On Tuesday, Harper’s published a letter on what the WSJ describes as the “ferocious campaign of coerced conformity sweeping America’s liberal institutions as they purge dissent from the hard-left line.”
- 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- Books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity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
Statement Signed by 150+ Writers, Academics
The online left erupted in betrayal, continues the WSJ. It can’t decide whether left-wing censorship is a myth “invented by its enemies or a necessary tactic for destroying them.”
It wasn’t long before the renunciations began. Jennifer Finney Boylan, a frequent New York Times contributor who had signed the letter, pleaded for forgiveness on Twitter. She had not realized that not all the signatories were of the caliber of the socialist intellectual Noam Chomsky, she wrote. “The consequences,” she added, “are mine to bear. I am so sorry.”
A Narrative Worthy of Tom Wolfe
There is a significant layer of hypocrisy here; many free-speech liberals tolerate left-wing mobs when their furies are aimed at conservatives. But now that the purge of conservatives from America’s flagship intellectual institutions is almost complete, new enemies are needed, and it’s no surprise that the left is descending into mutual backstabbing.
Society benefits when both its left and right coalitions accept basic free-speech principles. Yet if the intolerance turns out to be self-perpetuating and unstoppable, we have a humble suggestion for any remaining signatories of the Harper’s letter:
Consider a political belief system that is not premised on the transformation of society, that is built on the sanctity of traditional rights, and that abhors the certainty of revolutionary vanguards.