A Letter on Justice and Open Debate – Part 1 of 2

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

A who’s who of Writers, Journalists, Professors, and other people released A Letter on Justice and Open Debate. It’s actually a fascinating read; one of those letters crafted with just the right level of language to seem reasonable and intellectual at the same time.

If you’ve read articles about the letter, you’ll notice they use “Free Speech” and “Cancel Culture” in the titles of those articles… That’s not in the letter. The letter is much too high class to lower itself to using those words.

If you want a logical and well thought out rebuttal and analysis of the letter, I recommend reading: ‘Cancel Culture’ Is How the Powerful Play Victim. It does a great job of explaining the hypocrisy of the letter.

The free exchange of information and ideas

Let’s talk about, “The free exchange of information and ideas” that the letter talks about. It’s a pretty way of saying that everyone should have the right to their opinions and beliefs and be able to say them.

Taken at face value, this concept seems obvious and pretty straight forward right? The problem with this statement is that it makes it seem like all positions are equal. That’s great for pizza toppings or what colour should be used as a logo. It’s not so great for social issues.

Let’s take this to a ridiculous extreme and say there’s an author who is also a Flat-Earther. They truly believe the earth is flat and that all of human science and space exploration is a hoax. Now, should we be teaching this in schools? Should this opinion be mentioned in all NASA reports? Should the opinion be mentioned in every news story that uses the word “globe”? No, of course not.

Great A’Tuin, the Giant Star Turtle who travels through space carrying the four giant elephants (Berilia, Tubul, Great T’Phon, and Jerakeen) who in turn carry the Discworld.
“a geological pizza but without the anchovies”.
Terry Pratchett
Patreon www.patreon.com/jinn

Now take this same outspoken author. Should they be ridiculed and argued with online? Should their position on the shape of the globe affect if they get space on other people’s platforms? Should their opinions affect if they get a job in news, aerospace, or defence? I say yes.

Now replace that with something more harmful, like believing a certain type of person is lesser than another.

Giving equal time and weight to false, harmful, or outright hateful opinions or positions validates and normalizes them.

The earth is round, and allowing Flat-Earthers to debate as if their position is valid is a farce. The same goes for TERFs, Racists, Holocaust Deniers, Anti-vaxxers, Covid-19 hoaxers, and many other positions that are false and harmful.

None of the signatories of this letter have been silenced, they have massive traditional or social media profiles. Are they being criticized and shut out? Yes, but that’s part of a “free exchange of information and ideas”. They are free to put out their ideas and we are free to tell them if it’s hurtful, hateful, or wrong.

None of them have been Cancelled; they’ve been chastised, but that’s a different post.

Be kind to each other,

Éric

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