Our Nation Cannot Censor Its Way Back to Cultural Health

"At the same time that the evidence of far-left intolerance is overwhelming, a few of us have been on a very lonely corner of conservatism, jumping up and down and yelling about the new right, 'Censorship is coming! Censorship is coming!' And we were correct." - David French

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Bert Perry's picture

Well said.  I've found that censorship is generally the last resort of the intellectual bully--or perhaps more accurately, the pseudo-intellectual bully.  We have a very unfortunate situation in evangelicalism/fundamentalism where we think that if we "filter out the bad stuff", we'll end up in a happier place, but reality is that it's an example of "for every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, elegant, and wrong."

A recent example is that Fox has been writing articles about a recent TV series about Playboy, and what's coming out is that the company very typically used intoxication and blackmail to keep their "models" in line.  In short, it's a pretty abusive setup.  Sadly, the one thing that is true is that it is "the girl next door" who is their victim.

Censor too much out, and all that fades into the woodwork....

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Is this the same David French who argued that it was OK to cancel Roseanne Barr because her offense occurred in the present and not several years in the past?

Why, yes.  Yes, it is.

The Difference between James Gunn and Roseanne Barr

Really?  You are making that type (false equivalence) of comparison in an attempt to point out a supposed hypocrisy of French? 

There's a huge difference between canceling someone because of (conservative or progressive) ideology vs. someone (Rosanne) who was fired by a major network for tweeting a racist vile insult.  Rosanne said that Valerie Jarrett, an African-American woman who was a senior adviser to Barack Obama throughout his presidency and considered one of his most influential aides, was the result of if the "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby."  

KD Merrill's picture

David French himself established his own criteria.  James Gunn, to whom he compared Roseanne, also composed vile tweets such as, "The best thing about being raped is when you're done being raped and it's like 'whew this feels great, not being raped!'"

The only difference, according to French, is that Gunn shouldn't be cancelled because it happened in the past (fewer than 10 years prior to French's column), while Barr should be cancelled because it was current.

His current column makes no reference to the "vileness" of the speech.  Instead, he portrays himself as a lion (my word, not his, but it's an accurate depiction) of freedom of speech without qualification.

Could one argue that Whoopi Goldberg's tweet was "vile"?  Indeed, some have made that argument, apparently including a senior ABC news source.  And, it fits French's "current" standard.  Yet, French cites this as an example of cancel culture in his current column arguing against said cancel culture.

So, it then boils down to what constitutes "vileness" and "currency.". Apparently, David French, who some on SI revere (one could almost compare to how some people view the Bad Orange Man), qualifies as the authority on both.

Bert Perry's picture

If we take a look at the difference between Ms. Barr and Frederick Douglass, the former was simply making an idiotic potshot at Valerie Jarrett, one that would generally found indefensible among middle school boys, which is saying something.  She was fired because her employer more or less said "you were employed because we thought you had something worth saying to your audience, and because you brought value to our brand--that is no longer true, and thus you are no longer employed here."  

In contrast, Douglass was bringing substantive critiques of the "peculiar institution" and a plan to end it.  Just a wee little difference, no?  Plus, "French does it too" is a "to quoque" or "you too" fallacy.  Such thinking really ought not have anything to do with our discussions, no?

 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

KD Merrill's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

If we take a look at the difference between Ms. Barr and Frederick Douglass, the former was simply making an idiotic potshot at Valerie Jarrett, one that would generally found indefensible among middle school boys, which is saying something.  She was fired because her employer more or less said "you were employed because we thought you had something worth saying to your audience, and because you brought value to our brand--that is no longer true, and thus you are no longer employed here."  

In contrast, Douglass was bringing substantive critiques of the "peculiar institution" and a plan to end it.  Just a wee little difference, no?  Plus, "French does it too" is a "to quoque" or "you too" fallacy.  Such thinking really ought not have anything to do with our discussions, no?

 

To quoque involves intent to discredit an argument.  I'm not disputing his argument.  I am employing a valid use of ad hominem to criticize French's inconsistency and using his own work to do so.

I could be wrong, but isn't the more applicable comparison that of Barr and Goldberg?  Both are "current" and "vile." Yet French is ok with canceling Barr, yet not Goldberg.