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“Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a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

‘We Do Not Censor Books’: New York Public Library Refuses to Cancel Dr. Seuss

Numerous other libraries follow suit.

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The New York Public Library is refusing to cave to the woke mob and cancel Dr. Seuss, asserting that it does not and will not censor books.

Last week, a far-left group called Learning for Justice forced the publisher of the books, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, to cease printing and licensing six of the works, asserting that they promoted “white supremacy.”

That prompted an immediate backlash, with sales surging on Amazon by a whopping 5.7 million percent.

Numerous libraries across the country have also stated that they will not remove the titles from their shelves.

The latest to do so is the New York Public Library, which serves Manhattan, with spokeswoman Angela Montefinise telling the media, “As with all public libraries the New York Public Library does not censor books.”

The copies that are stocked in the library will continue to be circulated until they “are no longer in acceptable condition,” according to Montefinise.

Libraries that serve the Bronx, and Staten Island, the Brooklyn and Queens have also all vowed to keep the books in circulation.

The Denver Public Library in Colorado followed suit, releasing a statement that said, “The freedom of choice in what a person decides to read is here to stay and the value of reading for any child is critical in their development.”

As we highlighted earlier, eBay has banned private sellers from listing the books on its marketplace, claiming that they contain “offensive material.”

Meanwhile, conservatives continue to ask the question; Is there one example in human history where the “good guys” have censored or destroyed books?

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“Offensive Material”: eBay Bans Sale of Dr. Seuss Books

Digital Fahrenheit 451 now a reality.

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The purge of Dr. Seuss books continues after it was revealed that eBay has banned sales of the books, labeling them “offensive material.”

Adam Townsend posted a screenshot from an eBay listing showing that sales of the books have been suspended because they violate the company’s “Offensive Materials” policy.

“Listings that promote or glorify hatred, violence, or discrimination aren’t allowed,” the message said, adding, “As a courtesy, we have ended your item and refunded your selling fees, and as long as you do not relist the item, there will be no negative impact to your account.”

The controversy surrounding the books began last week when a far-left group called Learning for Justice claimed that the books, which were written by progressive liberal author Theodor Seuss Geisel, contained “orientalism, anti-blackness, and white supremacy,” according to a study.

The study asserted, “Of the 2,240 (identified) human characters, there are 45 of color representing two percent of the total number of human characters. Of the 45 characters of color, 43 “exhibited behaviors and appearances that align with harmful and stereotypical Orientalist tropes.”

This prompted Dr. Seuss Enterprises to announce it would cease publishing six of the author’s books because they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”

Despite this, sales for one of the books on Amazon surged by a staggering 5.7 million percent, meaning the company was basically rewarded for caving in to the woke mob.

“If outdated political ideas are now banned, the list of books eBay refuses to list will be miles long,” writes Cassandra Fairbanks.

Meanwhile, Fahrenheit 451 moves closer to being a reality with each passing day.

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Facebook Algorithm Accuses 81-Year-Old Grandmother of “Hate Speech” Over Knitted Pigs Comment

Threatens to ban her account.

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Rita Rich-Mulcahy

Facebook’s algorithm flagged an 81-year-old grandmother’s comments about knitted pigs as an example of “hate speech” and threatened her with a permanent ban.

Yes, really.

After losing her husband last year, Rita Rich-Mulcahy, a retired teacher who lives in Australia, created the Facebook page to share with the world her love of knitting and raise money for The Smith Family charity, which helps disadvantaged children.

After posting a picture of her own knitted pigs, Rich-Mulcahy referred to them as “white pigs” and “high-viz pigs,” resulting in the threat to terminate her account over “hate speech.”

“It may seem a small thing to most people, but to someone who had never even had an overdue library book, being charged with using hate speech was frightening,” said Rich-Mulcahy.

Facebook issued a statement asserting that its automated system flagging the comments was a “mistake” that its AI “sometimes” makes.

The story once again illustrates how Facebook’s censorship algorithm, which gets stricter almost by the day as a result of relentless mainstream media hysteria, is completely broken.

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