Женя (jenya444) wrote,
Женя
jenya444

неожиданно слева и о свободе слова

A Letter on Justice and Open Debate


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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 Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a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.

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  • 33 comments

  • Так выпьем же за кибернетике

    Ниже есть что-то от пьяного фельдкурата Каца, который "в казармы он не звонил, так как телефона у него не было, а просто говорил в настольную…

  • Два мига из жизни Довлатова

    В сентябре под юбилей Довлатова было обнаружено несколько интересных фотографий (Серман, Аловерт, Щенников) и несколько любопытных сюжетов…

  • Все тот же сон!

    — О, господи! — зашамкал обитатель бревенчатого домика, протягивая руки к восходящему солнцу. — Боже, боже! Все те же сны! Те же…