Wednesday, February 22, 2017

- Ace Takes Down Ben Shapiro

I don't like to put something else up immediately after I wrote something I like, and I liked that last post. I really don't like to put something else up that was written by someone else, immediately after I wrote something I like.

But fair is fair, talent is talent and I can recognize it even if I can't produce it. So I know that this is too good to pass up. It's Ace's takedown of Ben Shapiro and the old right bastions he represents:

One of the left's recent inventions was the doctrine of "No Platforming," or #NoPlatforming, as the kids say on Twitter. The idea of it is that people should not merely oppose, contradict, refute, or rubbish statements they do not like, but apply social and economic pressure to block such statements from even being made at a venue they control (or influence). Hence, "No Platforming" -- we will blockade anyone from even providing a platform to people whose speech we don't like.

This is sadly now accepted by many quarters of the right. Perhaps it always was.

Ben Shapiro not only seems to accept the practice, but to endorse it-- despite the fact that he himself has been the target of many #NoPlatforming campaigns.

He begins his piece by sketching out a scenario in which a speaker -- no names yet! That's the trick! -- is disinvited from speaking at a campus by leftist groups. The #NoPlatforming works -- the speaker is disinvited.

Now, Shapiro asks you -- do you support the disinvitation?

He counts on you to say "No," but only because leftists pushed the #NoPlatforming. He claims you actually don't have enough information yet to make this determination, then, with a flourish, reveals the name of the successfully #NoPlatformed speaker -- David Duke.

This, I guess, is supposed to be a comet impacting the planet of your brain with great velocity. See, you were tricked. You thought the speaker shouldn't be disinvited, but then, when you found out he was a Bad Guy, you then agreed he should be disinvited.

But what if you still don't agree with the #NoPlatforming tactic? What if you still don't agree with the left's -- not the right's, at least not until the right's own cadre of Social Justice Warriors legitimized the tactic in a bipartisan uniparty sort of way -- tactic of denying speakers a platform, even if the speaker in question is odious?

What if you still believe in the classical liberal formulation that the free marketplace of ideas should have as few barriers to entry as possible -- and certainly not huge walls put up by minds fearful of hearing ideas they don't like?

I don't want to excerpt anymore. Read the whole thing at the link. You'll thank me.

I confess, I read Ben's piece in NR this morning, but I didn't think much of it. My response to Ben's secret surprise ending of the invitee being David Duke was "I don't know, I'd kinda like to hear David Duke's justifications for his positions." but that's me. I'm crazy that way.

As a broad concept though, I couldn't agree more with Ace's splendidly written take on it (damn him). I believe the right answer to bad speech is good speech, not no speech. I don't think any idea should be off the table as 'too outrageous' and I'm happy to show up to berate David Duke, or anyone else on the merits. And if you think that the only thing protecting your ideas is denying anyone else the right to disagree with you, it telegraphs to me that your ideas must really be very poorly supported. This is the state of modern liberalism, in my opinion.

But Ace's piece is so well put that I really do think it's a don't miss, even if it means me bumping my own writing further down the queue. (Again... Damn him.)

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