No Minister

The Right to Openly Discuss Ideas Must Be Defended

The title of the YouTube clip is from the little sign that this lone man held up during a protest in London. Behold Western Civilisation in 2017.

You absolutely need to watch this exercise in mob mentality: and it’s only a little longer than Two Minutes of Hate.

You can read the background to this event from an article the guy wrote himself on He’s an artist and the “Anti-Fascist” protests were around an art gallery, as described in this report from the Hackney Gazette.

UPDATE 2021: It appears that the YouTube video above is gone because it belongs to an account that is now terminated. I’ll bet it has. Fortunately there is Bitchute, for now.

And of course since then things have only got worse.

  • The recent firing of a New York Times editor, James Bennet, at the behest of his staff. They were angered by him allowing a Republican Senator, Tom Cotton, to write an OpEd advocating sending in Federal troops to deal with the riots.
  • The departure of Bari Weiss from the NYT. Her resignation letter made it clear that that she had been constantly bullied at the publication for her “centrist” political beliefs and that Twitter had become the paper’s “ultimate editor.”
  • David Shor was fired from Civis Analytics because he re-tweeted a study by a Princeton professor, Omar Wasow, showing that the 1968 riots had suppressed the Democrat vote in that election in key areas, allowing Nixon to win. This fact is unacceptable to BLM in the current environment so out went Shor to the cries of “racism” and in spite of a the now standard grovelling apology.
  • Journalist Lee Fang, quite Left on economic matters, interviewed some BLM protestors, one of whom, a young Black supporter, said that he wished BLM would also pay attention to Black-on-Black violence. As with Shor, a grovelling apology followed the mass attack of the Twitter mob, but Fang at least kept his job.

The fact that all of these people are Leftists formerly in good standing with the US Liberal community and even with most Progressives counted for nothing in the end. Sullivan was one of the most prominent advocates of gay marriage for years; Shor had worked for Obama’s reelection campaign. The author of that piece on Shor, Jonathan Chait, has himself landed in a spot of bother about free speech with the Woke crowd back in 2015, when it was still being referred to as Political Correctness.

That article was dismissed as describing nothing more than the usual university nonsense of past decades and Chait himself as an out-of-touch Old Liberal. He described similar incidents from the early 1990’s where feminist videographer Carol Jacobsen’s exhibition about sex workers ran head on into feminist law professor Catharine MacKinnon’s critique of the 1st Amendment as a tool of male privilege. But as he noted about the 2015 incident:

This was the same inversion of victim and victimizer at work last December. In both cases, the threat was deemed not the angry mobs out to crush opposing ideas, but the ideas themselves. The theory animating both attacks turns out to be a durable one, with deep roots in the political left.

Like Noonan, Chait probably did not expect this to get worse or escape the campus, but his latest article shows that’s the case, in that he hedges a lot. As Reason described it:

Chait, while standing up for traditional “marketplace of ideas” liberalism as essential to democracy, spends an extraordinary amount of effort trying to make the entirely unreasonable gross intolerance of budding Torquemadas sound reasonable, likely because he too fears “cancellation.”

Chait, while appalled at the mobbing of Fang, feels the need to discuss in excruciating detail (including, ironically, some old-fashioned whitesplainin’ of the interviewee’s lack of wokeness) why it’s not unreasonable for people to so strongly object the rather anodyne sentiment expressed by the interview subject. One assumes this is insurance against being Twitter-mobbed like Fang.

Sullivan has effectively re-started his old blog, The Dish, with The Weekly Dish, which will allow him to write freely. Perhaps blogs will make a comeback. But before he did so he wrote one last article for New York Magazine, and its title echos that of the young London man of 2017, Is There Still Room for Debate? Sullivan thinks so but his own experience and that of others makes me doubtful that reason can win here against these thugs. He makes reference to an essay by Václav Havel “The Power of the Powerless” (Nuts! I thought I’d created that over a decade ago with “Power is Powerlessness“), yet while saying that we’re far freer than Havel was under Communism he goes on to realistically describe a situation that’s bad and getting worse even without the state behind it:

The orthodoxy goes further than suppressing contrary arguments and shaming any human being who makes them. It insists, in fact, that anything counter to this view is itself a form of violence against the oppressed

In this manic, Manichean world you’re not even given the space to say nothing. “White Silence = Violence” is a slogan chanted and displayed in every one of these marches…

We have co-workers eager to weaponize their ideology to purge the workforce. We have employers demanding our attendance at seminars and workshops to teach this ideology. We have journalists (of all people) poring through other writers’ work or records to get them in trouble, demoted, or fired. We have faculty members at colleges signing petitions to rid their departments of those few left not fully onboard. We have human-resources departments that have adopted this ideology whole and are imposing it as a condition for employment. And, critically, we have a Twitter mob to hound people into submission.

And how far behind can the State be once the likes of these mobs gain power in that area as they have in academia, sport, mass media and corporate HR departments? As Sullivan noted in 2018, We All Live On Campus Now.

And those left on those campuses are finally starting to worry that the tumbrels are heading their way. Recently a group of Lefty Luvvies, including famous ones like Gloria Steinem, Gary Kasparov and Noam Chomsky, penned a letter to Harpers Magazine, A Letter on Justice and Open Debate. But even in this case a number backed out when they found that author J. K. Rowling was a signee; she’s been hit by the Woke mob over her siding with feminists against certain “trans-rights”.

And like Chait the letter just had to try and cover its butt by taking the now standard line that of course the Right represent the greater threat.

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.

Retired law professor and blogger Ann Althouse took issue with that bullshit:

I’m irritated by the gratuitous shot at right-wingers. The censorship and cancel culture they are talking about is very much a thing of the left. Take some damned responsibility for the attack on freedom of speech that has been nurtured among elite thinkers for the last 40 years. I experienced it in academia — first hand — through my entire career as a law professor…

This isn’t something that is just beginning to grow on the left. It’s been going on for decades, and why haven’t you opposed it sooner? Is it just because it looks particularly ugly now and your political goals are threatened? Sorry, I am not experiencing this letter as courageous.

Althouse is quite the Liberal herself, including for some aspects of Trans Rights. A classic Baby Boomer 60’s Vietnam protestor she voted for Obama twice, Hillary Clinton and will likely vote for Biden this year even as she acknowledges his awful defects. But her history means she has no time for the other claim that this is getting bad now:

Not just now. For the last 40 years. Since before some of the signatories to this letter were born. Go back to the 1960s if you want to find left-wing radicals who loved free speech, and then figure out whether they loved it as a means to an end or whether they loved it for its own sake. What happened after the 60s, after they’d gained ground in academia and government, suggests that they loved it as a means to an end…

Off course. And she notes this latest whinge is the same as they openly state that:

This stifling atmosphere will ultimately harm the most vital causes of our time….

Well we can’t have that now can we? We need to have free speech until their causes have achieved their objectives. Then they’ll be happy to screw free speech and open debate. They’re just upset that some of their younger brethren in the Woke brigades are getting ahead of them.

14 Responses

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  1. Sad that “woke” activism is the new productivity. Society needs to find these brainwashed, over-socialised dilettantes something useful to do with their time. They will regret it when they are 40 with no career, no savings and no purpose in life.


    August 10, 2020 at 4:54 pm

  2. And how far behind can the State be once the likes of these mobs gain power in that area as they have in (Hollywood)

    I don’t know Tom. Perhaps you could ask people like Dalton Trumbo, Henry Meyers, Theodore Strauss, Ira Gershwin, Jean Muir, Lous Pollock, et al.

    Your hero, Saint Ronnie of Reagan played a big part in the destruction of careers over no more than a difference in politics.

    Gustavo Frink

    August 10, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    • ….over no more than a difference in politics.

      And I’ve been told by the Left ever since about how bad that was, implying that if the Left had the power they wouldn’t do that – which has turned out to be bullshit.

      As Althouse – who is of your vintage – said, the 60’s Left-wing radicals didn’t really love free speech at all, it was simply a means to an end that benefited them and once they had power in academia and government they dumped it.

      Funnily enough I came across Trumbo’s name in reading obituaries for the actress Olivia de Havilland when she died the other day, She stiffed one of his bellicose pro-Soviet speeches and he hit the roof, being the fanatical, abusive, nasty, controlling hard-line Communist that he was:

      de Havilland had been handed a speech by Dalton Trumbo for a rally in Seattle. The text seemed remarkably pro-Soviet, with no mention of any criticisms of communism. On top of that, the speech vilified the Truman administration as an anti-Semitic, racist, union-busting, war-mongering imperial regime ready for aggression against an angelic USSR

      I loved the history about FDR’s son wanting HICCASP to issue a statement repudiating Communism. Man, did that start a brawl, with Trumbo leading the way. Reagan sided with Roosevelt.

      With suitable education on the social issues Trumbo would fit right in with today’s Woke thugs. No wonder he’s your hero.

      Tom Hunter

      August 10, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    • Oh – and I dumped your other comment here as spam because:

      a) You’d already put it up on Friday’s Fulminations.

      b) It was off-topic trolling.

      Tom Hunter

      August 10, 2020 at 8:16 pm

  3. Reblogged this on Utopia, you are standing in it!.

    Jim Rose

    August 10, 2020 at 6:46 pm

  4. “One man, one vote. Once” was the freedom fighters cry. Well, they added the Once after getting the presidency.

    Max Ritchie

    August 11, 2020 at 7:40 am

  5. Bari Weiss – tried to get her professor fired in college because she didn’t like his opinions on Palestine. And no, she has not admitted she was wrong to do that or state that she has changed her mind. Her position remains: criticizing speech I like is censorship by pathetic snowflakes who are a danger to our rights, but speech I don’t like should be punished.

    Even though you frame each of the above as issues of “Free Speech”, no one seems to have stopped any of the above from speaking out. Free Speech does not imply

    Freedom from criticism.
    The right to be heard.
    The right to a platform.

    In fact, as defined here, Free Speech is only protected from government interference, and even that guarantee is not absolute.

    Some people find it easier to squeal that their rights have been infringed, rather than mounting an argument defending their cause. Sometimes thinking is just too hard.

    Have a read, Tomas, and inform yourself.

    Anne Tiffa

    August 11, 2020 at 11:40 am

  6. Free Speech does not imply:
    Freedom from criticism.
    The right to be heard.
    The right to a platform.

    By that standard then Trumbo and the rest of the Hollywood Commie crowd had nothing to complain about. By your own standard they still had Free Speech.

    Just no job, no career and no platform outside of tiny Communist handouts in the street.

    Glad to hear you’re cool with that. And here was me thinking the Far Left like you complained about all this and the Blacklist for decades.

    Gaslighting. Hypocrisy. Double Standards…

    Nah. As a Far Lefter you’re immune to such criticisms for you know exactly what you’re doing. As with all Commies the rules are whatever you say they are in the moment you need those rules to apply. It’s Memory Hole time.

    Thankfully there are a few members of the Left, including 60’s protestors like Althouse, to call you out on your bullshit. Just not enough of them it would seem.

    Tom Hunter

    August 11, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    • Well done, Tomas. You have missed the point entirely. You’re as thick as the biscuit gravy at Cottonwood.

      By that standard then Trumbo and the rest of the Hollywood Commie crowd had nothing to complain about.

      They had plenty to complain about, including being denied their rights under the 1st. That applies to all levels of government, including the HCUA / HUAC. They were alose denied rights guaranteed under the 5th.

      Now, which of your above heroes were denied their 1st amendment rights?

      And why are you so happy to support Bari Weis’ trying to get a College professor fired for expressing a view she didn’t like?

      I have never supported the sacking of people for expressing a point of view. You and Bari Weis however …

      Anne Tiffa

      August 11, 2020 at 4:05 pm

  7. You and Bari Weis however…

    Well that’s what’s so funny about this: Weis and company are all (or were) in good standing as US “Liberals”. Not that I’d take your word that she tried to get a professor fired (no link I see) so it’s probably the usual opinion/argument that you’ve turned into a “fact” in your usual assertive manner. But if she did, then this is karma.

    And the same goes for you and yours. The Revolution always eats its own – especially the moronic foot soldiers of the Far Left, the anarchists.

    That’s okay with me since you refuse to listen to warnings. You carry on dismissing the likes of Sullivan, Tabbi, Chait, Althouse and many, many others who don’t even come close to being RWNJ’s and who are the ones getting screwed by your comrades.

    I have never supported the sacking of people for expressing a point of view.

    You said earlier that the right to free speech does not include …”the right to be heard.The right to a platform.”

    By implication then you do support the sacking of people for expressing a POV.

    I’ll just refer you back to this comment from the article, which has you nailed:

    Go back to the 1960s if you want to find left-wing radicals who loved free speech, and then figure out whether they loved it as a means to an end or whether they loved it for its own sake. What happened after the 60s, after they’d gained ground in academia and government, suggests that they loved it as a means to an end…

    Tom Hunter

    August 11, 2020 at 4:21 pm

  8. Not that I’d take your word that she tried to get a professor fired (no link I see) so it’s probably the usual opinion/argument that you’ve turned into a “fact” in your usual assertive manner.

    After the New York Times last April hired Bari Weiss to write for and edit its op-ed page, I wrote a long article detailing her history of pro-Israel activism and, especially, her involvement in numerous campaigns to vilify and ruin the careers of several Arab and Muslim professors due to their criticisms of Israel. I chose to profile Weiss’s history because (a) the simultaneous hiring of Bret Stephens generated so much controversy that Weiss’s hiring was ignored, even though it was clear her hiring would be more influential since she would be not just writing but also commissioning articles for that highly influential op-ed page; (b) the NYT was justifying these hires on the grounds of “diversity,” even though hiring hardcore, pro-Israel activists for that page (which has no Muslim columnists) was the literal opposite of diversity; and, most of all, (c) Weiss was masquerading as an opponent of viewpoint intolerance on college campuses even though her entire career had been built on trying to suppress, stigmatize, and punish academic criticisms of Israel.

    A closer look at the events surrounding Bari Weiss’ resignation suggests she omitted some critical details about her toxic presence inside the paper, and may have staged her resignation to drum up publicity for her next move.

    Last year, she praised a column condemning a campus invitation to leftist Jewish-American cartoonist Eli Valley comparing his work to Nazi propaganda.

    She has also attacked Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour accusing her of having a “history of disturbing views” and “alarming ideas” citing anti-Zionist tweets.

    Now, was Bari Weis, or any of your other heroes above, denied their 1st amendment rights? Did they have their freedom to hold a political belief infringed by their government? No, just like Milo Milkshake and Nazi Barbie Southern, they have been called out and can’t stand the heat.

    Anne Tiffa

    August 11, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    • Well I gave you the courtesy of reading all three of those articles and:

      a) I see a lot of puffery and wild arguments about how her accusations were somehow converted into inordinate pressure on her targets. I saw one firing and the rest have gone on with successful careers – unlike the ones I listed, plus others I didn’t. And the one person I see there that did get fired could only argue a very stretched connection to Weiss. Arguing and debate in opposition are not the same things as Kancel Culture, which is kind of the point of my whole post. It’s argued that she was trying to get them fired but even Greenwald could only jump to the occasional politician rather than Weiss herself who demanded such. She – like you – was being a student activist and “calling people out”. It just happened to be your ox being gored.

      As well being exactly as I called it: it’s probably the usual opinion/argument that you’ve turned into a “fact”.

      b) Even if I accepted that assertion, for the sake of argument, it would merely mean that Weiss is a hypocrite in denouncing Kancel Culture after having exploited it. Big whoop! That’s exactly my complaint about the likes of you – and her and the rest of your ilk.

      c) I note you only have the usual single issue fanaticism about one issue – Weiss and her defence of Israel – which makes you her doppelgänger. All the rest of her: the bisexuality, support of gay marriage and abortion, bitter opposition to Trump (esp. Jews who voted for him), counts as nothing apparently. But I’d be willing to bet she used the same tactics in arguments on those issues – as do you.

      She’s just like you – but with different issues. She called her opponents anti-Semites. You call people Fascists. But your aims are the same: destroy your enemies and Free Speech and open debating of ideas can go hang.

      And of course I note you have nothing to say about the others, though I see one of your Far Left sources gets stuck into Sullivan which, considering his support for anti-Jihadist actions (gays like him not being big on being hanged by your friends) is hardly surprising. But of course that’s enough for those articles to throw him in the doghouse along with other “neoconservatives”. Or are they neo-liberals, considering they probably support much of that economic agenda (well, not Fang obviously).

      Oh, and BTW, I don’t know the professors concerned but Linda Sarsour is an outright Jew-hater. The term “anti-Semite” doesn’t even come close to describing that evil piece of shit. In a different time and place she’d have worn jackboots, double lightning bolt patches and been shovelling Jews into the ground or the ovens.

      Tom Hunter

      August 11, 2020 at 11:12 pm

  9. Oh – and I did wonder when Greenwald was going to get around to this, giving that he’ll be a target at some point also for some of his ideas:

    I find some of the concerns about prevailing viewpoint intolerance on college campuses to be valid, or at least reasonable.

    He’s going to find them even more reasonable in the next few years as the Anne Tiffa’s of the world expand their attacks beyond the campus. God forbid he might even find himself in the trenches with Sullivan and Weiss. You and yours are going to have chew through a lot of the Left before you get to the likes of me.

    Meantime I have popcorn.

    Tom Hunter

    August 11, 2020 at 11:25 pm

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    August 16, 2020 at 4:36 am

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