October 23, 2016
Niall Gooch on free speech and its enemies:
Free speech, like the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence, is a procedural virtue, which is why fanatics and revolutionaries hate it… Defenders of free speech are arguing not only for free speech as an abstraction, but a wider culture of honest debate, factual argument, respectful disagreement, and civilised co-existence with people who see the world very differently from us. Complaints about attacks on free speech can be seen as proxies for concerns about the maintenance of this culture, particularly in the context of the university. So in a sense, free speech isn’t one thing. It’s many things. It’s a whole network of overlapping norms about the exchange of ideas. One thing that people commonly mean when they say “free speech” is “if I’m invited to give a talk somewhere I should be allowed to do so without intimidation, interruption or threat, and people who want to come and listen to me should be able to do so.”
Well, obviously, we can’t have that.
Ed West on things you mustn’t laugh about:
There are plenty of subjects that merit satire today – the diversity industry, with its shakedowns and professional bullshit artists is a rich seam, as is the transgender movement. But these areas really are too edgy for satirists, most of whom – like the vast majority of influential people in the arts – hold quite uncontroversial (left-liberal) political views and also fear the next wave of revolutionaries more than they do the ancien régime. That’s why they make jokes about the ancien régime. In fact there is plenty of edgy comedy these days – but it tends to be told in private.
Jonah Goldberg on the leftist leanings of the establishment media:
According to a just-released study [by the Centre for Public Integrity], more than 96 percent of donations from media figures to either of the two major-party presidential candidates went to Hillary Clinton… Anyone who has spent a moment around elite reporters or studied their output knows that they tend to be left of centre. In 1981, S. Robert Lichter and Stanley Rothman surveyed 240 leading journalists and found that 94 percent of them voted for Lyndon Johnson in 1964, 81 percent voted for George McGovern in 1972, and 81 percent voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976. Only 19 percent placed themselves on the right side of the political spectrum. Does anyone think the media have become less liberal since then? None of this means liberals — or conservatives — can’t be good reporters, but the idea that media bias is non-existent is ludicrous.
And Mark Steyn on campus psychodrama and competitive indignation:
[University of Wisconsin at Whitewater president] Beverly Kopper blamed the students for “failing to think about the implications” – of having a facial. Because we live in a world where a facial is one step away from a minstrel show… What this college president, Beverly Kopper, means when she says these students “failed to think about the implications” of their racist exfoliating is that professional grievance mongers like her have so incentivised the taking of offence that there are now far more people who need to be offended than the number of people willing to offend them: Demand far outstrips supply. So in ten years’ time these two students will be applying for jobs and their potential employer will Google them and the first 200 pages that come up will be about how racey-racey-racist they are.
But when there isn’t nearly enough racism to justify the “social justice” contingent’s pre-booked outrage, on which their status depends, what are they supposed to do? Well, being pious, righteous beings, they make some up. And by some, I mean lots. And so we find student “activists,” self-imagined heroes, whose preferred form of heroism entails sending anonymous racial threats to their equally brown classmates and making their own nooses, and educators who daub racial slurs on their own cars, before slashing their own tyres, much to the bewilderment of onlookers.
As always, feel free to share your own links and snippets, on any subject, in the comments.