Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 18, 2020

Signees Of Letter Against 'Cancel Culture' Exposed As Frauds

On July 7 Harpers published a letter which condemned the 'cancel culture'. In the 'cancel culture' online masses seek to censor controversial speakers with whom they do not agree. Some 150 prominent writers and academics had signed the A Letter on Justice and Open Debate:

The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy. But resistance must not be allowed to harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion—which right-wing demagogues are already exploiting. The democratic inclusion we want can be achieved only if we speak out against the intolerant climate that has set in on all sides.
...

Said shorter: "Don't cancel the Fascist but, more importantly, DON'T CANCEL US!"

The people who signed the letter, all in influential positions, seemed more concerned with being criticized themselves for the nonsense they write.

Next to Noam Chomsky there were quite a lot of warmongers and false 'liberuls' amongst the names, for example David Frum and J.K. Rowling. These are people who are themselves prone to practice 'cancel culture' when they disagree with others.

Counter letters were written and published:

The signatories, many of them white, wealthy, and endowed with massive platforms, argue that they are afraid of being silenced, that so-called cancel culture is out of control, and that they fear for their jobs and free exchange of ideas, even as they speak from one of the most prestigious magazines in the country.
...
[T]he irony of the piece is that nowhere in it do the signatories mention how marginalized voices have been silenced for generations in journalism, academia, and publishing.

That the original letter and its signers can not be taken seriously was emphatically proven with this:

Jeremy Repanich @racefortheprize - 23:14 UTC · Jul 17, 2020

LOL. Thomas Chatterton Williams, who wrote the Harper's letter, admitted today that Glenn Greenwald was kept off the letter b/c other signees didn't like his views.

The signers of the letter against the 'cancel culture' had cancelled Glenn Greenwald from signing it.

I am not sure who should be more embarrassed about this - Greenwald or the other signers.

Posted by b on July 18, 2020 at 17:30 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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The signers of the letter against the 'cancel culture' had cancelled Glenn Greenwald from signing it.
I am not sure who should be more embarrassed about this - Greenwald or the other signers.

No reason for Greenwald to be embarassed - he is a fake Liberul like many of the others, and should have been allowed on the platform.

Interesting Chomsky was on the list, very contradictory character, hard to finger. I'd be interested what other people think about Chomsky.

Posted by: BM | Jul 18 2020 17:43 utc | 1

From a historical perspective, the term that most attracted my attention was "[the forces of] illiberalism", which is an obvious recall of the term "totalitarianism" from the post-war "center-left" intellectuals from the West.

History repeats twice: once as a tragedy, and once as a farce.

By the way, the letter has also been called as bullshit by the British leftism's newspaper The Canary:

‘Cancel culture’ is a myth. So is the idea that the political right is under siege

The key here is proportion. What is concretely happening? What are the facts on the field? What are the material results of each opinion?

Posted by: vk | Jul 18 2020 17:54 utc | 2

Essentially just more anti-BDS bullshit.

The neoliberal establishment hates any form of collective action.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 18 2020 18:03 utc | 3

Posted by: BM | Jul 18 2020 17:43 utc | 1

Chomsky is an anti-communist. Need I say more?

Posted by: barovsky | Jul 18 2020 18:04 utc | 4

I'm not surprised that JK Rowling signed this gibberish. She's got a really bad case of the ex-Celebrity Blues and is probably bored shitless since she lost her place in the spotlight. I think she's really, really cute. But... she IS a Blonde, after all so she should be forgiven on that basis alone...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 18 2020 18:08 utc | 5

@BM

"No reason for Greenwald to be embarassed - he is a fake Liberul like many of the others, and should have been allowed on the platform."

Greenwald wasn't "embarrassed" by being 'voted down' by the majority of the other signers of the now infamous "Letter", because he was never even "asked" to sign in the first place.

Here is his response 'tweet':
"1/ Regarding the apparent fact that the Letter’s organizer wanted to have me sign but the luminaries actually in control cancelled me (I was never asked), it’s been obvious from the start that the Letter was signed by frauds, eager to protect their own status, not the principles"

And calling him a "fake Liberul" (sic) is laughable. If anything, Greenwald is, and has always been essentially a constitutional Libertarian - opposing both the self serving conservative and liberal factions of the ruling corporate power party.

Posted by: time2wakeupnow | Jul 18 2020 18:27 utc | 6

To me, this issue is just the usual bloviating by people who take themselves way too seriously. What we have to watch out for is people who are in posesión of the Truth. Those are the people who are responsable for the most barbaric atrocities the world has seen. As has been said: opinions are like assholes, everybodys got one.

Posted by: c | Jul 18 2020 18:28 utc | 7

BM @1

Chomsky is a very intelligent man who has had the misfortune of having lived his entire life in a sheltering academic ivory tower. He's never had a real job to give him life experiences that could anchor him to reality, so he ends up just as vulnerable to delusional drift as are stupid people who have actually had real jobs. This vulnerability has only worsened as he has entered old age. Chomsky's attack on the Venezuelan government is tragic proof that he has become unmoored. What is funny/sad is that the empire's apologists, who would criticize almost every other stance Chomsky has ever taken, will defend him on that one issue.

Chomsky has done some excellent work, but I would strongly caution against putting him on any sort of hero pedestal. Chomsky's ideas are definitely worth studying, but not uncritically.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 18 2020 18:49 utc | 8

I think the Grayzone has done the best breakdown of this pathetic letter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om59ivszwOE

Posted by: John | Jul 18 2020 18:52 utc | 9

It's so much easier to have an hysterically convenient opinion these days, rather that be a straight person.

Apparently that seems to make you more relevant and 'socially' intelligent.

I disagree. I think we have a cunning twist in our monkey brains, that distorts our sexuality into to non-productive means when we live in a ridiculously over-populated and stressed society. Analogues exist in other primate societies, baboons and chimpanzees rape and bugger each other eagerly, lacking an agreeable quanttty of females...

I dare say we are'nt that different. Homo-sexuality is a response to over-population, not a a human right. It's a natural response to the fact that there are far too many people that is sustainable.

We suffer from a thing we have all been taught to accept called called economy. Which needs to constantly expand, otherwise it dies. And the normal way to expand is by having more and more people to consume, so our big businesses have more and more to sell to...

It's called consumerism, and that what drives the real economy, not the stock market (usually defined as the top-performing 500 companies, or the top 50 tech companies). How is it all the top companies are still making profits in the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression?

It makes no sense. The real economy is hidden. It's not about jobs, or employment, or actually making things. It's a joke, made up of invented money the big people pretend to have. It will all blow up, sooner or later, and our descendants will hate us for being such greedy, selfish, hedonistic arse-holes.

Posted by: Ant. | Jul 18 2020 18:54 utc | 10

The text of the letter itself is pretty anodyne, and not many would have trouble in signing it, e.g. Chomsky.

It's the underlying factors which are more complicated, and not mentioned. No-platforming from the Right is mainly refusal to publish non-establishment writings in commercial publications, newspapers and magazines. Well, they are private enterprises, and they can't be forced to publish what they don't want to. You have the internet (still) to say what you want, including MoA. It's not yet censored, except in China.

No-platforming from the Left, as again they fail to mention, is mainly students no-platforming unacceptable speeches at universities. That's wrong, but when you're a student you do lots of crazy things, that you might not do later on. I certainly did. Students should be allowed their voice but not to the extent of banning others.

The letter fails to mention these important sub-texts.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 18 2020 18:58 utc | 11

@donkeytale:

"Greenwald totally supported Citizens United which institutionalized legal bribery of the political process by the corporate elites."

Actually, Greenwald was "ambivalent" concerning the Supreme Courts "Citizens Untited"ruling, primarily based on his long legal career's defense of "free speech" advocacy.

Here is Greenwald's (non)"totally" reasoned explanation for his position regarding the ruling:

" The case, Citizens United v. FEC, presents some very difficult free speech questions, and I'm deeply ambivalent about the court's ruling. There are several dubious aspects of the majority's opinion (principally its decision to invalidate the entire campaign finance scheme rather than exercising "judicial restraint" through a narrower holding). Beyond that, I believe that corporate influence over our political process is easily one of the top sicknesses afflicting our political culture. But there are also very real First Amendment interests implicated by laws which bar entities from spending money to express political viewpoints."



Posted by: time2wakeupnow | Jul 18 2020 18:59 utc | 12

this cancel culture concept is fascinating.. i don't know much about it... so, it is supposed to be about silencing someone?? seems like a lot of the posters on the previous thread wanted to silence b!! i guess they are into this cancel culture...

@ 1 bm... i like @8 william gruffs take on chomsky.. that rings true to me... as for greenwald - enough people seem to hate him for various reasons, but generally i like the guy... i know bolsonaro was trying to take greenwald down with a lawsuit... this is the same guy who called the lockdown efforts a crime, so go figure... meanwhile brazils covid numbers are trying hard to catch up to the usa's.. bolsonaro actually caught covid and has been seen wearing a mask more regularly...

Posted by: james | Jul 18 2020 19:00 utc | 13

Left-Wing Anti-Communism is a career for the most studious reactionaries of American empire.

Posted by: dimitrov | Jul 18 2020 19:08 utc | 14

Even in https://theobjective.substack.com/p/a-more-specific-letter-on-justice the breathtaking cancelling of views that support Palestinian causes come up too short. The greatest cancel culture of our time has been, and continues to been, Palestinian views.

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Jul 18 2020 19:09 utc | 15

@ John | Jul 18 2020 18:52 utc | 10

Thanks for posting the link. Aaron Mate is one of the best journalists we have around.

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Jul 18 2020 19:12 utc | 16

I have tried to avoid this novel term "cancel culture". To me it has no meaning whatsoever outside of a particular context.

Posted by: Maracatu | Jul 18 2020 19:16 utc | 17

Laguerre 12

All mainstream news and blogs not on google can be accessed in China. It is google that is blocked in China, nothing else. I would guess US regime change operations, ngo's sites and so forth would also be blocked.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 18 2020 19:16 utc | 18

Really? You gonna waste your time on people who are generally in agreement with you? Dogma is not usually your beat.

Posted by: Bugs Bunny | Jul 18 2020 19:26 utc | 19

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 18 2020 19:16 utc | 19

That's the point, isn't it? Even in China, most blocks can be got around. The World-Wide Web as created by Tim Berners-Lee was a great creation for human liberation. People moan today, but they forget, or never knew, how closed debate was before its existence.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 18 2020 19:27 utc | 20

@ Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 18 2020 19:27 utc | 22

CCP-Google imbroglio has nothing to do with propaganda and censorship. It is a purely commercial issue.

Google, as is the case of any foreign company that wants to enter the Chinese market, had to petition to the CCP in order to get a license to operate in China. The problem emerged when Google wanted free and unrestricted access, while China (at the time), wanted only restricted access. Google played the role of the pigeon playing chess and got out of the negotiation table and threw shit to the fan to the American MSM. The American MSM then crafted this "great fire wall" myth.

The point of contempt lies in the fact that China has a national company in the same sector - Baidu - and a national Youtube and social media. If it allows the American giants of these sectors to get unlimited access to its domestic markets, those Chinese companies would be quickly out of business through unfair competition.

China has the largest middle class in the world, at more than 600 million. The advertisement industry potential is basically a gold mine.

However, in other sectors not deemed strategic to China, Google has a free hand. Example of this is the self-driving cars market, where Google can (and is) operate freely.

Posted by: vk | Jul 18 2020 19:36 utc | 21

the "cancel culture" proponents who actually do the most damage (as opposed to twitter spats and maybe blocking speakers from a college campus here and there) are the pro-israel types. frum's presence alone brings up that question and i'm sure greenwald's positions on palestine were a major factor. chomsky is ostensibly anti-imperialist and anti-racist but let's not forget he lived on a kibbutz for a while and still thinks the two state solution is a good idea whereas BDS supposedly isn't. greenwald has also backed taibbi to some degree in his anti-cancel stance so that didn't help.

Posted by: the pair | Jul 18 2020 19:38 utc | 22

It's a pity, Bernhard, that you framed this story about the motives of those who signed, or promoted the letter; rather than about the content of the letter. Why turn this appeal into another food fight of the vanities? It seems to just encourage the kind of polemic that turns all discussion into something personal. Dialogue is corrupted and becomes like the reality show where contestants are tossed off the island one by one. The cancel culture deprives people of their livelihoods. Its aim is to ruin people and immiserate artists and thinkers. The letter is objecting to conduct, to censorship transformed into persecution.

There is nothing wrong with the letter. It doesn't matter that people who signed might have disagreed on some issues with those who also consented to sign it. The point of signing the letter was to protest intellectual mob rule, to warn against indifference in the face of heresy trials and the expulsion of imperfect believers.

Noam Chomsky, Margaret Atwood, Adam Hochschild, Kamel Daoud, Salman Rushdie, all signed this letter. Matt Taibbi, another fine writer, was not invited to sign; but he said that he would still be have been proud to sign the letter--even though Katha Pollitt--a writer who "had tried to ruin his career" had signed it.

Posted by: Copeland | Jul 18 2020 19:39 utc | 23

@barovsky (4) "Chomsky is an anti-communist. Need I say more?"

Indeed, you do need to say more. Chomsky is a libertarian socialist, not a communist. He was critical of the Soviet Union, which he regarded as a perversion of true socialism. It sounds as though you are cancelling Chomsky for holding those beliefs. Well, go right ahead. I'm quite sure that he won't give a damn what you think of him, nor will many other people.

Posted by: Rob | Jul 18 2020 19:40 utc | 24

Laguerre

What do you mean "That's the point isn't it.. most blocks can be got around"

vk
Google as a company was created or works closely with the CIA and has been heavily involved in colour revolutions and so forth.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 18 2020 19:48 utc | 25

dimitrov @15

I take umbrage (UMBRAGE, I say!) at the suggestion Chomsky might be to the left of myself, but to suggest that his disorder is infantile seems accurate to me. Having a real job and being involved in the production process matures a person and grounds them in the most important aspect of human society at a very organic level. This production/survival character of society remains an abstraction for classical academicians (as well as certain types of white collar workers in management and media) rather than a concrete fact of life that it is for the worker.

For an example of this grounding, consider two youths. The first mows thousands of acres of lawns over years, tills megatons of soil in his neighbors' gardens, and washes thousands of dogs, saving his income from these tasks to buy a car on his sixteenth birthday. The second youth is gifted a car by his parents on his sixteenth birthday because they are worried about his self-esteem should he not have something other kids his age have.

Which of the two kids is most likely to understand the true value of that car? Which is more likely to crash that car the second day after their sixteenth birthday? Which of the two has gained a more concrete understanding of reality through their acquisition of that vehicle? Which of the two is now more likely to head down the path of delusion for the rest of his life?

Some middle class parents who have damaged their child through being ignorant of reality themselves by behaving as the parents of the second child in the example above will protest "But we made him load dishes into the dishwasher a couple times! We've done our parental duty of introducing him to the concept of personal responsibility!" This just goes to show that it has taken generations of progressively worsening delusion for things to get as bad as they are right now in America.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 18 2020 19:52 utc | 26

Posted by: vk | Jul 18 2020 19:36 utc | 23

I'm not that bothered about Chinese censorship of the internet. As Peter AU points out, you can get round Chinese blocks. That fact that you can get round them is a big uptick for the way that the WWW is organised.

I'm much more concerned by Modi's cutting off Kashmir entirely from the internet, and telephone communications. Have they yet been restored? I haven't heard.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 18 2020 19:55 utc | 27

#25 Copeland

Bravo. On point. End of story.

Food fight over, order restored.

Posted by: dbrize | Jul 18 2020 19:56 utc | 28

@ Posted by: Copeland | Jul 18 2020 19:39 utc | 25

There's a lot wrong with the letter. That you don't have the erudition to realize it doesn't change the fact.

Posted by: vk | Jul 18 2020 20:04 utc | 29

Laguerre

What the fuck you snorting Laguerre? "As Peter AU points out, you can get round Chinese blocks."

You are a complete shithead

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 18 2020 20:05 utc | 30

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 18 2020 18:49 utc | 9

Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) worship Noam Chomsky. My first encounter with far left politics was KPFA Pacifica radio. Amy Goodman gained national frame linking herself to Pacifica org. She was my must watch program daily and Noam is in her daily program. Nevertheless, I never seem to attach my political thinking nor any socially believed to Noam. When ACLU took money from George Soro, I decided never again watch her program and including anything to do with Noam.

Further Glenn Greenwald another fake liberal. I followed him/her since Salon. Another must go website. When Edward Snowden debacles unfolded, I found later it was Assanga and his determine associates Sarah Harrison helped Snowden escaped to Russia...

Sarah Harrison is a former WikiLeaks section editor. She worked with the WikiLeaks Legal Defense and has been described as Julian Assange 's closest adviser. Harrison accompanied National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden on a high-profile flight from Hong Kong to Moscow while he was sought by the United States government.

Posted by: JC | Jul 18 2020 20:08 utc | 31

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 18 2020 19:48 utc | 27

What do you mean "That's the point isn't it.. most blocks can be got around"

Did you know what things were like before the WWW? Me, I'm in France, and I had a Minitel, a great advance on the anything in the anglophone world, but still, you paid by the minute for access to a limited number of sites. There was a 'pink minitel' for the enthusiasts; it must have cost them a fortune.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 18 2020 20:16 utc | 32

"The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy."

This sacred cow of illusion is being threatened from all directions it seems. Democracy is great for whoever owns it, and whoever owns the media owns democracy. A cow well worth milking.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 18 2020 20:21 utc | 33

@ 25 copeland... thanks.. i agree with some of what you say... however, check out the link @10 john left... it's worth a listen.... as @ 16 Nathan Mulcahy points out - the greatest cancel culture has been on the palestinians and it is ongoing... cancelling bds is in their too... many of these people that have signed onto this list are examined in the link @10... you might enjoy the 30 minute video..

Posted by: james | Jul 18 2020 20:24 utc | 34

What the fuck you snorting Laguerre? "As Peter AU points out, you can get round Chinese blocks."

You are a complete shithead

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 18 2020 20:05 utc | 32

Not I suppose from the real Peter AU1. The real Peter AU is more rational. A revival of the problem we've had in the past of stealing identities, easy on MoA. Quite a good illustration of the problem this post addresses.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 18 2020 20:31 utc | 35

"The signers of the letter against the 'cancel culture' had cancelled Glenn Greenwald from signing it."

The guardian was the last mainstream news to be taken under the wing of the five-eyes deep state. That occurred when Greenwald started publishing the Snowden documents. Prior to that, Guardian did run genuine investigative pieces along with its tree huggers and gay flags. Now its just tree huggers, gay flags and hit pieces on whatever nation is the current target of choice.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 18 2020 20:31 utc | 36

The mark of T. S. Eliot intellectual elitism:

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

So, it's good to be aggressive if you're in the right-wing of the political spectrum, but you can't use the same tactic if you're at the left-wing of the political spectrum? And who said the left-wing of the political spectrum is your fief ("our culture")?

The rationale for this becomes clear as the text goes on:

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.

Ah, so that's the problem: counter-speech is the monopoly of the snob center-left intellectual living in his flat in Manhattan or in London. It's bad when it becomes "too common".

The letter ends with a corporativist call for privileged protection:

Whatever the arguments around each particular incident [N.A. - of "cancel culture"], 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.

[...]We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences.

Oh, ok - so it was all about protecting your own jobs, or, better yet, your previous status as the untouchable sacred cows of Western capitalism. The good times of the Cold War are over, it seems, and the cash and respect stopped flowing to those "intellectuals".

As a bonus, here's their list of complaints:

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.

Examples?

Just to give you the case of J. K. Rowling: she felt the heat on Twitter (which is a very serious authority...) from a couple dozen pro-trans blowhards and felt offended. That's it: no life threats, no physical altercations, no legal ramifications, no censorship, no State intervention, none. Is she really equating an insignificant twitter scuffle with political-ideological persecution?

I have a better idea to J. K. Rowling: get out of Twitter.

Oh, wait, she can't: she's a glorified entertainer, her agent has already told her she must keep active in social media because that's good for business. That "pro-trans" attack was simply bad PR for her.

And the last phrase is hilarious: "clumsy mistakes"? Well, if you're good and great of Western intelligentsia - most of them with English or Old English degrees in Yale or Cambridge - then you shouldn't make "clumsy mistakes".

Posted by: vk | Jul 18 2020 20:33 utc | 37

Laguerre 38

I have developed a lot of respect for most regulars here even if I don't agree with them.
With what you tried to pull @29, I have lost all respect for you.

"As Peter AU points out, you can get round Chinese blocks."

Don't ever try and pull that crap on me Laguerre

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 18 2020 20:49 utc | 38

Posted by: vk | Jul 18 2020 20:33 utc | 40

Complaints about the "elite". That just means you hand over your rights to another elite. That's what happened in Britain. Johnson "representing the people" is in fact the elite of the elite. You'll get that in the US too.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 18 2020 20:52 utc | 39

One of the signers of the letter, the New America Foundation's CEO and president, Anne-Marie Slaughter cancelled a critic of Google, a major financial supporter of NAF. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/us/politics/eric-schmidt-google-new-america.html

Posted by: Brendan | Jul 18 2020 20:57 utc | 40

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 18 2020 20:49 utc | 41

Oh yeah? Sudden anger without justification doesn't look good.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 18 2020 21:03 utc | 41

@the pair:
"the "cancel culture" proponents who actually do the most damage (as opposed to twitter spats and maybe blocking speakers from a college campus here and there) are the pro-israel types. frum's presence alone brings up that question and i'm sure greenwald's positions on palestine were a major factor"

Exactly this! Greenwald has been a major irritant to many of the letters signatories. You mentioned Frum, but also it would include the hyper hypocritical "cancel culture" queen herslf: Ms. Bari Weiss - who recently 'resigned' from her last pro Zionist platform: the NYT's.

Posted by: time2wakeupnow | Jul 18 2020 21:05 utc | 42

Laguerre

Go back and read my post @19. Perhaps you are dyslexic or have some other comprehension problem. If you have, just say so.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 18 2020 21:11 utc | 43

Posted by: Brendan | Jul 18 2020 20:57 utc | 43

Good example of what happens when you don't do what the MSM wants. MSMs are private enterprises; they can publish what they want.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 18 2020 21:11 utc | 44

Norman Finkelstein must be laughing out loud at the sight of so many hypocritical liberals opposing cancel. Did anyone in this crowd get 150 people to sign a letter of protest when Finkelstein got cancelled? Or when Phil Donahue got fired for opposing the Iraq war?

IOW, cancel culture is just fine, as long as it’s your side doing the cancelling...or if it’s Israel or the national security state doing the cancelling. CountrPunch, a victim of blacklisting themselves, has a major takedown of the screaming hypocrisy of some of the signers: https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/07/10/harpers-and-the-great-cancel-culture-panic/

Posted by: JohnH | Jul 18 2020 21:18 utc | 45

Laguerre @Jul18 18:58 #12

Students should be allowed their voice but not to the extent of banning others.

LOL. Allowed their voice as long as they use it in that the establishment approves of.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 18 2020 21:19 utc | 46

Copeland @ 25:

One problem with the Harper's Bazaar letter is its vague, generic character: it offers no specific examples of the "cancel culture" persecutions it mentions, such as books being censored for "inauthenticity" (while in the real world, truth is being censored and fake news dominates), or a news editor at a prestigious newspaper having to leave over a controversial opinion (while at the same time, the newspaper is sacking editors and reporters and destroying decades of its own history and whatever standards it built up).

The fact that the letter is even published in a magazine like Harper's Bazaar - is that not the same magazine that delights in front cover photos of Hollywood celebrities massed together? - which rarely "hits up" at the rich and powerful but along with other mainstream news media "hits down" on those without the money, power and influence to defend themselves, should be one indicator that the open letter is not honest. This is the sophisticated version of a phenomenon common in mainstream TV current affairs shows which run after small-time scammers and shoddy tradespeople working on their own but which never pursue governments or corporations poisoning thousands with toxic chemicals, bombing people in Asia or Africa, or scamming viewers with fake news.

One should be asking why Noam Chomsky as a self-styled anarchist signed the letter along with others who, as other commentators like Jonathan Cook have noted, have used their positions as journalists, historians, activists or analysts often to promote fake news or disinformation to promote their own agendas that are essentially anti-democratic. Chomsky is probably being used as a scoop to capture his audience (many of them adoring female groupie types in their 50s, 60s and beyond who live comfortable lives and have money) and that may be one reason he was asked to sign the letter. In other words, Chomsky is a marketing tool for Harper's Bazaar.

Since Chomsky married again, he has never been the activist he once was, even given his age (online reporter Stephen Lendman at 87 years still going pretty well though his output is much less) and one wonders how much influence Chomsky's wife (35 years his junior?) has over him.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 18 2020 21:19 utc | 47

jonathan cook has one of the most cogent, nuanced and accurate critiques of this Harpers letter at than anyone I've read. Very long and well reasoned, with three additional updates too. He takes many of the signers to task, especially in their noted over-whelming support for Israel, for which many of them are now 'suffering' criticism

https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2020-07-09/letter-cancel-culture-free-speech/

....It is easy to agree with the letter’s generalised argument for tolerance and free and fair debate. But the reality is that many of those who signed are utter hypocrites, who have shown precisely zero commitment to free speech, either in their words or in their deeds...

....The array of signatories is actually more troubling than reassuring. If we lived in a more just world, some of those signing – like Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W Bush, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former US State Department official – would be facing a reckoning before a Hague war crimes tribunal for their roles in promoting “interventions” in Iraq and Libya respectively, not being held up as champions of free speech.

....Chomsky signed because he has been a lifelong and consistent defender of the right to free speech, even for those with appalling opinions such as Holocaust denial.

...Chomsky, importantly, is defending free speech for all, because he correctly understands that the powerful are only too keen to find justifications to silence those who challenge their power. Elites protect free speech only in so far as it serves their interests in dominating the public space..."


And then Cook says, most importantly:

...By contrast, most of the rest of those who signed – the rightwingers and the centrists – are interested in free speech for themselves and those like them. They care about protecting free speech only in so far as it allows them to continue dominating the public space with their views – something they were only too used to until a few years ago, before social media started to level the playing field a little...."

Posted by: michaelj72 | Jul 18 2020 21:21 utc | 48

"Cancel culture" is the establishment's derogatory term for what activists in Belgium have termed "repairing history" (by taking down statues of racists King Leopold).

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 18 2020 21:21 utc | 49

The establishment's massive propaganda campaigns and psyops CANCEL the truth or make it unrecognizable via coloring and half-truths. Russiagate, White Helmets, Skripals, MH-17, Integrity Initiative, Assange, Russian Bounties & remaining in Afghanistan, "China virus", hydroxyChloroquine, etc.

The Trump Administration has CANCELED entire countries via terminating peace treaties, imposing sanctions, covert war, and conducting a propaganda war.

Where is the outrage from writers, artists, and academics about THAT?

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 18 2020 21:38 utc | 50

has anyone commenting here actually been targeted by cancel culture? I have and it's not fun having to talk to HR about why your boss is receiving anonymous letters trying to get you fired for stuff said online. in my case it was the celebratory tone I took upon hearing John McCain had died that inspired this gutless piece of shit to act IRL.

even the New York Times got a piece of the action by threatening to name the blogger behind Slate Star Codex. this is from New Statesman:

Scott Alexander are the real first and middle names of the author, a psychiatrist based in California, who had kept his full identity secret. However, as he revealed in a post this week, a New York Times tech reporter decided to write about his blog and the community around it, and intended to publish Scott Alexander’s full name. In response, Alexander decided to close down Slate Star Codex, claiming that revealing his identity would undermine his ability to treat his patients, and expose him to death threats, something he said he had already received in small numbers.

The response on Twitter, where many of the blog’s readers often dwell, has been one of outrage. Luminaries such as Steven Pinker described it as a “tragedy on the blogosphere”. Others such as software inventor and investor Paul Graham talked of cancelling their NYT subscriptions. The title’s “threat” has been widely described as “doxxing”, a term more commonly used for posting online the personal details of an individual behind a social media account than publishing someone’s name in a newspaper story.

by making things personal and consequential in real life, cancel culture is fanning divisive flames that could one day turn into a real civil conflagration.

Posted by: lizard | Jul 18 2020 21:41 utc | 51

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 18 2020 21:19 utc | 49

LOL. Allowed their voice as long as they use it in that the establishment approves of.

Yeah, you're right. I phrased it badly. The fact is that the issues that I protested about as a student, like the admission of women, rejected with ridicule at the time, were accepted without question a decade later, when it became more profitable.

Student protest is like that. They're well in advance of conventional ideas. How to treat them? Ideas for which the time has not yet come?

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 18 2020 21:47 utc | 52

Jackrabbit 53

Don Quixote's tilting at windmills. Like the clowns in the other thread doing battle with masks.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 18 2020 21:47 utc | 53

Laguerre

I had a neighbor once that I generally got on with. But then he would start talking - gossiping - about somebody else in the area and he would ask me what I thought. I was skeptical of his crap so I would just say maybe or I don't think so or whatever and talk about something else.
Then we would be at a local get together and he would say Peter said this and that about you to the bloke he had been badmouthing when talking to me.

It was what he thought but being an asshole without balls he would say that that was what I was saying. It give me a bit of an insight into what sort of prick he was.
Youve just done pretty much the same thing.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 18 2020 21:56 utc | 54

@ laguerre... read peter aus post @19... your posts afterwards quoting him doesn't make sense .. it would be nice if you acknowledged the misunderstanding as i think this is all it is! maybe you missed his post @46?? it looks like you are ignoring him posting after his comment to you @46..

Posted by: james | Jul 18 2020 22:21 utc | 55

Chomsky is a libertarian socialist, not a communist.

That is called an anarchist by people not afraid to say it.

I've encountered Chomsky several times over the years, and he has got his feet wet.

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | Jul 18 2020 22:27 utc | 56

Posted by: james | Jul 18 2020 22:21 utc | 58

I don't reply to abusive posts. There are reasons why they happen.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 18 2020 22:29 utc | 57

laguerre, i get that, but i think you are being unfair here.. thanks..

Posted by: james | Jul 18 2020 22:32 utc | 58

james

Laguerre has shown his colours. What he did seems have have been intentional as he can see nothing wrong in what he did.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 18 2020 22:38 utc | 59

Posted by: james | Jul 18 2020 22:32 utc | 61

Bit difficult to be fair or unfair, as he's never explained what his anger is. Unreasoning anger is very common on blogs like this; looks like what he's doing, unless there's another explanation.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 18 2020 22:51 utc | 60

Does Cancel Culture intersect with Woke? The former's not mentioned in this fascinating essay, but the latter is and appears to deserve some unpacking beyond what Crooke provides.

As for the letter, it's way overdue by 40+ years. I recall reading Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind and Christopher Lasch's Culture of Narcissism where they say much the same. What's most irksome are the lies that now substitute for discourse--Trump or someone from his admin lies, then the WaPost, NY Times, MSNBC, Fox, and others fire back with their lies. And to top everything off--There's ZERO accountability: people who merit "canceling" continue to lie and commit massive fraud. The Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers just jointly agreed in a rare published account of their phone conversation that the Outlaw US Empire "has lost its sense of reason, morality and credibility. Yes, they were specifically referring to the government, but I'd include the Empire's institutions as well. In the face of that reality, the letter is worse than a joke.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 18 2020 22:54 utc | 61

Jen @ 50

Hey Jen. I almost always find your posts well researched and incisive. Since you don’t live here in swamp itself you probably don’t know that there are two Harper’s publications. One is an old school liberal intellectual rag, the other, Harper’s Bazar which you mention, is a fashion zing. This letter was published in the former, a dot org site, not the dot com fashion site.
Otherwise you’re right on imo. Thanks for your contributions at the bar.

Posted by: suzan | Jul 18 2020 23:06 utc | 62

I have friends who say "I'm in favor of people saying anything as long as it's not offensive". But that's the whole point. How do you know who the assholes are if they are not free to express themselves? As Bertrand Russell noted:" In a democracy it is necessary that people should learn to endure having their sentiments outraged." And of course the SCOTUS has ruled repeatedly that "hate speech is free speech". People should never even lose their jobs for saying stupid stuff; just give them a stern talking to, like politicians and banksters.
The government supposedly can not censor people, but they can make social media censor people. Sort of like hiring someone to murder your spouse? Just more control of the narrative.
And Chomsky is just a good warmongering Democrat.

Posted by: Michael888 | Jul 18 2020 23:14 utc | 63

Laguerre @47: "MSMs are private enterprises; they can publish what they want."

Excellent example of why the MSM need to be nationalized.

All of them.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 18 2020 23:22 utc | 64

Posted by: lizard | Jul 18 2020 21:41 utc | 54

has anyone commenting here actually been targeted by cancel culture? I have and it's not fun having to talk to HR about why your boss is receiving anonymous letters trying to get you fired for stuff said online. in my case it was the celebratory tone I took upon hearing John McCain had died that inspired this gutless piece of shit to act IRL.
Imagine that your boss received an anonymous tip with video footage of you fighting in a local pub instead, and you got grilled by HR over it.
Would that count for cancel culture too? If so, then this is not (only) a question of free speech being under attack. Something else (or more) is going on here.
My counterexample is not entirely hypothetical. Few years ago an employee of a public utility company got in trouble because he got caught on camera being drunk and acting inappropriately after some sporting event.

Posted by: hopehely | Jul 18 2020 23:23 utc | 65

karlof1 "Does Cancel Culture intersect with Woke?"

I looked up a couple of random names that had signed the letter. One was an ex US ambassador and it now consultant to a private security company GardaWorld Federal Security. https://www.academyofdiplomacy.org/member/frances-d-cook/
https://garda-federal.com/index.html

The other turned out to be a 'Novelist'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zia_Ha
"Rahman was a college scholar at Balliol College,[6] one of the constituent colleges of Oxford University, and received a first class honours degree in mathematics,[7] before completing further studies in mathematics, economics, and law at the Maximilianeum, a foundation for gifted students, and Munich, Cambridge, and Yale universities. He briefly worked as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs in New York before practising as a corporate lawyer and then as an international human rights lawyer with the Open Society Foundations focusing on grand corruption in Africa.[8] He has also worked as an anti-corruption activist for Transparency International in South Asia.[9]"

Perhaps a small sample but Culture Cancel and Crooke's Woke most likely intersect, perhaps being one and the same.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 18 2020 23:30 utc | 66

GardaWorld Federal Security - Headquarters in McLean, Virginia (don't laugh!). I guess they don't want to be too far from their bosses in Langley.

Most employees work in Afghanistan. Minimum wage cannon fodder.

OK, so why is the CIA getting worried about "cancel culture"? Are they afraid that it will get out of hand?

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 18 2020 23:48 utc | 67

@lizaard:
"it's not fun having to talk to HR about why your boss is receiving anonymous letters trying to get you fired for stuff said online"

Or...having HR strongly 'recommending' to you that because of someone else's reported 'perceptions' of your personal (political) views....that you should then have to read that horridly ubiquitous screed: "White Frigidity".

Posted by: time2wakeupnow | Jul 18 2020 23:54 utc | 68

Peter AU 1 @69--

Thanks for your reply! Certainly some strange bedfellows that signed. IMO, intersecting Venn diagram-like is more likely than being "one and the same," but I'm very open to getting more input as both factions deserve a very close examination as Woke also seems to have a European component. What about Australia, Peter?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 19 2020 0:00 utc | 69

The point of signing the letter was to protest intellectual mob rule, to warn against indifference in the face of heresy trials and the expulsion of imperfect believers. Copeland @ 25 <= I doubt the point of the letter was material to its divide and conquer and control the narrative purpose . No matter its many faults, it still can be used as evidence the paid congress can use to pass the "clamp you mouth shut or spend 10 years in the Pokey" bill.

Google as a company was created or works closely with the CIA and has been heavily involved in <=by: Peter AU1 27 == global empire misdeeds? use duckduckgo.com

Modi's cutting off Kashmir entirely from the internet, and telephone communications. Have they yet been restored? I haven't heard. Posted by: Laguerre @ 29 =silence says a lot, excellent question.


the Harper's Bazaar letter ..offers no specific examples of the "cancel culture" persecutions it mentions by: Jen @ 50 <= the false flag purpose is narrative capture, block competiting evidence, divide and conquer interference while Congress passes the "clamp your mouth shut or spend ten years in the Pokey law. .

only in so far as it allows them to continue dominating the public space with their views michaelj72 @ 51 <= it worked, they got the space. <=It made headline news at the bar; consumption of its liquid has been without interruption. Nearly two days of left/right divide discussion. It blocked more evidence arriving about RF and virus infectivity, it blocked discussion about the New USA military base in Syria, about Yemen, Palestine, West Bank, Afghanistan and Libya. it turned off the ears listening to Neyanyohu, Trump and GM. The one reason I can think of that supports publishing the letter is that it will be used to provide Congresses, Parliaments, and other lawmaker groups, that they have an obligations to limit speech by rule of law. For hearings, little better evidence than a published letter, signed by those who support the Congress can be found.

Posted by: snake | Jul 19 2020 0:01 utc | 70

Peter AU 1 @ 69, karlof1 @ 72:

One significant signatory is Anne Applebaum. She is a member of the Council for Foreign Relations and is on the Board of the National Endowment for Democracy. Her husband is Polish politician Radoslaw Sikorski, of centre-right leaning.

Note that Gary Kasparov (anti-Putin critic living in US) and Fareed Zakaria (Newsweek) also signed.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 19 2020 0:21 utc | 71

@hopehely,

my HR person was pretty good about making the distinction between private life being private life and work life being work life. I had a few letter to the editor she took heat for, but defended me, explaining to the complainers about my rights to free speech.

your counter example is of an employer over-stepping big time into stuff that isn't their business unless it is somehow directly impacting job performance, imo.

@time2wakeup,

there is an antidote to that junk and his name is Matt Taibbi.

Posted by: lizard | Jul 19 2020 0:26 utc | 72

The letter seems like a low-quality effort, soon to be forgotten. I wonder who put money into it? And in Harper's no less. It's true things have gotten very divisive here, but then that's been the policy for 4-5 decades now, keep everybody pissed off, blaming the latest crop of loonies misses the point.

While I like some of the signers and some I don't, I can't see that much praise or blame attaches to signing it.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jul 19 2020 0:48 utc | 73

Suzan @ 65: Thanks for the correction, I had indeed got Harpers mixed up with Harper's Bazaar. I shoulda been more careful.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 19 2020 1:05 utc | 74

Posted by: time2wakeupnow | Jul 18 2020 18:59 utc | 13 But there are also very real First Amendment interests implicated by laws which bar entities from spending money to express political viewpoints."

With regard to Greenwald's opinion, mine is relatively simple: ban corporations from doing *anything* in the political arena. Corporations are *not* people, regardless of the legal myth that they are. Officers of corporations have no standing other than their personal standing, and they should be barred from contributing to campaigns, or lobbying for legislation or anything else outside of conducting the business they are *licensed by the state* to do.

This does not apply to incorporated non-profit organizations which are organized to do precisely what corporations should be banned from doing: advocate and attempt to influence specific legislation or policies or candidates for office. For profit corporations should be banned from doing anything to influence non-profit organizations, by the way, otherwise corporations will do an end-run around the ban on political action by funding fake "non-profit" organizations.

With regard to the large social media, there should be a law passed which 1) prevents them from being sued regardless of anything their subscribers say on their platforms, and 2) prevents them from censoring anything their subscribers say on their platforms. This was true on the street and should be true on the Internet. Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of the Constitution and should be protected on the Internet.

That does not apply here in MOA because MOA is a small operation owned and operated by one person. He has the right to ban or censor anything he likes. But if he was the size of Facebook or Twitter, he would have serious social influence. In that case, it would be justified to both hold him blameless for the trolls and also prevent him from censoring trolls.

Dealing with offensive people on the large platforms (and even here) should be done by providing the users adequate personal controls in their interface which enable the users to remove content from their view that they don't like, while the content remains in view for anyone who approves of it or doesn't care. Some forums have been doing this for years, such as Slashdot.

These solutions are incredibly simple. The reason they are not implemented is because different factions see benefit in not implementing them.

Naturally, as an anarchist, the solutions I suggest are predicated on the idiocy of having states and corporations in the first place. Otherwise, all these "issues" wouldn't even exist. This is what you get when you have a religious belief in the state and society.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 19 2020 1:17 utc | 75

Posted by: vk | Jul 18 2020 20:33 utc | 40

"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." Ah, so that's the problem: counter-speech is the monopoly of the snob center-left intellectual living in his flat in Manhattan or in London. It's bad when it becomes "too common".

Forgive me, but I think you mis-read that. The first sentence refers to caustic counter-speech. The second sentence phrase "all too common" refers to the "call for swift and severe retribution" - *not* the "caustic counter-speech." I don't care one way or the other, but I was confused by your attribution which does not appear to be grammatically correct.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 19 2020 1:31 utc | 76

A section quoted by Crooke in the piece karlof1 linked to

"A social revolution that would be pushed forward by radical children of the bourgeoisie. Their leaders would have almost nothing to say about poverty or unemployment. Their demands would be centred on utopian ideals: diversity and racial justice – ideals pursued with the fervour of an abstract, millenarian ideology.

And their radicalism would be resisted, Lasch predicted, not by the upper reaches of society, or the leaders of Big Philanthropy or the Corporate Billionaires. These latter, rather, would be its facilitators and financiers."

And Crooke's thoughts..
"So, what can we make of all this? The US has suddenly exploded into, on the one hand, culture cancelation, and on the other, into silent seething at the lawlessness, and at all the statues toppled. It is a nation becoming angrier, and edging towards violence.

One segment of the country believes that America is inherently and institutionally racist, and incapable of self-correcting its flawed founding principles – absent the required chemotherapy to kill-off the deadly mutated cells of its past history, traditions and customs.

Another, affirms those principles that underlay America’s ‘golden age’; which made America great; and which, in their view, are precisely those qualities which can make it great again."

The link again https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/07/13/is-this-awokening-a-revolution-or-not/

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 19 2020 1:35 utc | 77

Jen 74 karlof1

I would guess if all the names were checked, that the majority would be as per Crooks piece where he quotes Christopher Lasch..
"A social revolution that would be pushed forward by radical children of the bourgeoisie"

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 19 2020 1:45 utc | 78

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | Jul 18 2020 22:27 utc | 59 Chomsky is a libertarian socialist, not a communist. That is called an anarchist by people not afraid to say it.

Correct. As I indicated in a previous thread, people tend to confuse all those terms, especially "libertarian" which is *very* broad and covers right- and left-wing political stances.

Wikipedia's entry on Chomsky has this description:


Views on anarchism
In practice Chomsky has tended to emphasize the philosophical tendency of anarchism to criticize all forms of illegitimate authority. He has been reticent about theorizing an anarchist society in detail, although he has outlined its likely value systems and institutional framework in broad terms. According to Chomsky, the variety of anarchism which he favors is:[35]

... a kind of voluntary socialism, that is, as libertarian socialist or anarcho-syndicalist or communist anarchist, in the tradition of, say, Bakunin and Kropotkin and others. They had in mind a highly organized form of society, but a society that was organized on the basis of organic units, organic communities. And generally, they meant by that the workplace and the neighborhood, and from those two basic units there could derive through federal arrangements a highly integrated kind of social organization which might be national or even international in scope. And these decisions could be made over a substantial range, but by delegates who are always part of the organic community from which they come, to which they return, and in which, in fact, they live.

On the question of the government of political and economic institutions, Chomsky has consistently emphasized the importance of grassroots democratic forms. Accordingly, current Anglo-American institutions of representative democracy "would be criticized by an anarchist of this school on two grounds. First of all because there is a monopoly of power centralized in the state, and secondly – and critically – because the representative democracy is limited to the political sphere and in no serious way encroaches on the economic sphere."[35][41]

Chomsky believes anarchism is a direct descendant of liberalism, perfecting the ideals of personal liberty and minimal government of the Enlightenment.[42] He views libertarian socialism thus as the logical conclusion of liberalism, extending its democratic ideals into the economy, making anarchism an inherently socialist philosophy.

Views on American libertarianism

Noam Chomsky has described libertarianism, as it is understood in the United States, as, "extreme advocation of total tyranny" and "the extreme opposite of what's been called libertarian in every other part of the world since the Enlightenment."[43]

So even he gets it wrong, as *many* American "libertarians" on the right want almost no government, let alone "tyranny". But he is correct in saying that many don't address the issue of economic power. But as I've said before, get rid of the state, you get rid of corporations. Such a society would enable the people to limit economic power by their own actions. He also gets it wrong in that anarchism necessarily implies socialism, but at least that argument can be debated.

But of course, it's all irrelevant, since none of that is going to happen because aside from people like Chomsky, the entire subject is taboo. Talk about being "canceled" - try raising anarchism as a serious subject in this country. It can be raised in other countries, but not here. The brainwashing of people to worship the state is total here.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 19 2020 1:51 utc | 79

Galileo was declared a heretic and excommunicated for daring to claim the sun and not the earth was the center of our solar system. He and his ideas were canceled and he died in prison. Cancel culture is the economic and/or social punishment of people who hold unpopular, unscientific or politically incorrect viewpoints. Cancel culture has the chilling effect of self-censorship. Only the fabulously rich can afford to lose their job, their friends, their reputation. The criticism of the signees of the letter rather than the content of the letter itself is a perfect example and proof of cancel culture at work.

Posted by: willow | Jul 19 2020 1:53 utc | 80

The snipe against Koch's Trump was of Soros' quality. Ultra rich backer against other uber rich backer.

Billionaire Lives Matter.


Ayaan Hirsi Ali who signed, is not a fraud by the way; she has been canceled to speak many times before in the US: wrong view for a black woman according to the half educated white middle class of today.

Posted by: Antonym | Jul 19 2020 1:56 utc | 81

Posted by: hopehely | Jul 18 2020 23:23 utc | 68 Imagine that your boss received an anonymous tip with video footage of you fighting in a local pub instead, and you got grilled by HR over it.

Very interesting question, which could be summed as: What "right" (I hate using that term as they don't exist...) does a company or corporation have to act against you based on actions you've taken *outside of* that company or corporation?

A *lot* of businesses and organizations seem to think that because you are an "employee" (read: wage-slave) that anything you do reflects on their business. I can't see any justification for that.

I can understand firing people for being drunk on the job or otherwise compromising the functioning of the business. I can see people being fired for being an outright criminal who has been charged or convicted by a court. But beyond that - they should f**k off.

But as usual, there is a deeper situation going on. This whole "employer-employee" relationship is fundamentally an issue of power going back centuries. The term itself is a "prettied-up" concept to cover the blatantly unequal power relationship involved.

I've read many times in various places over the years about how "employee relations" should be managed, and what degree of "autonomy" people who work for a business should have, and whether people should properly be "independent contractors" (which, note, is a concept the *government* regulates as to who qualifies for *tax* purposes) vs "employees" and so on.

Harry Browne, the late investment adviser (and one-time Libertarian Party candidate for President), wrote a book called "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World", which had an influence on my thinking. One of the things he recommended was not tying oneself to a company, but even if you are an employee, acting more like a "consultant" than an "employee".

As usual, my concept is simple: I work for money in return for specific results (another Browne concept). Anything else is not your concern as my client. I believe "companies" (not corporations) can exist, but everyone involved is an "associate", not an "employee" and is essentially an independent contractor. This is how "companies" would operate in a rational anarchist society. No bosses, no slaves - and no prettied-up slaves called "employees".

Problem solved: except for the usual human bitchiness, which nothing can solve.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 19 2020 2:13 utc | 82

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 19 2020 1:45 utc | 81 "A social revolution that would be pushed forward by radical children of the bourgeoisie"

An interesting phrase that itself exposes the fraud: a "social revolution" is no revolution at all, and the bourgeoisie (people still use that term? LOL) don't have "radical children", just self-righteous ignoramuses with too much time on their hands (to paraphrase the classic Neal Stephenson line.)

The Situationists would have ripped that letter to shreds.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 19 2020 2:21 utc | 83

Posted by: willow | Jul 19 2020 1:53 utc | 83 Only the fabulously rich can afford to lose their job, their friends, their reputation. The criticism of the signees of the letter rather than the content of the letter itself is a perfect example and proof of cancel culture at work.

Uhm, I think you meant that the other way round. The signees of the letter are precisely those who *can* afford to lose their jobs. The criticism is of their hypocrisy.

I haven't even bothered to read the letter. Tacking a nonsensical content-free phrase like "cancel culture" to obscure the concept of "censorship" immediately turns me off such pseudo-intellectual BS. It's precisely that sort of lack of intellectual integrity that enrages me.

But this is what you get with humans: over-wrought emotional reactions that "cancel" the ability to reason logically from facts. If there is such a thing as "Original Sin" in humans, that's it.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 19 2020 2:27 utc | 84

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

From wikipedia .. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, a Fellow with the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at The Harvard Kennedy School, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[6]"

"After her father escaped from prison, he and the family left Somalia in 1977, going to Saudi Arabia and then to Ethiopia, before settling in Nairobi, Kenya by 1980. There he established a comfortable upper-class life for them."

Anther of the "radical children of the bourgeoisie."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 19 2020 2:41 utc | 85

And in case you do not know what Council on Foreign Relations is Antonym ..

"a United States nonprofit think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. It is headquartered in New York City, with an additional office in Washington, D.C. Its membership, which numbers 4,900, has included senior politicians, more than a dozen secretaries of state, CIA directors, bankers, lawyers, professors, and senior media figures"

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 19 2020 2:46 utc | 86

Laguerre @47: "MSMs are private enterprises; they can publish what they want."

In fact the MSM tends to be heavily subsidised by government as well as being largely financed by corporate advertising.
In Canada the newspapers, as well as receiving historically, valuable postal subsidies and tariff protection, now receive hundreds of millions of dollars a year from the Federal government. They claim that without these subsidies they would be bankrupt.
It is no coincidence that in the past twenty years, as internet competition has trashed the old business model the newspaper industry has ceased producing those investigative stories that 'sold more papers' and has settled down into a role of sprucing up government propaganda.
There are significantly fewer independent commentators, questioning government policies, now than there were twenty years ago, when papers like The Guardian and the Toronto Star published fierce criticism of imperialist war policies, including sustained and principled criticism of Israeli policies.
On the other hand the capitalist system itself is on the verge of collapse, and imperialist alliances are decaying. Both are still very dangerous, in the way that wounded tigers are reputed to be, but their intellectual and moral decay are evidenced in the cowardice of an intelligentsia that has run out of ideas and thrown in its lot entirely with that of the ruling class.

As to Glenn Greenwald he was brought up in Florida during the Cold War and, like so many Americans, his introduction to critical thought came from the right. It was as a 'libertarian' lawyer that he expressed his opinions on Citizens United. During the past few years he has moved considerably to the left, ditching the crippling anti-intellectual, anti-communist indoctrination that was the lot of generations of Americans born since 1944. We should be welcoming this moral growth not faulting it for not having arisen spontaneously in a society in which it was almost impossible for teachers, artists, writers, trade union leaders and politicians not to bow down before the Chamber of Commerce, boosterism and the vulgarity of capitalist economics.
In the burgeoning crisis generations of right wing 'libertarians' are going to have to wake up to the fact that what they have told themselves was criticism of the ruling class was often no more than a rehashing of right wing anti-communist talking points from the fifties. The clue for them is in the fact that their 'libertarian' trivialisation of the pandemic is almost indistinguishable from the views of proto-fascists like Trump, Bolsonaro and the Dorr Brothers. https://theintercept.com/2020/07/17/dorr-brothers-coronavirus-protests/
As millions fight to keep their homes or their right to work or a living, the empty platitudes of Adam Smith and the Austrian economists is not going to be criticism of a 'corrupted' capitalist system but a defence of a criminal cannibal economics, intrinsically intertwined with violent imperialism adventures, which will require the united energies of all of us to overthrow. And replace.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 19 2020 2:50 utc | 87

@ Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 19 2020 1:31 utc | 79

By my interpretation, they meant that "counter-speech", when massified, becomes "swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought". That is: quantity changes quality; it is only counter-speech when it is an intellectual doing it.

It is the same kind of differentiation many liberal intellectuals do between "democracy" and "mob rule": the first is when the liberal (pro-capitalist) ideology always win; the second is when a pro-capitalist ideology doesn't win.

Posted by: vk | Jul 19 2020 2:58 utc | 88

Matt Taibbi has some good words on this topic.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jul 19 2020 3:04 utc | 89

That letter was awful!

Chomsky lit up and burned out long ago. Go for his earlier stuff.

An observation Chomsky made when Regan had his air force bomb Qaddafi concerned media. He wrote an important work called 'Manufacturing Consent' about media. The bombing to try and assassinate Qaddafi came out of nowhere and was broadcast live on National Television coast to coast. Prior to the bombs blowing up school kids in Libya Prime Time National evening news had Larry Speaks for the USA Administration interrupting the news cast for a major announcement!

CNN and company had camera's right outside the bombing target hanging from hotel windows to film the fireworks for those watching at home. It was a major production effort. The show was a great success following which, Ron's ratings soared.

'The Great Communicator' was now a made man.

How, Chomsky asked, could that all have been possible, unless...........?

Posted by: Lbanu | Jul 19 2020 3:09 utc | 90

Laguerre:

Here’s the problem:

@22 you replied to Peter AU1 “Even in China, most blocks can be got around.”

@29 you replied to VK: “As Peter AU points out, you can get round Chinese blocks.“

Peter AU1 never said or pointed out any such thing, You did.

Capiche?

Posted by: krypton | Jul 19 2020 3:09 utc | 91

Only a sustained prosopography of all the signatories will disclose the left-liberal tradition of US intellectual life they purport to speak for. The dominant group in the list represent the successful ('star') tenured academics of top public and Ivy League universities. These have always spoken on behalf of a liberal democratic intellectual culture, funded directly by the government during the Cold War as the intellectual 'liberal' counter-weight to the Soviet intelligentsia. Like vk (@40) I discern a lack of critical self-reflexivity in the letter ('our cultural institutions', which are left undefined, as if we're just supposed to know...) and there is a kind of cultural gatekeeping at work (universities, after all, exclude the 'deplorables' from accessing the means of intellectual production). So their championing of a 'free exchange of ideas and information' rings hollow because they leave undeclared the inextricably intertwined historical relationship between liberalism and capitalism (ideas and their exchange are hardly free or even cheap to access). What one is left with, as other here have pointed out, are a privileged intelligentsia who feel threatened with the loss of that privilege while being completely unprepared to explain on what basis they assert the right as a class to dictate how their society provides and distributes that privilege. It is telling that they use the ambivalent term 'culture' as a way of diverting attention away from the underlying social and material conditions for the problems they're complaining about. They want a polite debate about 'culture' (i.e. no real dissent please) when for millions the time for politeness ended long ago. How would they feel about arming the poor and converting Princeton into public housing for the homeless?

Posted by: Patroklos | Jul 19 2020 3:25 utc | 92

@ 83 willow.. i agree with rsh @87... you have it ass backwards....

@ 92 uncle tungsten.... thanks... i enjoyed it... same basic overview as with aaron mate-grayzone which john links @10 but matt says it all more quickly..

Posted by: james | Jul 19 2020 3:32 utc | 93

As an addendum, I agree completely with vk @91: mass action is implicitly frowned upon as undemocratic. Silly proles wouldn't know democracy if they saw it in the sights of their AR-15s! The real threat this letter fears is the swift mass dismantling of the current 'ancien regime' of liberal capitalism upon which their academic credentialism relies in order to pronounce this reprimand. The fact that they can get hot under the collar about this non-problem while the largest vertical transfer of wealth in financial history is being perpetrated, should alert you to the fact that the proper object of their intellectual gaze is quietly ignored.

Posted by: Patroklos | Jul 19 2020 3:38 utc | 94

bevin 90

Laguerre always takes the position of the MSM. In previous times it has been about the middle east which he states that he visits and makes out he has an understanding of local problems.

In the particular instance, China is a place I have visited and had the chance to just wander around away from the international scene.

Krypton @94 points out quite clearly what Laguerre tried to pull on me. With his constant backing of MSM positions, I doubt he is anything more than an upmarket troll.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 19 2020 3:40 utc | 95

Just to add to that, nobody that believes various MSM outlets are privately owned and controlled (not state or deep state controlled) news outlets comes looking for a site like this.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 19 2020 3:45 utc | 96

Not sure how anyone can disagree with the sentiments expressed in the letter. One might question the motives or sincerity of those who signed, but the content is right on.

Willow. The case of Galileo has been distorted by those seeking to discredit the church and religion

Galileo supported Copernicus sun centered theory. Copernicus was a Catholic church official who had published his work in 1543 before Galileo without a negative response. When the Church adopted the solar based Gregorian calendar in 1586 it based its calculations on the Copernicus astronomical tables.

Galileo got caught up in the politics of the counterreformation which sought to limit individuals interpretations of the scriptures spiritual and moral meanings. The church had long accepted that the bible was not literally true regarding the natural world, written as it was at a time before it was natural world was understood so as to be understood by the people of the time, so reinterpretation of the scriptures was permitted in this limited sense

It was some fundamentalists within Lucifer Protestantism that brought the sense of taking the scriptures literally in all matters. That still exists among those who deny dinosaurs and say the world is only 6000 years old because the bible says so, and this was a position Dominicans within Catholicism agreed with. Thus, the Dominicans disagreed with Galileo that the scriptures could be reinterpreted based on a sun centered cosmology and he got caught up in a conflict with the post reformation church.

The church sided with Galileo officially in 1616 and overlooking the Inquisitions injunction against further discussion/writing simply advised him not to assert it was true. It was after all only a hypothesis unable to be tested and proven with scientific tools available at the time , and also so as not to confuse lay Catholics who were dealing with the turmoil of the reformation.

In fact, Galileo and Copernician theory were not proven until 1729 by James Bradley measuring the aberration of light. Galileos tidal evidence in his hypothesis was actually proven false in some respects, so fell short of proof necessary - scientifically speaking.

In any event when Galileo came to Pope Urban VIII about his plans for a new book the Pope asked him to treat his idea as a hypothesis and to acknowledge the Churchs authority in theological interpretation. Galileo agreed. Case closed

Unfortunately Galileo did not uphold his word and actually mocked the Popes position referring to him in a fictitious dialogue as Simplicio (simpleton). The pope was displeased and had him arrested in 1633 for going against his instructions.

He actually was able to continue working while under house arrest and publish a book on motion under the force of gravity before his death in 1642.

Posted by: Kay Fabe | Jul 19 2020 4:05 utc | 97

Richard Hack wrote: "Uhm, I think you meant that the other way round. The signees of the letter are precisely those who *can* afford to lose their jobs. The criticism is of their hypocrisy." Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Just because they're hypocrites doesn't make their message untrue. Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner, wrote
"All men are created equal." Should we shred/cancel Declaration of Independence or that portion of it because Jefferson the hypocrite penned it? No, because reasonable people this truth as self-evident.

Posted by: willow | Jul 19 2020 4:15 utc | 98

@lizard | Jul 18 2020 21:41 utc | 54

You should know better than to put real personal information on social media. You're supposed to use burner email/cell phone accounts for all of that

Posted by: Just Me | Jul 19 2020 5:20 utc | 99

jen @50:

Where Chomsky is concerned, it is hard to see how he could deny his principles and not sign the letter. He has been defending freedom of speech as a primary value of his life. Adam Hochschild is an eminent historian and gifted writer who also signed it. And there are others whose names are affixed to the letter; whose reputation and work is admirable, and whose erudition is not in question. Max Blumenthal says that the fight over cancel culture is a kind of internecine war taking place among people on the Left. But I think some issues in the letter speak to things that are worth defending. We don't need to encourage an irrational cult-like appeal to political denunciation and summary judgment. And to condemn the letter because a few others on the list are hypocrites does nothing to help us.

uncle tungsten provides a valuable link to Matt Taibbi at #92 and I recommend that. Taibbi is a skilled reporter who is great at explaining cancel culture.

Posted by: Copeland | Jul 19 2020 5:35 utc | 100

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