Author of Why Are We Yelling? — a book about the art of productive disagreement. I run 750words.com. Previously product at Patreon, Slack, Twitter, and Amazon.
…alia of it all—paper and pens and apps. And I loved the identity that I saw in people who journaled—this was a person who thought things worth writing down. Not a person like me with a crazy miasma swirling around in my own mind.
…e currently in government, most of whom are civil servants, they have to go along” with any effort. Further, the constitutional process of transfer of power does not require any “pomp and circumstance”; if Trump loses, he is no longer president as of noon on January 20, 2021, regardless of where he remains physically. Even if he bunkers down in the White House and tweets orders at government officials, he will lack any legal power.
…s about you and your friends, plus protests, boycotts, and disassociations of which you disapprove. It’s not enough to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. Model the behavior. Show that it’s doable. Some free speech defenders do, but many do not.
Because the hard part isn’t telling other people to be more open to ideas they don’t like. It’s drawing the lines of socially acceptable expression and determining appropriate responses to transgressing those norms. It’s accepting that an open discourse means you’ll encounter speech that bothers you, including neg…
And this is one of those arguments that’s especially undermined by hypocrisy. When Jordan Peterson or Quillette editor Claire Lehmann threaten litigation against people who criticize them; when Bret Stephens sees a joke at his expense on Twitter and emails the jokester’s boss; when Bari Weiss publicly supports deplatforming critics of Israel; when James Lindsay repeatedly misrepresents people and argues in bad faith; when Thomas Chatterton Williams broadcasts that he kicked someone out of his house for speaking ill of Weiss, it communicates that their free speech arguments are not principles, but rhetorical conveniences.
Activists have identified various expressions as racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or otherwise bigoted and argue that treating those expressions as beyond the pale — like we treat overt racial slurs and Holocaust denial — would improve society by making historically marginalized people closer to equal. One could disagree with this line of argument, of course, but it’s been pretty successful, influenc…
That’s what social justice activists are doing: pushing for certain expressions, such as telling a transwoman “you’re really a man” or flying the Confederate battle flag, to join “n*****” and “f*****” on the socially unacceptable side of the line.
While both sides of this debate cast it in sweeping, sometimes civilizational terms, the entire thing takes place within point three: Which expressions should be beyond the pale, and how should private actors punish transgressions?