who believe that the woke threat has been exaggerated there is surely no risk. Either they are right and their lines in the sand will never be breached — or they are wrong, in which case they’d surely want to defend their liberal values. If you use your position of influence to say that the crocodile doesn’t exist (or only eats bad people) then you shouldn’t be afraid to have some skin in the game. If the mob does come for the monuments that you said wouldn’t be toppled, or the writers that you said wouldn’t be sacked, then you should be honour-bound to take a stand.

What is dishonourable (for a self-professed liberal) is to make excuses, or stay conveniently silent, no matter how many times that liberties are encroached upon, or history erased, or language twisted out of shape, or the blatantly irrational imposed as incontestable truth.

*

Note that liberals don’t have to choose the same breaking points as their reactionary opponents. They can heartily approve of getting slave traders out of the public square or banning racist trolls from social media sites. Indeed, this isn’t only about wokeness and anti-wokeness — because not all the threats to free speech are about overtly woke issues.

For instance, in April, the CEO of YouTube announced that content contradicting the World Health Organisation advice on Covid-19 would be banned from the site. One can certainly see the wisdom in denying snake-oil salesmen a platform to peddle their wares. But equally one should see the danger of shutting down sensible debate on scientific questions that have yet to be settled. For instance, take a look at this UnHerd interview with Professor Karol Sikora. Can any true liberal be comfortable with the fact that this entirely reasonable discussion of an important issue was taken down by YouTube for “violating guidelines”? Or that the limits of allowable debate in major forums are now defined by the official line of a UN quango (which, by the way, goes against its own previously published guidance — e.g. by U-turning on the use of face coverings)?

If a spirit of intolerance and paranoia takes hold of our most important institutions — whether in academia, the media, politics or the arts — then that, ultimately, is a threat to everyone. If you can’t find it within you to defend the rights of those you disagree with, then at least think of yourself.


Peter Franklin is Associate Editor of UnHerd. He was previously a policy advisor and speechwriter on environmental and social issues.

peterfranklin_

Join the discussion


Rejoignez des lecteurs partageant les mêmes idées qui soutiennent notre journalisme en devenant abonnés payants.

Subscribe

To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

102 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Alison Houston
Alison Houston
3 years ago

If you cannot defend say Tommy Robinson’s right to freedom of speech you do not believe in freedom of speech and you aren’t a liberal.

JK Rowling and Suzanne Moore would never have defended anyone they disagreed with, had such a person been cancelled. Neither of them had anything to say about what happened to the girls in Rotherham etc. Their defence of women is a very particular defence of a particular kind of leftish feminism. They helped made the beds they are now lying in, much more comfortably than all those child victims of rape, torture and prostitution, for whom they were not prepared to speak out.

Those who still occupy their exalted positions and refuse to condemn outright, not just the shutting down of free debate, but the shutting up of victims of violence have no right to complain when their turn comes.

Geoffrey Simon Hicking
Geoffrey Simon Hicking
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Yes, let’s laugh at those the left are coming for, just because they didn’t wake up soon enough. Then when the left come for us, you and I will be abandoned by people on the right because THEY think we didn’t wake up soon enough.

Everyone has flaws and biases, everyone makes mistakes. If we stab each other in the back over those flaws [how woke], then we will end up falling apart and swarmed by our enemies.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

You have nailed it once again, Alison. Somebody wrote yesterday that you should have your own column. I agree.

Alison Houston
Alison Houston
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Oh, how kind. I am far to eccentric and angry to have my own column, though.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

There are countless eccentric and angry people who have their own column in The Guardian and Independent etc. I see no reason why you shouldn’t have one too.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

You’re an accomplished poet too. I very much like the three or four of your sonnets that I’ve read.

Stephen Crossley
Stephen Crossley
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Being over the age of 16 I haven’t read any of Ms Rowling’s books but find myself not necessarily leaping but gently stirring to her defence here. Is the influence of celebrity culture so important that a well-known person can be condemned now not only for what they say but for also for what they DON’T say? Is she a hero for defending women’s rights in the trans arena or a villain because she did not mount an extended public campaign against a grooming ring?

Although I only visit Twitter occasionally to titter at POTUS and certainly never to impose my own puny opinions on the masses I do understand that many people look to celebrities to tell them what to think and as such what they Tweet does unfortunately matter.

Twitter is the heroin of the impotent egomaniac which is why no matter how many times they are burned by it they keep on coming back for more. It is ready-made for our left-leaning brethren still waiting for the nirvana in which we could all live if only ordinary people would do exactly as they are told.

It’s not going to change anytime soon so I can only encourage the young to ignore Twitter and do something useful like start a business, get a job you enjoy or search for a fulfilling relationship. Pretty soon you won’t be remotely interested in what JKR has to say because you will have an interesting life of your own and won’t need to be told what to do by someone you have never met.

I would urge anyone with an interest in a way out of this childishness to read Andrew Doyle’s article “The mark of an educated mind” on standpointmag.co.uk.

Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago

Your comments on “left-leaning brethren” cannot go unchallenged. Twitter is full of rightwing bile, as well as more thoughtful comment from across the spectrum. All human life is there.

Robert G
Robert G
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

The radical left sits in a position of special power and influence in the media, particularly social media. There is a strange, modern form left-wing McCarthyism going on. I never thought I’d see the day that the right defended free speech while the left clamored for censorship of dangerous ideas, but that day has already arrived.

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
3 years ago

Will anyone who actually needs to read articles like Doyle’s ever do so?

Vernee Samuel
Vernee Samuel
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Agree with some of what you say but it struck me as surprising that Suzanne Moore wouldn’t have written about the girls in Rotherham so I googled SM and Rotherham Girls and straight away found this very clear eyed comment piece that draws on her experience as a residential care worker https://www.theguardian.com

Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
3 years ago
Reply to  Vernee Samuel

Well, I read the article by Suzanne Moore and really she sidesteps the issue of race and prefers to concentrate on the fact that the girls were poor and therefore hung out to dry by the police and social services etc. She also goes on to claim (with no evidence provided) that the same mainly Pakistani men put pressure on their own women and girls to prevent them spilling the beans – as if that is somehow equal to the treatment dished out to the white girls.

To give Suzanne Moore the benefit of the doubt, she may have thought she could not go further than she did without upsetting too many of the staff and readers at the Guardian, but the trouble with these deflection pieces is that they end up not tackling the real issue.

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cox

‘she may have thought she could not go further than she did without upsetting too many of the staff and readers at the Guardian’

Well, that’s precisely the problem. The truth dies when you put ‘not upsetting people’ ahead of it.

Geoffrey Simon Hicking
Geoffrey Simon Hicking
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

[this comment was already posted, ignore this one- I can’t delete it]

Roland Powell
Roland Powell
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Well put. I was a Social Worker so have seen the damage.

Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

“They would never have defended anyone they disagreed with….” and you know this how? As for the victims of Rotherham (or any others) why are Moore and Rowling singled out for this? Were they requested to give their views but refused to give them? I only ask. I honestly don’t know, but your statement implies they did this.

I agree there’s too much baiting of “liberals” (whatever that means) who don’t toe some line or other, just as there is of “conservatives” likewise. But there is a freedom to remain silent as well. Or at least, there used to be…

Anakei greencloudnz
Anakei greencloudnz
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

Not any more ” Silence is Violence” You have to be seen to agree. And this is the double bind of cancel culture. If you don’t speak out you will be cancelled. ( if you don’t condemn it you must agree with it) If you do speak out in a few months time the wheel will turn and you will be cancelled.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Great comment thanks – and the naysayers below need to remember that the likes of moore and rowling have enormous reach with their public pronouncements. To find time to go on and on about men in dresses whilst finding no time to denounce mass rape of underage girls tells you all you need to know about these creeps.

Derek M
Derek M
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

In that old phrase, “like Saturn, the Revolution devours its children.”

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Fair point, nevertheless I think that JK Rowling and Suzanne Moore still deserve to be defended for taking the particular stances which have got them into trouble with their respective fans and colleagues.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
3 years ago

There was a poster in a friend’s room at college (many, many years ago) featuring the words of Pastor Niemoller; ‘First they came for…’
I have recently come to recall this almost daily, and completely agree with the author that it’s high time people who believe in Enlightenment values stand up to anybody whose response to history is tear it down or smash it, whose response to dissent is to tear at it and smash it, whose response to people whose opinions differ from their own is to.. well, you get the idea.
Where I’d part company is the comments that seem to imply that a line should be drawn that indicates some statues should be torn down, and others not. To the Taliban, the Bamiyan Buddhas (idolatry) were as offensive those of slave traders are to us. The solution is not to erase and destroy, but to learn and build, not to forget. Slave-trader statue? Build a bigger statue of Wilberforce close by with a plaque on both statues explaining what happened. Build a Martin Luther King statue opposite the confederate general.
A principled stance here is not to define what statues you (personally, and in this period of your life) like and don’t like, it is to define whether or not society is best served by destroying its symbols and erasing its past, or not.

D Glover
D Glover
3 years ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Neil Oliver has a neat phrase for this; ‘you should only add to history, never subtract.’

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
3 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

How long before they come for him?

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago

They’ve already started. As a Unionist, his appointment for a three year term as President of the National Trust for Scotland angered Nationalists, some of whom went so far as to say that the post should be held be “someone who loves Scotland”, as though only separatists love that country.

Robert Flack
Robert Flack
3 years ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Problem is Martin Luther King is now in danger of being cancelled. I am sure Wilberforce will have a skeleton in his cupboard.

Andrew Shaughnessy
Andrew Shaughnessy
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Flack

True, the likes of Reni Eddo-Lodge deride MLK for his view that character is more important than skin colour. She also claims the industrial-scale child abuse in Rotherham and elsewhere is a symptom of the “Western objectification of flesh.”

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
3 years ago

Good grief

M Blanc
M Blanc
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Flack

ST MLK”plagiarist, serial abuser of women, and stooge of the CPUSA”should have been cancelled long ago. But he won’t be.

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  M Blanc

He was all those things, but his “I have a dream” speech demands to be remembered, nonetheless. Sometimes you have to separate the man from the work, and the work of that speech is to hold back the forces of Critical Race Theory.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

Absolutely! I recently quoted that speech, and a couple of other things by MLK, in an attack on the presuppositions that lie beneath woke anti-racism.

M Blanc
M Blanc
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

That was plagiarized, too. And King didn’t mean a word of it.

Douglas McCabe
Douglas McCabe
3 years ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

“To the Taliban, the Bamiyan Buddhas were as offensive (as) those of slave traders are to us.”

I have yet to read a comment from a ‘liberal’ on the Atlantic slave trade that mentions the FACT that the unfortunate Africans who were transported to the Americas were first enslaved by their African national and tribal leaders for profit. The European slave traders were traders in a very sordid business, but they did not do the enslaving. They bought people who were already slaves.

Until liberals, who are the establishment, are willing to publicly speak truth to the lies being spread by the media and Marxist agitators, there can be no end to the destruction being wrought on open society as we know it.

So, my question to liberals is; “Are you as offended by black enslavers as you are by whites who traded in enslaved people?”. Do you have the courage to put your belief in open, democratic, society on the line and take a public stand against the fascist mob ruling our universities and engaging in the destruction of our society?

M Blanc
M Blanc
3 years ago
Reply to  Douglas McCabe

You know the answer to your question. The Left are simply anti-West and anti-white.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

The people who have succumbed to Woke ideology are swamped by paralyzing fear. They aren’t scared of conservatives or moderates, but terrified of their peers. It is particularly bad in the US because it is still segregated. Not just along race lines, but also along socio-economic and political lines. The US is built for cars; basically outside home and work, people never really talk to strangers down the pub or on the bus as is more common in Europe. As a result they are not exposed to diverse ideas or opinions. This means that they haven’t learned to be friends with someone that holds a different view to their own.

I have friends along both sides of the political divide. The ‘liberal’ side terrifies me because they believe they have moral righteousness on their side and that systemic racism must be defeated with whatever means available, even if it means overturning science and logical reasoning (these are the white man’s weapons). There is also a thriving cottage industry growing rapidly around ‘white racism’ where speakers get paid thousands to give workshops in which they lecture white women on their privilege.

Non-leftists are left scratching their heads wondering why people are listening to these whackadoodles who are tearing down statues and creating no-go zones. They are just now slowly starting to realize how deeply entrenched political correctness is in our systems even though the warning signs have been there all along.

In my paranoid mind the coronavirus and the prevalent anti-white racist rhetoric are being used to install a deeply authoritarian system upon us through big tech, the media and our own education systems. The coronavirus limits freedom of movement while cancel culture inhibits freedom of thought and speech. I fear most for the hapless minorities who are being used as cannon-fodder to whip up ‘white anger’. No doubt, when they’ve outlived their usefulness and wokeism is no longer fashionable, the selfsame institutions that encouraged them will change their spots and close their doors to them. It’s an old story that has literally been done to death.

jadonlon
jadonlon
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

Couldn’t agree more

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

In an economic collapse the poor and the least powerful always suffer the most. BLM supporters are literally digging their own graves. Remember the new affordable housing complex in Minneapolis burning in flames? This is what the future holds.

Sportinguista zoeeavidigal
Sportinguista zoeeavidigal
3 years ago

Indeed how far will it go? Just waiting for them to come for the statues of Peter Pan, Grey Friars Bobby, Robin Hood and the Little Mermaid – who knows what sins they have committed? In this ridiculous farce that seems to be to quote Glinner “an episode of Brass Eye that made itself” anything and everything seems to go and the more idiotic the idea the more acceptable it seems to the woke!

David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago

Robin Hood. As soon as they realise that Robin Hood was a tax protester, he will definitely be out!. Robin Hood was effecting unofficial tax rebates when he “robbed” the “rich” (tax collector) to give to the “poor” (tax payer).

Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago
Reply to  David Barnett

Nah, he robbed the rich because the poor didn’t have anything worth nicking.

jonnymangas
jonnymangas
3 years ago

Força Sporting!

Sportinguista zoeeavidigal
Sportinguista zoeeavidigal
3 years ago
Reply to  jonnymangas

Com certeza! Yes RH may deffo be out. Greyfriars Bobby who knows what sins he may have committed?

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago

Peter , I am afraid, over time, words change their meaning.

The liberals you refer to are not, to me, in any sense liberal. I would classify myself as liberal, but in the sense of not wishing to make other people do what I want. This, of course, means more choice, more tolerance, less regulation and a small government and free speech.

Perhaps, in your eyes this makes me a conservative, but you would be safer from this cancel culture with my liberal views than your current version of liberal.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

They will not defend liberalism because they are not liberals. But we have known that for many years.

This article offers a solid summary of those who have been cancelled etc, but just yesterday a number of people including Stefan Molyneux were kicked off Facebook. For a real time account of such issues follow podcasts by people like Tim Pool and styxhexenhammer666

David J
David J
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Extraordinary that such a calm and reflective thinker as Stefan Molyneux should be ejected from the Facebook swamp.

And somewhat ironic to think that the former LibDem leader, Nick Clegg, is now on the FB payroll.

At least there are alternative platforms springing up, and I trust Stefan will take advantage of this.

Patrick Mallen
Patrick Mallen
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The purging of Facebook has been long gestated and was the immediate response to Trump’s victory in 2016, with Matthew D’Ancona leading the charge.

The hysteria BLM has given them the perfect cover by which advertizers can threaten to withdraw revenues, and Zuckerberg has caved. This is about getting Trump.

I hope Trump wins.

Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Stefan Molyneux was kicked off YouTube yesterday as well. If you now search on YouTube for his name, you get nothing. If you go on a search engine and search for his name, his YouTube channel will come up, but when you click on it “Page not found”.

I also notice that Wiki describes him as a “far right white supremacist”. So much for Wiki.

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
3 years ago

I think the actual answer to the question is this. Most liberals (in the present-day sense, i.e., the one we’ve rather stupidly borrowed from American discourse) feel some affinity with the Woke in the sense that they tend to support some of the same causes. This makes it hard for them cleanly to dissociate themselves from the extremists – partly because they think there are more dangerous opponents, partly because some of their friends and acquaintances may lean further in that direction than they do themselves. This is often a problem for people of moderate instincts within a broad umbrella grouping. For instance, democratic socialists tended to be softer than they should have been on Communism, because they shared some of the same economic goals – nationalisation, redistribution, etc; meanwhile, old-fashioned Tories were less critical than they ought to have been of Franco, Salazar, Pinochet, etc, because they shared a commitment to the family and religion, a hostility to Communism, and so on. Likewise, sensible middle-of-the-road Christians and moderate Muslims find it difficult to offer no-holds-barred criticisms of the fundamentalists, because, after all, they inhabit the same tent.

Although in some cases (particularly the religious ones) these problems are close to inevitable, I think it really would help for us to stop talking about “the Left” and “the Right” as if these groupings are more than convenient descriptions for sets of policies.

J D
J D
3 years ago

Very true this. People rarely condemn the extremists with their own group, whatever walk of life we are talking about, because they agree with much of their cause if not their actions. And they are still better than the other side.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago

Very well said. Your final sentence nails one of the most difficult issues that confronts anyone who attempts to hold a coherent debate on this subject. The old left/right polarities no longer mean anything in that those two words no longer convey anything about ideas. They have become an epitome of Humpty Dumpty’s comment on a word ” “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean ” neither more nor less”, and all the more so because Carroll has Humpty Dumpty saying this “in a rather scornful tone”. We have to learn to speak of these things by identifying the ideas that lie beneath, for while the scorn can be heated, it is almost always directed at surface issues.
You do that here and elsewhere, Basil. Goodness, you even know the value of not splitting the infinitive.

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Adams

Thank you very much for that kind compliment. I was wondering if anyone else still cared about split infinitives!

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago

I do; though I find that I have to keep my inner pedant under control. It is not primarily an issue of rule or propriety, but one of meaning and emphasis. Your “cleanly to dissociate” is a strong example of the latter.
I’ve often laid awake at night, or sat in the pub over a pint of beer, wondering about what must be just about the most famous split infinitive in the history of the English language: “To boldly go where no man has gone before”.
That, of course, is from the early series of Star Trek. In later series “no one” went. (Such pettifoggery!)
I’ve sat there ruminating on possible differences of meaning between: “Boldly to go . . . “, “To go boldly . . . “. Very different emphases in reading are needed for the three versions; but I’m still not sure about to split or not to split.

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Adams

I think the reason Star Trek went for the split infinitive is because it preserves an attractive rhetorical rhythm (the line is almost iambic pentameter – “To Boldly Go Where No Man Went Before” would be perfectly so). By contrast, “To go boldly” brings the two strong syllables awkwardly together, and “Boldly to go” gives the sentence an awkward stop-start rhythm.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago

Thank you. As a poetry-loving musician, I feel somewhat chastened by my own failure to nail down that fundamental property. Too much thought, perhaps, over too many pints. Cheers!

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Adams

I am surprised that your inner pedant didn’t spot that “laid” in the first line of your second paragraph, and insist on replacing it with “lain”.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

Nice one, David. I am ashamed of my lapse. Thank you!

brichardbradford
brichardbradford
3 years ago

It is pure cowardice. The liberals know that if a real mob ever gets loose, they will be first up against the wall – they take good salaries for doing nothing at all. So their only defence is to pretend to be Woker than Woke; it’s the intellectual equivalent of boarding up your shop and writing ‘BLM’ on it. It says: “Don’t hurt me, I’m on your side.”

David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago

I object to the use of the word “liberal” to describe the very illiberal “progressives”. Both terms are newspeak for their opposites.

This is not new. Traceable at least as far as Rousseau whose admirers call this very counter-enlightenment writer “enlightened”, and use his totalitarian notion of “general will” to justify suppressing dissent.

We live in a world where newspeak pushes out meaning. We should be reclaiming the language. If we, who remember what words mean, use the newspeak, soon there won’t be any language left with which to express rational argument (which is the whole idea of newspeak in Orwells’ 1984).

Sportinguista zoeeavidigal
Sportinguista zoeeavidigal
3 years ago
Reply to  David Barnett

Look up I, Hypocrite on You Tube he has a feature called “You can’t stop progress” it shows exactly what progress is right now…makes you think twice!

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

Today we don’t have liberals, we have illiberals. The unwillingness to accept any view that is not “acceptable” is long standing. There is also a new strain of Illiberalism and it stems from the vote to leave the EU. This strain exists on the right as well as left of politics and can be summarised by the Lib Dem’s EU election slogan of “Bollox to BRexit”. It is the ultimate “cancel culture”. It means, in their view, anyone who voted to leave the EU should not have the right to speak. Some of the more extreme elements called for leave voters to be removed from the electoral roll and we can all remember prominent remain voters revealing in the death of old people who they assumed had voted leave!

There are very few liberals left, that is why there are very few liberals standing up to the woke. The reality is most people who call themselves liberals are truly illiberal and actually support the whole concept of censoring views they think are unacceptable and denigrating those who express them.

Blatancy Rose
Blatancy Rose
3 years ago

This whole debate surely, is simply about freedom of speech, and the persecution of those who are deemed by their detractors to have overstepped the mark. The moment an intrepid urge to voice an opinion is overtaken by the fear of being judged unfavourably, from any quarter, is the moment we no longer live in a democracy.
The woke ideology hates free speech as we have seen, but it only hates it when it is in total opposition to its own views. This cannot be allowed to ‘progress’ in a civilised society and the ‘culture-cancellers’ are merely adding to an ideology as dangerous to this country as fascism was. Let us learn the lessons from the past; we fought for, and won the right, to say what we think, without fear of reprisal or persecution.

William Gladstone
William Gladstone
3 years ago

Liberals won’t stand up for the same reason every one else doesn’t stand up because the elite, the establishment and big business are against them.

We have to get rid of this fallacy that its a tiny minority. It is the establishment using this stuff to hang on to power and money. They can all mouth the words black lives matter safe in the knowledge that the great and the good don’t support marxism or really care about black lives its just about using that section of the community to hang on to money and power.

David Jory
David Jory
3 years ago

The article is excellent but I would suggest slightly off target. Real Liberals were people like JS Mill and WE Gladstone. Over the decades their clothes have been taken over by Progressives, who trade on the positive association of the word Liberal while making use of the wiles of the Puritans and Marxists.
They are a cancer on society and Hayek and Popper warned of them.
Nemesis is already following hubris as the fundamentals of the BLM organisation is exposed.
However,this is simply their latest incarnation. Libertarians and Conservatives, and even real Liberals need to unite as an anti-Gramscian force to retake the lost institutions.

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
3 years ago

Peter tells us a female guest at a fancy dress party chose to wear blackface makeup “as a satire on people thinking that wearing blackface is OK. The guest quickly regretted her decision and apologised for it. Nevertheless she was subsequently tracked down, named and ended up losing her job.” Then he adds: “Justin Trudeau is still in his though.” It’s good of him to notice the double standard. Does he have an explanation for it? PM Trudeau’s numerous backers argue that he should not suffer any penalty for his multiple appearances in blackface or his public lies about them because it is well known that he is not a racist, so these transgressions can simply be set aside. It is the worst kind of circular reasoning.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Baldwin

It’s selective open-mindedness.

Alex Mitchell
Alex Mitchell
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Baldwin

It’s not about logic. It’s about in and out groups. It is self-defeating (at least for now) to kick a powerful ally out of office. Witness the same double standard between allegations against Brett Kavanaugh and Joe Biden. Of course, if Trudeau loses the next election, expect him to be fair game for canceling.

Robert Flack
Robert Flack
3 years ago

The liberals built the world of woke and now they are the victims. How funny.

Richard Marriott
Richard Marriott
3 years ago

Follow the money. The Woke may think they are penniless social justice warriors, but behind the scenes, powerful forces are at work. Follow the money. The idiotic woke would get nowhere otherwise – look at the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which has massive funding and powerful corporates behind it. Yet the Stop Hate for Profit campaign is not an impartial observer of hate speech, it is an extremely partisan operation to shutdown “wrongthink”. Why would it get corporate backing?

slorter
slorter
3 years ago

It is all a distraction away from real issues which are economic! Neoliberals together with their dogma have successfully clouded the issue.

They have achieved a world of keeping wages low, or debt pressure high, and workers will be less likely to complain or make demands. As workers struggle to provide their families with all the temptations that a capitalist society offers, they become far less likely to risk their employment, and less able to improve their situation.

1-10% of the population believe in this social hierarchy of “haves” and “have nots”. They have taken this corrosive social vision and dressed it up with a “respectable” sounding ideology which all boils down to the cheap labor, desperate insecure people they depend on to make their fortunes.

They will encourage racism, misogyny, homophobia and other forms of bigotry. Why? Bigotry among wage earners distracts them, and keeps them from recognizing their common interests as wage earners. It is to their advantage to have all these groups running around fighting among themselves.

Martin
Martin
3 years ago

Another problem, related to Alison’s comment below, is that the Liberals who are suddenly realising they too may become victims have no allies.

Conservatives have been criticising ‘woke’ and the mob under its various labels for decades, while Liberals have stayed quiet or even applauded as they get thrown under the outrage bus. Now Liberals will ‘get a taste of their own medicine’ and ‘eat their own’ and ‘live in the world they made’ and frankly many Conservatives I think are delighted.

Alex Mitchell
Alex Mitchell
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin

The link in the article to Quillette.com is apt. There are dozens of ‘I was woke until they turned on me’ articles.

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago

“Except that cancel culture goes so much further than any of that. This issue is about what is happening within mainstream institutions ” and what is being done to people with mainstream views.”

Despite Wokeism being a contemporary lived experience of cultural fascism, in the real sense of the word, it still appears that this phenomenon needs to be properly understood and analysed.

As a starter, it seems the graduated shift from political correctness and the calling out of bigotry when mixed with the grief driven reactions against Brexit and now Boris have collectively produced a cultural spell in which the cultural fascism of Wokeism can thrive.

The way to break the spell is to realise that it is norms of Inequality that underlie Wokeism in which basic equal rights are turned into basic unequal rights. However these norms of Inequality have been building up for some time within the previous incarnations of Wokeism, that being PCism and call out culture, and so these norms of Inequality have become normalised.

It is the norms of Inequality that are impregnating public consciousness that are the real threat, which you rightly point out ought to be resisted by the Liberal Community. In this respect, are they appeasing because they actually want these norms of Inequality to build up into systemic discrimination and inequality, just like the appeasers of fascism and nazism did in the 20th century.

The plain reality is that the appeasers and proponents of Wokeism are real live 21st century fascists, not as a critical slur, but as the exact mirror of fascist and their appeasers of the 20th century.

In this respect, how do we stop history literally repeating itself. By calling out their fascism and calling it for what it really and truly is, Woke Fascism.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago

Many good, insightful comments here. But I am surprised that no one has mentioned the connection between modern wokism and religious zealotry, perhaps because many people posting are themselves religious.

As for that connection, it seems to me that being woke is simply a modern version of the Great awakenings that periodically roil American culture. These movements erupt under periods of cultural tension and uncertainty as a psychological defense mechanism. Whether it is a reaction to the growing influence of Satan or the patriarchy is less important than the fervour and emotional catharsis that such movements engender in the True Believer.

In the past, movements around religious purity lead to a return to more fundamentalist, biblical- literalism, a return to older values in the face of secularism. But now the woke are the secularists themselves who, without a bible to guide their awakening, manufacture their ideology whole cloth from a sense of self-righteousness based on injuries to their dignity, real or imagined. The politics of grievance is, at its root, based on resentment.

Welded to this psychological morass of anger is an epistemology based on nihilism, postmodernism’s other face. If objective reality doesn’t comport to your woke dogma, then science and reason are simply re-cast as tools of the patriarchy. There can be no appeal to facts, because facts are necessarily imbricated in oppression, and so can be safely ignored. And because there are no longer objective standards for reasoned debate, disagreement is necessarily subjective and ad hominem: if you can’t defeat the ideas of your opponents, you have a right.. nay, a duty to cast him into the pit of perdition along with evolutionary psychology and its attendant sins.

Meanwhile, classical liberals in the school of Mill and Locke stand back in confusion and dismay that the values of the Enlightement, the very values that led to free speech and equality, have now been weaponized against their own foundations. The politically correct and their legions of useful idiots are winning because too many of us have taken our freedoms for granted.

But be warned: these people have tasted blood. They will not be sated until they have toppled western civilization and replaced it with their own version of Big Brother’s utopia.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

Well said Mr Franklin, at least you have the guts to stand up and be counted. Your are correct, Wokes aren’t and can never be, true Liberals. Woke is a pernicious Virus, that comes and goes like the tide and continually mutates to adapt to its host. The Woke Virus (WV) has been with us from at least the 1918 Bolshevik Revolution. Using the camouflage of liberalism it has infiltrated every major institution in the UK, from the judiciary downwards. Who can forget the appalling conduct of Lord (leg over Lennie) Hoffmann and the Pinochet Appeal?
Or the extraordinary double standards involved in the failure to prosecute the aged Soviet Spy Melita Norwood, whilst almost simultaneously prosecuting the equally decrepit Nazi Camp Guard Anthony Sawoniuk?
Alison Houston below, correctly highlights the barbarism of ‘grooming’ ( a weasel word, if ever there was one) that has raged, almost unchecked through our cities. Where indeed were the sainted Rowling and Moore ?
WV is a clear and present danger, second only to the Chinese. The most potent weapon to defeat it is to to ignore it. Nothing will inflame it more than avoiding any discourse with it, whatsoever. Then, at least, there is a good change it will self immolate and rid us of its festering presence.
Our ‘leaders’ must learn to shut up, and not ‘rise to the bait’.
Incidentally has anyone heard whether the Bristol Constabulary have placed any charges against the vandals who tore down the Colston statue? Or will this be another WV fudge?

Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

“Raged”? This grooming rage must have passed me by. It’s worth noting, though, that the vast majority of UK sex offenders are white.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

Did I say otherwise?

Clive Mitchell
Clive Mitchell
3 years ago

Deleted

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

I have Contempt for illiberal Liberals, Labour,Conservatives,Greens,Plaid cymru,Snp, sinn fein etc..therefore im the Most Egalatarian on this thread?
.. ”I despise your view ,but will fight to the death to protect them”.J Voltaire c18th…..

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

Voltaire est maintenant mort.

Ian McGregor
Ian McGregor
3 years ago

I have never subscribed to Twitter and generally use FB for social purposes unless completely provoked by the usual illiberal suspects trying to impose their tiresome twaddle on myself and then I have to admit that I enjoy baiting their narrow, naive, intolerant views.

Twitter and FB seem to be primary platforms for society’s rejects who have the opportunity to collectivise their nihilistic grievances to make normal people’s lives hell or even destroy them. They are a bully’s paradise with no downside unless you fall foul of the illiberal wokeratti and they rightly gorge upon yourself. Time these provocateurs’ platforms were held to account and ground into the dirt.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago

As the astute Jordan Peterson and others of his ilk have correctly pointed out, this entire movement is about power with tried and true tactics of communist revolutionaries in full swing.
But they’re a clever bunch and realize they need help in the form of “useful idiots” to achieve their aims.
Conservatives and anyone to the right of centre would never buy their garbage so the liberals are the target host for the communist parasite.
And what a willing host these well-intentioned saps make.
What liberal wouldn’t want to stand against racism or injustice?
It’s not like there aren’t enough examples past and present.
It’s just the right thing to do.
As per the Churchill reference, the liberals are feeding the crocodile a steady diet of apologies, cancel-culture and ‘bottom rail on top now’ reverse racism, thinking that once the cold-blooded maw is full we can all settle down and enjoy a new and improved peace.
The cruel joke is on them however; the crocodile is never full or satisfied.
How far we go down this road to political disaster won’t depend on conservative backlash but on whether or not liberals twig to the scam before it’s too late.

srhodes5
srhodes5
3 years ago

The writer says he as a liberal can approve the removal of statues of slave owners. This is still the erasing of history. If they aren’t there, especially in this age void of the written word, how will they be discussed? Those that try to disprove the holocaust can’t while the ovens,gas chambers,bricks & mortar of Auschwitz stands.

cjhartnett1
cjhartnett1
3 years ago

Once truth is regarded as unknowable, or even an offence to the tolerant….you then need to seek meaning and purpose in the unlikeliest places.
And post modern university thinking( I use the oxymoron in jest) as well as the educational ” offer” that the state has compelled since Kenneth Bakers reign of idiocy way back? Well, any port in a storm, the cancellers can’t be blamed any more than they can be helped.
The Revolution eats its own.
Who knew huh?

Andy Tuke
Andy Tuke
3 years ago

The first step would be for everybody who is concerned at what is happening to get off social media, in particular Twitter.
It doesn’t matter what nice things you think you are using it for, you are simply enabling all the trolls have a platform to behave like this

Dave Smith
Dave Smith
3 years ago

Woke and liberal what’s the difference and who cares? They all sound the same to me. None of them can stand reality and are in a permanent rebellion against it. They are like the howlers in ‘Invasion of the Bodysnatchers’
They are the pods made flesh in our time. What should exercise all of us and them is the inevitable reaction against all of them. That will not be a pretty sight and best avoided although the latest strange outbreak of statue demolition is moving that up the timescale a bit sharpish.
The statue breakers mostly seem like nice well bred youngsters out for a lark that they can really believe in for a while . Till they need the job offers to come in. The somewhat older liberals running foul of them are no less well heeled. Insulated by wealth and luxury. But they all live on a temporary licence from reality . Who knows what beasts of left or right are waiting in the shadows.
Kenneth Patchen
‘O the lions of fire
Wait in the crawling shadows of your world
And their terrible eyes are watching you ‘
Think of these days as the days of indulgence.

John Hollow
John Hollow
3 years ago

Simple really , just say it was the will of Allah. Does anyone disagree with the will of Allah? If it has happened then it must be the will of Allah

B David
B David
3 years ago

At the core of cancel culture there’s the refusal to treat the political “other” with basic civility, fairness and decency. Everyone believes political opinions conflicting with their own are mistaken, misguided or wrong. In cancel culture when the views/speech do not align with the illiberals, their automatic assumption is that the person is deliberately being malicious hateful etc . It’s arguable whether they even believe this, or whether it’s just a strategic choice to gain tactical advantage. Denounced speech is said to demonstrate the person’s intent to demean, wound and cause damage to others, reflecting intended malice, evil and hate. All this reminds me of those tyrannical preachers from hundreds of years ago railing against and damning unrepentant sinners.

Franklin’s article largely misses the proverbial pachyderm 🐘 in the living room, possibly as he’s on the “rainy and damp” side of the Atlantic.

Here in the US the entire establishment media states it agrees with, or at least never questions the notion that mainstream Republicans today ipso facto are alleged to be white nationalists (absolutely no one had ever heard of white nationalism before illiberals commenced their Republican denunciations.). Those illiberals adamantly insist on alleging Republicans are racist, white supremacist, white nationalists who allegedly harbor this great abiding hatred for all black people and people of color. This is bizarrely preposterous, untrue, completely irrational, hysterical, slanderous and prejudicial. It’s reflective of illiberals prejudice, stereotyping and their jettisoning of societal norms, consideration, fairness and civility. They determinedly brings this hateful insistence to bear in dehumanizing the political other. It can be understood as the virtual criminalization of political differences. They insist their denunciations are “the truth” writ large, a truth so consequential it requires restating multiple times daily. Regardless of politics, most people in modern society would rather be known as an arsonist than a racist. This very thing reveals the real reason denunciations of alleged white nationalists have become a predominant staple technique and tactic of hate-fuelled illiberals today. This technique is sure to intimidate and terrorize some significant number of conservatives. Illiberals ultimate goal is making people fearful of the vitriolic abuse plus the life-damaging consequences of supporting conservative ideas or people. A movement cannot flourish when its supporters are too terrified to openly express their opinions. To state this in the lefts language, conservatives are being targeted to cause them to feel unsafe.

latke.queen.margalit
latke.queen.margalit
3 years ago

I have a hard-and-fast rule: when someone uses “Democrat” as an adjective when they mean “Democratic” (“a political data analyst whose work has contributed to Democrat election campaigns”) I stop reading. This is a childish, idiotic mangling of the language. Would we say “Republic election campaigns”? We would not. Do better.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago

It’s because they are not “liberal”, they are communists.

David Probert
David Probert
3 years ago

Engaging in discussion about the merits or otherwise of the wokist cult of unreason is ridiculous.It gives validity to this ignorant, absurd political extremist nonsense wrecking our culture, threatening our freedoms and now our toleration and our racial l harmony while also insulting our intelligence..

This article is part of the problem. Wokism -the cultivation of cultural ignorance as a virtue – deserves ridicule and abuse not debate.It should be knocked on the head and dismissed when it becomes violent by the firm application of the law.

davidgmurphy
davidgmurphy
3 years ago

I think that the current ‘identitarian politics’ and its ‘cancel culture’ weapon is the culmination of neo-liberalism: it is hyper-individualistic wherein the individual puts their interests above those of the collective and anyone who attempts to impede the individual in their battle for supremacy (by denying their special identity, rights, privileges, in their terms, their very existence) is a mortal enemy (inflicting literal ‘violence’ on them). You must have noticed that the self-aggrandizing advocates of these ‘rights’ are always above and apart from their supporters, who tend to be young women who feel sorry for these poor souls. These people are ‘morbid narcissists’ who, instead of being offered psychological help, are put on pedestals by our social institutions. They co-opt movements for their own particularistic interests. Meanwhile the mass of people, whose interests are ignored, are alienated by the seeming insanity of their policy makers and opinion makers turning to right-wing populists for relief.

Richard Spicer
Richard Spicer
3 years ago

Those with the power to oppose the anti-statue movement prefer to appease them rather than take an intellectual view. Cries for Thomas Guy’s statue to be taken down by some students were based on the erroneous assumption he was a slave trader. In fact he was a very good man with no involvement in the slave trade but the hierarchy in the University ,Trust and Southwark Council find it easier to appease the students rather than engage in a debate on the historiography. Very intellectually lazy by both the students and the powers-that-be. See: https://www.change.org/p/pr… AND /u/27137838?cs_tk=AlZ6mc07GoaHQgry_F4AAXicyyvNyQEABF8BvC7a7hHQRj0aGTadxYPeyaw%3D

aelf
aelf
3 years ago

Is there anything about liberalism – in its modern, illiberal incarnation – that can or should be defended?

Will D. Mann
Will D. Mann
3 years ago

Although it is generally agreed that there are limits to Free Speech , nobody has agreed where they are beyond justice Holmes assertion that ” Nobody has the right to shout fire in a crowded theatre”

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
3 years ago

One small sign of hope, maybe:

https://www.thesun.co.uk/sp

diarmidweir
diarmidweir
3 years ago

Liberalism is not an attitude of mind, but a legal framework. What is not banned must be tolerated. What is banned is that which causes egregious harm to others.

Most of the examples of ‘cancel culture’ given here involve more than straightforward speech – but orchestrated campaigns against the existential rights of certain groups, or in James Bennet’s case, failure to actually do his job and screen an article for factual misrepresentation. In all cases they involve decisions by private people and private organisations, whose reactions to the speech of others is entirely a matter for them as long as they remain within the law.

The advent of social media, and the ‘market forces’ that make certain platforms dominant, amplify both the effects and the reactions that we see. If we don’t like it, then pointing fingers achieves little. Only an extension of the liberal legal framework covering speech can bring change – if that is really what we want.

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  diarmidweir

What “factual misrepresentation” was there in the Tom Cotton Op-Ed?

Clay Bertram
Clay Bertram
3 years ago

Postmodernity is eating Liberalism from within.

sheybby
sheybby
3 years ago

The cancel culture is just a socially acceptable way to engage in censorship without being accused of using authoritarian tactics.

By attacking their opponent’s character or personal traits, the Woke movement has found an easy way to suppress dissent and frame the public debate in its favour.

We live in strange times where abusive Ad hominem is the rule of the land. The Woke Witch hunters are constantly attacking the characteristics of a person without addressing the substance of their argument. They are doing so because they are simply incapable of building their own counter-argument with supporting evidence.

Bill Bolwell
Bill Bolwell
3 years ago

https://en.wikipedia.org/wi
TRANNY TRANSPLANT
A man can now show as female on a DNA test, depending on the sample, eg. hair roots tend to be the original DNA.
Bone marrow recipients
In 2008, A man was killed in a traffic accident that occurred in Seoul, South Korea. In order to identify him, his DNA was analyzed. Results revealed that the DNA of his blood, along with some of his organs, appeared to show that he was female. It was later determined that he had received a bone marrow transplant from his daughter.

M Blanc
M Blanc
3 years ago

It is amusing to watch the Leftist opinion shapers begin to get nervous when the howling mob that they set on me turns on them.

dylanhardwin1993
dylanhardwin1993
3 years ago

Thank you so much, Peter. I’m so relieved to finally know that I am not the only one who is seeing this issue. I am a true liberal at heart and always will be. It just breaks my heart knowing that it got stolen and nobody will band together to defend what it use to mean.

dianepurkiss
dianepurkiss
3 years ago

I would like to see a full and proper debate on for instance transgender/all gender, with a robust chair.

It seems to me that no platforming/refusing to listen is creating a world of conspiracy theorists because open debate no longer happens. If people think that somebody’s views are toxic, then they should expose the full span of those views for all to see; this had a material effect on for example the horrible historical distortions circulated by David Irving. Somebody needs to call out lies and deceits, whether the perpetrators are safely ensconced in armchairs or in high office.

I myself thought JK Rowling mistaken in her views about transgender, but I would defend to the death her right to articulate them. All Western education is built on the premise of adversarial and dialectical discussion to arrive at truth; that’s what the peer-review process does. Without that process in the public sphere, it is very difficult for the busy citizen juggling a job and domestic responsibilities to know the difference between truth and falsehood.