A Classical Liberal Critique of Dave Rubin (Re Cathy Young)

Welcome to TaraElla Report Radio, where we revisit and Rethink the fundamental Classical Liberal ideals and values for the 21st century. We look at free speech, individual liberty, equal opportunity, civilizational values, economic policy, culture, and most importantly, maintaining a truly open minded stance on everything. I hope you subscribe if you are interested.

Today, I want to continue my discussion about the broader picture of classical liberalism, and why the free speech movement isn’t doing so well right now. I want to start by sort of responding to Cathy Young’s recent comments on Dave Rubin in an article published on Quilette. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still like Dave Rubin, and I’m glad that he seems to have finally taken on my suggestion to get Andrew Yang on his show. But Cathy Young, who is a journalist with lots of credibility, certainly made some very valid points about where our movement is going, and I think we ignore her at our peril. The truth is, the free speech movement is losing credibility in some segments of society, and I’m afraid we don’t have too much time to turn that around.

One important criticism Young made about Rubin is that he seems to be only focused on identity politics on the left, and generally ignores identity politics on the right. As classical liberals, we should endeavour to remove all identity considerations from politics, so that one day everyone will judge ideas solely on their merit. On the other hand, the right is far from free of identity politics either, and it would be a mistake to ignore that. In fact, a big part of the right’s whole brand nowadays is that they are the opposite of the SJW-left, and if you define yourself against the SJW-left, that’s enough reason to vote Republican or Conservative. Now, this is clearly identity politics, even if it is a different kind to what we find on the left. I have yet to hear Rubin talk about this at all.

Another criticism raised in the article is that the some people in the free speech movement, as it stands, are too uncritical of ideas that are actually racist, homophobic, or otherwise pro-discrimination. This is reflected in Rubin’s uncritical attitude towards his guests, some of whom have ideas that are clearly not compatible with the classical liberal demands of individual freedom, equality and dignity.

As I made it clear in my comments on the recent Steven Crowder controversy, as classical liberals we should uphold everyone’s right to free speech without punishment, but we also have a responsibility to use our free speech to advance classical liberal positions in the free market of ideas. I made it clear that, while I strongly disagree with attempts to de-platform Crowder, I won’t shy away from pointing out the damage to his own credibility his so-called jokes have caused, and why he is not a good example for classical liberals. I also strongly disagree with almost everything he has said about LGBT people and issues, and I recommitted to using my own free speech to argue for the case of acceptance and inclusion.

My point is that, we need to not just defend free speech itself, but also participate in the free market of ideas with our own conscience and our own passion, if we are to be credible. What the free speech movement needs is more disagreements, more blunt comments, and more heated arguments. If Rubin is serious about being a classical liberal intellectual, I think he should be less afraid to upset his guests or even his audience, because, well, the fact is that we disagree with each other a lot of the time, and we shouldn’t withhold from saying something just because someone may get upset.

Finally, and this ties in to the whole ‘Rubin is too lenient on the right’ thing, we need to recognize the authoritarian tendencies on both sides. In the past decade or so, the authoritarians have prevailed more on the cultural left, and the libertarians have prevailed more on the cultural right, but this is a liquid thing, something that could even change within two years. I even suspect where we are currently at is the result of the power balance that the Obama administration left behind, and things may start shifting quite soon. I still remember back when I was in college, which is like just over a decade ago, the right used to be the authoritarian ones, when they sought to ban gay marriage, censor video games, and even ban certain fashion items. Given that all this was less than 15 years ago, it would be unrealistic to think that the authoritarian side of the right is completely gone.

In fact, just last month, conservative intellectual Sohrab Ahmari made the case for a return to the kind of conservatism where the right wouldn’t shy away from using government power to fight the culture wars, taking aim at his fellow conservative intellectual David French for taking the libertarian route, which Ahmari says would lead to the Left’s victory. Quite a few prominent conservative thinkers have reacted positively to Ahmari’s piece, and I think it has been particularly well received in the religious right, the faction that was behind a lot of the right-wing authoritarianism during the Bush era. I think we need to keep in mind that the right isn’t just Donald Trump, young internet libertarians and free market Never-Trumpers.

There is still an ongoing battle for the future of the right, and the authoritarian types are far from defeated. Knowing this, I think liberty-minded people left, right and center should join forces to oppose authoritarianism everywhere.

That’s all for today. I’ll be back next time to discuss another big idea. Subscribe if you want to follow our story. And remember to resist the hive mind and stay individualistic. The world depends on it.

Originally published at http://taraellastylia.blogspot.com.

TaraElla is a singer-songwriter, independent journalist and author, who is passionate about free speech, liberty and equality. She is the author of the Moral Libertarian Horizon books, which focus on developing a moral case for freedom-based politics in the 21st century.



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Author & musician. Moral Libertarian. Disrupting the woke vs anti-woke echo chambers and making the West truly liberal again. https://www.taraella.com