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150 Top Intellectuals Sign Open Letter Decrying Cancel Culture

Numerous public figures including Noam Chomsky and Salman Rushdie oppose totalitarian march of ” ideological conformity”.

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150 of the world’s top intellectuals, authors and activists have signed an open letter decrying leftist cancel culture, censorship and the totalitarian march of “ideological conformity.”

Signatories include liberal icon Noam Chomsky and ‘Satanic Verses’ author Salman Rushdie.

The letter, which was published by Harpers Magazine, is also signed by J.K. Rowling, Fareed Zakaria, Garry Kasparov, and, perhaps surprisingly, feminist activist Gloria Steinem.

“The democratic inclusion we want can be achieved only if we speak out against the intolerant climate that has set in on all sides,” states the letter, highlighting how “the free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted” as a result of “an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”

“Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a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,” states the letter.

This is creating a climate of risk aversion that is preventing anyone from dissenting from the monolithic consensus of social justice rhetoric, creating a “stifling atmosphere will ultimately harm the most vital causes of our time,” according to the letter.

The letter highlights the fact that there are still some genuine “liberals” left in society who are willing to stand behind the increasingly endangered species of free speech.

However, some would ask where they’ve been hiding for the past three years since mass censorship, particularly by monopolistic social media giants, has been significantly ramped up.

The idea that an open letter will do much to stop the rampaging virus of cancel culture is also up for debate. Why don’t these intellectuals organize a major conference or a massive protest march to showcase their principles?

The irony of course is that if this letter gains any traction at all, its signatories will immediately become targets for cancellation from the unhinged, woke far-left.

The full letter is reprinted below.

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Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial. Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts. But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity. As we applaud the first development, we also raise our voices against the second. 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.

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: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty. 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. 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. Whatever the arguments around each particular incident, 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. 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. We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom, which cannot exist without each other. As writers we need a culture that leaves us room for experimentation, risk taking, and even mistakes. We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences. If we won’t defend the very thing on which our work depends, we shouldn’t expect the public or the state to defend it for us.

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Senators Demand All Internal Records On Biden ‘Ministry Of Truth’

“So that we can learn why the Department ever thought creating a disinformation board would be a good idea.”

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Five Senators have demanded that the Biden administration turn over all internal records relating to the now mothballed Department of Homeland Security Disinformation Governance Board, dubbed the ‘Ministry of Truth’ by critics.

The Senators sent a joint letter Monday to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas noting “We write to request immediate access to all records and communications related to the Department of Homeland Security’s new Disinformation Governance Board.”

The letter further explained “We are therefore demanding transparency into the Department’s decision-making process so that we can learn why the Department ever thought creating a disinformation board would be a good idea.”

It also takes aim at Mayorkas for testifying that he had no idea about the “long history of partisan public statements” of Nina Jankowicz, the person who the DHS head placed in charge of the disinformation scheme.

“On May 4, 2022, you testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee about the creation of this new board and accepted sole responsibility for appointing Nina Jankowicz as its Executive Director. Surprisingly, you testified that you were not aware of her long history of partisan public statements,” the letter notes.

The Senators included a list of demands for the DHS to provide:

a. written or recorded communications concerning the formation of the Board;

b. the agenda or minutes from any meeting at which the Board’s formation was discussed;

c. any legal review to determine whether the activities of the Board would be authorized by the Constitution of the United States;

d. any communications or records about the individuals who would be recruited to serve on the Board;

e. any communications concerning the appointment of an executive director for the Board; and

f. any communications with the White House about the formation of the Board or appointment of officials to serve on the Board.

The Senators who put their names to the letter are Josh Hawley (MO), Rick Scott (FL), Rand Paul (KY), Ron Johnson (WI) and James Lankford (OK). 

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As we noted last week, it appears the disinformation board is only on hold because it was exposed, with some warning that the scheme likely will return in stealth.

Mayorkas has picked former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff to replace the thoroughly compromised Jankowicz and to lead a “thorough review” of the scheme.

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    Big Sis is Big Sad

    Queen of disinfo gets dethroned.

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    It’s interesting how there’s a almost total Venn diagram overlap between ‘disinformation’ and information that embarrasses the regime.

    Funny that, isn’t it?

    Please share this video! https://youtu.be/X8XTDKDvmWk

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    French Open Warns Russian Players Not to Make Political Statements of Support For Putin

    Rules of ideological purity test set by organizers.

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    The French Open tennis tournament has warned Russian players not to make political statements in support of President Vladimir Putin if they wish to take part in the grand slam.

    Unlike Wimbledon, where they will be banned altogether, Russian and Belarusian players will be allowed to compete at Roland-Garros, but only under strictly neutral status.

    However, Russian stars have been cautioned that they will face sanctions if they express anything other than pro-Ukraine opinions in the media in the run up to the event.

    Roland-Garros Tournament Director Amelie Mauresmo made the tournament organizer’s position clear in a statement given to the press.

    “We keep the line of what all the European governments – and other governments – decided in March, i.e. national teams of Russia and Belarus banned, but not the athletes as individuals, as long as they play under strict neutrality,” said Mauresmo.

    “We will be very meticulous on that,” Mauresmo vowed. “[But] if any of them should have pro-Putin statements in the media, there will be sanctions for sure,” he added.

    This obviously sets a dangerous precedent in terms of the free speech of prominent public figures.

    Today, they’re mandated to support the NATO-aligned narrative about the Ukraine to be able to properly pursue their careers.

    Next year, it could be something completely different, and indeed it was when Novak Djokavic was punished by Australian authorities for refusing to take a COVID-19 vaccine.

    Who knows – sports athletes, actors, musicians could all in future be forced to sign up to some kind of ideological purity test that codifies their inability to challenge regime narratives lest they be hit with instant cancellation and career suicide.

    As we highlighted last month, Ukrainian tennis star Elina Svitolina demanded that Russian and Belarusian players be subjected to ideological purity tests before they are allowed to compete in international tournaments.

    Before Wimbledon slapped a total ban on all Russian players, then world number one Daniil Medvedev was told he would have to publicly denounce Vladimir Putin to be able to compete.

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