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Liberal and Leftist Writers Condemn Cancel Culture (With Obligatory Anti-Trump Nod)

Liberal and Leftist Writers Condemn Cancel Culture (With Obligatory Anti-Trump Nod)

The left is eating its own now. How many of these signatories cared when conservatives were being purged?

Harper’s Magazine has A Letter on Justice and Open Debate signed by a lot of famous names (and many non-famous) mostly from the left.

The letter starts with pathetic Trump Derangement Syndrome, as if Trump and the “right” are the original great threat to free speech (emphasis added):

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.

This is complete BS.  Restrictions on speech and canceling people for wrongthink are almost entirely from the left, and have been for years. The nod to Trump Derangement Syndrome is the type of leftist virtue signaling that weakens the message of the letter, which as set forth below, concerns intolerance from the left


Here’s the rest of the letter (emphasis added):

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.

Several of the signatories have been targets of this cancel culture, including Prof. Steven Pinker, who is the subject of a petition signed by over 500 academics calling for the Linguistic Society of America to strip him of honors for his allegedly wrongthink tweets:

This is an open letter by members of the linguistics community calling for the removal of Dr. Steven Pinker from both our list of distinguished academic fellows and our list of media experts. We, the undersigned, believe that Dr. Pinker’s behavior as a public academic is not befitting of a representative of our professional organization, that the LSA’s own stated goals make such a conclusion inevitable, and that the LSA should publicly reaffirm its position and distance itself from Dr. Pinker.

Induction into the list of LSA fellows is one of the highest signals of prestige in the linguistic community. Often, fellows are seen as the first line of academic linguistic authority, and trustworthy sources of linguistic knowledge. Lay people and members of the press reach out to fellows and media experts for official statements. We feel that fellows therefore have a responsibility that comes with the honor, credibility, and visibility allotted them by their distinguished appointment. Dr. Pinker does not live up to this standard.

As we demonstrate below, Dr. Pinker’s behavior is systematically at odds with the LSA’s recently issued statement on racial justice, which argues that “listening to and respecting [the experience of students of color] is crucial, as is acknowledging and addressing rather than overlooking or denying the role of the discipline of linguistics in the reproduction of racism.” Instead, Dr. Pinker has a history of speaking over genuine grievances and downplaying injustices, frequently by misrepresenting facts, and at the exact moments when Black and Brown people are mobilizing against systemic racism and for crucial changes.

This blog post takes apart the pathetic attacks on Pinker, The Purity Posse pursues Pinker:

The Woke are after Pinker again, and if he’s called a racist and misogynist, as he is in this latest attempt to demonize him, then nobody is safe. After all, Pinker is a liberal Democrat who’s donated a lot of dosh to the Democratic Party, and relentlessly preaches a message of moral, material, and “well-being” progress that’s been attained through reason and adherence to Enlightenment values. But that sermon alone is enough to render him an Unperson, for the Woke prize narrative and “lived experience” over data, denigrate reason, and absolutely despise the Enlightenment.

JK Rowling signed, and is attacked for signing because of her tweets and statement affirming male and female differences:

Vox writer Matt Yglesias signed the letter. Now he is the subject of a complaint to Vox from one of his co-workers based on his signing:

The left is eating its own now.

How many of these signatories cared when conservatives were being purged? How many of them participated in those anti-conservative purges at least indirectly? How many fed the cancel culture alligator hoping it wouldn’t eat them?

That said, it’s better that even the left is realizing that the monster they created is out of control.


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“How many of these signatories cared when conservatives were being purged? How many of them participated in those anti-conservative purges at least indirectly? How many fed the cancel culture alligator hoping it wouldn’t eat them?”

Exactly. These leftists are not our friends. They are not even our temporary allies. If the American Red Guard were to concentrate solely on liquidating the Deplorables these leftists would happily join in.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Recovering Lutheran. | July 7, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    Zero of DEM spoke up.

    I’m all for the Left eating their own.

    How can we encourage that?

    for Leftists.

    Looking at the list I recognize die hard Leftists.

    This will not end well for any Leftist.

    On a side note, don’t think any Hispanics will be left voting for Dementia Joe.

    California City Charges Hispanic Couple With A Hate Crime
    For Painting Over Black Lives Matter Graffiti On Street – Weazil Zippers

Liberal wienies never understood what was going on, with the anti-Trump movement. They thought that it was being done for THEIR benefit. But, that was nit the case. The Global Elite used their news and entertainment media, liberal political parties, such as the Democrat Party, and radical anarchist and community street soldier forces, such as AntiFa and BLM, to destroy the rising populist movement around the world Donald trump is only a symptom, not a leader of the movement. He represents a populist movement comprised of half the residents of the most powerful nation on the planet. The Elites have decided that they can only survive if they destroy the US and the rest of Western Civilization. And, if that means that some unimportant liberals turn out to be collateral damage to protect the Global Elite, well, that is acceptable to them.

The left only seemed to care about free speech in the earlier part of the 20th Century up to around the 1970s because they saw the free speech movement as a means to achieve their ends. Once they began to achieve those ends, e.g., moving into positions of power such as being elected to state legislatures, some even to Congress, being installed in the hierarchy of the nation’s colleges, and other major institutions, it was time to close off free speech to those not of their liking. The glove came off to reveal an iron fist.

They never cared for free speech and open discourse. It was all a ruse.

legacyrepublican | July 7, 2020 at 9:34 pm

Bouncing brown babies on your knee is racist, not kneeling to a black is racist, silence is violence, and now signing a letter stating free speech is a personal right is racist.

This is not going to end well.

    Holding my biological son, the offspring of his bumbling white father and his gorgeous black African mother, is now considered racist by the American Red Guard.

    There are no words sufficient to describe how I feel about my family being Ground Zero in the race war these Communist monsters are trying ignite.

    Aitch748 in reply to legacyrepublican. | July 8, 2020 at 12:32 am

    If the word “racist” ever had any real meaning, it’s pretty much gone. The word is little more than a derogatory term for “normal” now.

      TX-rifraph in reply to Aitch748. | July 8, 2020 at 8:02 am

      “Racist” is a weapon. It is now a word without meaning but a word with great utility. Strange and not good for anybody but the marxists.

Exactly how #MeToo went. Funny how fast people stopped virtue signaling about it when it was primarily rich leftists that were becoming casualties.

With regards to cancel culture, leftists are SIGNIFICANTLY more vulnerable to it because a huge amount of them have been in charge for decades and have said a LOT of batshit insane crap before their ‘evolution’ on issues.

Conservatives have at least SOME protection if they’re working for people or companies that don’t care about the woke mobs, but committed leftists are already working in wretched hives that cancel at the drop of a hat.

I mean it borders on a cliche to say it, but a huge amount of prominent leftists are ACTUAL racists. They’re convinced that minorities are too poor and stupid to be capable of managing their own lives, and they NEED them to help them.

Thus far they’ve relied on their Woke Credits to keep people like Northam who literally posed in blackface next to a KKK hood and kept his job.

But now the left has gone INSANE, and a whole bunch of people that thought they were Too Important to cancel are suddenly under threat.

It’s hilarious.

George_Kaplan | July 7, 2020 at 9:45 pm

Seems like conservatives should support the Leftists seeking to live up to their own values – anyone who steps out of line should be cancelled, fired, banned, or raked over the coals and publicly shamed.

Don’t like those values? Then stop being a Leftist.

Double standards are hypocrisy, not a principled stand.

My2centshere | July 7, 2020 at 9:47 pm

So now they see a price will be paid and boy they don’t like that one bit. Now watch it go poof.

thalesofmiletus | July 7, 2020 at 9:48 pm

First they came for the Confederate statues, but I said nothing…

The left ‘eating its own’ is predictable: the idea is to be able to ‘eat’ anybody.

We always talk about ‘they’re coming for us’, but do you realize now they’re coming for YOU?

    A Punk Named Yunk in reply to | July 8, 2020 at 10:50 am

    > The left ‘eating its own’ is predictable: the idea is to be
    > able to ‘eat’ anybody.

    At a march through some ritzy LA neighborhood (Hollywood? Bel-Aire? I forget which) the marchers were chanting “Eat the rich!”

    Hey lefties! George Soros is rich. And plump.

VenturaCapitalist | July 7, 2020 at 10:16 pm

“Woke death cult.”
I like that.

Somewhere in deep reaches of Hell,Saul Alinsky is laughing his ass off.

    CorkyAgain in reply to Stan25. | July 7, 2020 at 10:40 pm

    Well, the demons who inspired him surely are.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Stan25. | July 8, 2020 at 1:51 am

    Saw that guy on the Dick Cavett or Johnny Carson Show.

    You could tell he was not right in the head.

    Maybe scared sh….sh….uh….silly that would say something his Communist handlers would not be pleased with.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | July 7, 2020 at 10:30 pm

This Leftist demand should be filed under
child abuse.

California Faculty Demand
“Free Tuition For All Black, Native, & Indigenous Students”

Leftist always put a caveat on their support for free speech when doing a faux defense of the Right. Which is why I don’t care if they are consumed by their own side.

    healthguyfsu in reply to technerd. | July 7, 2020 at 11:19 pm

    This is not even a faux defense of the right. This is basically a dog whistle letter to say “slow down and let us debate amongst ourselves on the left but go ahead and feel free to cancel all of those that ‘threaten our way of life’ on the right.”

    Don’t be fooled by this. The disclaimers about Trump and supporters is very deliberately placed to redirect the fury. It cracks me up, though, that some of the most triggered leftists still can’t or won’t pick up on the clue because they desire to be so “special” and grab hold of random powers of identity.

Let’s be completely clear and candid here, assuming the following is accurate.

We insurrectionists, among others, are being corralled into, and wholeheartedly resisting, a nonintellectual mindset, an unprecedented timeframe and milieu of indeterminate dimensions that detests and eschews principle.

If true, what does this mean for the history and practice of thinking and the amoral behaviors it would nourish?

Quo vadimus?

Did the Dean of the Cornell Law Department sigh the letter?

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.

A strange statement. What it’s describing is Political Correctness—the suppression of speech, action, thought, anything which isn’t in lockstep with left-wing doctrine of the moment. But the term “Political Correctness” first came to national prominence in the George Bush days. The first George Bush. That’s ancient history. “Open debate and toleration of differences” haven’t been “norms” for decades.

who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus

Another concept the signatories seem a bit fuzzy on. The “consensus” consists of . . . who, exactly? Marxist professors? The mob destroying statues and defacing architecture? The looters? The arsonists? None of these sound like consensus material to me. They’re just noisy. It takes a lot more than a loud lunatic fringe to establish a consensus.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to tom_swift. | July 8, 2020 at 1:59 am

    Some have said this is the the left’s Tower of Babel moment when God confused their languages.

    oldgoat36 in reply to tom_swift. | July 8, 2020 at 5:26 am

    Political Correctness was the brainchild of Chairman Mao.It was used by the Communist leaders to effect thought policing.

    Is it any wonder why the leftists of our country, who seem to love Chinese Communism, would turn to his technique of mind control? The left have taken all the means of control that the worst regimes in the world have used to limit thought.

      tom_swift in reply to oldgoat36. | July 8, 2020 at 9:25 am

      Yes, and Lenin was fascinated by Pavlov’s experiments with conditioned response. All socialist systems are predicated on control. They all require suppression of free markets, free expression, free anything, all in favor of control by a dictator or some all-knowing central committee.

      However, Political Correctness as articulated by Bush Senior is a bit different. It’s not control by the government, it’s control exerted outside the bounds of officialdom, control by extra-legal harassment. Rule by fanboys and fanatics, not by the police.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | July 8, 2020 at 12:14 am

Left eating Lemon, who still sucks – a lot!!!!!!!!

CNN’s Don Lemon Claims Black-On-Black Violence Has Nothing To Do With Black Lives Matter

Actor Terry Crews clashed with CNN’s Don Lemon last night during an exchange in which Lemon ludicrously asserted that black on black violence should have nothing to do with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Crews was targeted by the woke mob after he tweeted on July 4 the supposedly controversial opinion that not all white people were bad and not all black people were good.

Before his interview on CNN last night, Crews also tweeted, “#ALLBLACKLIVESMATTER 9 black CHILDREN killed by violence in Chicago since June 20, 2020.”

This is a very literate bunch here at LI. Certainly someone here remembers the fate of Igli the ogre, in Heinlein’s Glory Road.

We always say liberalism is a mental disorder. But more specifically, it is narcissism. These lib lazies want their cake and eat it too.

Hard cheese, mate.

Only pain will wake these people up. May they get it.

I smell panic in the air.

These nimrods still believe conservatives deserved to be purged.

I imagine this is how Robespierre felt just before….

felixrigidus | July 8, 2020 at 9:30 am

History repeats itself.

As always leftists only are for free speech for minorities if they are in the minority. George Orwell, who really knew about what his fellow leftists are like, warned about this in his tales.

These leftists had no problem with cancelling those they disagree with. They still don’t have a problem with that as is clear from this hypocritical drivel.

What really happened is that they are realising that their ideological allies could turn on them. Being in danger themselves they now again pretend to be for free speech. The second they feel safe again they will turn on us again.

So let us not fall for it. They don’t mean it. We need to make them play by the ruleset they devised for us. Unless they really learn what evil they are endorsing they will not have a chance of recovering. Unless they truly renounce their evil ideology and their deep hatred for Liberty we should not ever come to their rescue.

drednicolson | July 8, 2020 at 10:36 am

“A war begins when you will, but does not end when you please.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

Stop the tiger, we want to get off!

Submitted to Harpers:


Safe spaces and trigger warnings were a feature of campus culture long before Donald Trump was inaugurated as president. These features on campus handicapped free speech and the exchange of ideas. The liberals did not speak up at the time. Rather, they supported the suppressed speech required by the students (i.e., “snowflakes”).

What we see now in our streets, on our campuses, and in our “news” reporting is not a reaction to the “illiberalism” of Donald Trump. It is simply a logical extension in the evolution of the requirement to think as liberals and to refrain from uttering a thought that might be objectionable to liberals.

I ask you at Harpers: if you are concerned about diversity, look around and try to identify a conservative you work with. Can you find one? Is all diversity a question of skin color? (Sounds pretty racist to me.)

In the lead up to the elections in 2016 we heard report after report about how there could be rioting in the streets if Donald Trump did not win. Yet, Donald Trump did win—and, still, there WAS rioting in the streets, including along 5th Avenue in New York. It was the rioting of the liberals.

Finally, was it the illiberalism of Donald Trump that has produced the neo-Maoist features that are beginning to appear in our society? Wrong-think, struggle sessions and re-education camps are starting to pop up. Are we allowed to object to the extremist elements often represented by Black Lives Matter? I didn’t think so.

If you want to be taken seriously, try to be more intellectually honest. Your list of signers on the letter is full of racists, extremists and anti-Semites. Open your eyes.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | July 8, 2020 at 1:37 pm

“Facebook Folds: Will Now Police Speech After Advertiser Exodus

After holding itself out as a bastion of (semi) free speech, or at least the most hands-off in Silicon Valley, Facebook reversed course on Tuesday amid an advertiser exodus thanks to the Stop Hate for Profit campaign.

In addition to policing whatever their definition of ‘hate speech’ from now on and vowing to ‘get better at removing hateful content,’ CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg will be meeting with leaders from groups including the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation league, which organized Stop Hate for Profit…….

LukeHandCool | July 8, 2020 at 1:53 pm

I’m not sure how I feel about this.

Generally I’m not a big fan of these letters,

If a better reasoned argument is put forth by a single person, it doesn’t matter whether these letters have 100 or 1,000 signatories. A better argument will win the day.

Did they sign this as a group to supposedly put more weight behind it, or because they were afraid to make this argument individually?

Professor Jacobson was not afraid to stand up alone.

If someone is afraid to put forth their honestly held opinion as an individual for fear of danger to their social status, then their status is overrated to begin with.*

*This does not apply to those providing for a family, living paycheck to paycheck. When expressing your opinion can cost you your livelihood when you’re in this position, it would be foolish not to keep your mouth shut and focus solely on work.

I’m talking about people like these signatories. People whose trade deals with public opinion and policy. I would imagine most of these people have some financial cushion and could lose their job and not be destitute or unable to care for their family.

blacksburger | July 8, 2020 at 6:16 pm

“BLM Teacher Says 2+2 Only Equals 4 Because Of “Western Imperialism””

In the late 19080s my daughter, who was a math major in college, had a T shirt that said:


Back in those days students realized that this was a joke.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | July 8, 2020 at 10:17 pm


Sonoma, CA Housing Prices Crater 23% YOY As Northern California Mortgage Meltdown Accelerates

As one broker quipped, “There’s no possible was we can conceal the housing meltdown any longer. It is what it is.”