In a July 7 manifesto titled “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate” and signed by over 100 journalists, authors and academics, Harper’s is warning the world about the dangers of woke fanaticism and Robespierre cancel culture.
“Whatever the arguments around each particular [twitter-shaming or cancelling], the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal,” the essay notes. “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.”