Just Keep It Off My Timeline!

This really gives the game away, if you think for five minutes. Nowadays “left” opposition to free speech in principle is more or less explicit, though not coherent. As I’ve documented before, a core dynamic in left-of-center American politics is the transition from “lol that’s not happening” to “lol of course that’s happening and it’s good.” Extreme social justice ideals from cultural studies departments were never going to spread outside of campus, you dumb idiot, and then they did, and suddenly they always knew that would happen and were in favor of it. Free speech is in the awkward zone in between, where lots of liberals will dutifully argue that they’re the ones fighting for free speech while many of their fellow travelers are insisting that free speech is an inherently reactionary concept. The cool thing now is to put free speech in sneer quotes, which ensures that other left-of-center people know you’re one of the good ones. It does not, I’m afraid, represent clarity about what they actually believe the correct perspective on speech should be.

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