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A Probing Question

Cafe Hayek reader Dan Barbeau, in response to this earlier post, sends an e-mail with this probing questions (that I share here with Dan’s kind permission):

If [Nancy] McLean, [Brad] DeLong, et al., are correct that the advocates of the freedom of association must, by definition, be acting with racist motivation because that freedom allows racists to associate in racist ways, does it not also follow that advocates of the freedom of speech must also be acting with racist motivations because that freedom allows racists to speak in racist ways?

Good question.

As I noted to Dan when responding to his e-mail, today’s world – especially in the “Progressive” higher academies – is afflicted with cancerous opposition to freedom of speech.  These “Progressive” opponents of free speech cannot tolerate people expressing ideas and thoughts that these “Progressives” dislike.  These “Progressives,” therefore, accuse those who deviate from their holy creed of committing intolerable sins against all that they insist is sacred.  And then – behaving with all the toleration, humanity, and modernity that was shown by Torquemada – act with force to silence those with whom they disagree.

Fortunately, not all people on the political left have become 21st-century Torquemadas.  I know nothing about Nancy MacLean on this front, but I suspect that Brad DeLong is admirably no supporter of the suppression of free speech, so Dan’s question is appropriate at least for Brad DeLong.  (Note: please do not write to me to point out that Brad DeLong “censors” his blog.  Those action are no violation of freedom of speech.  A blog is a private space into which the public is invited, but only on terms approved by the proprietor of that space.  Brad DeLong has every right to delete comments from his blog and to prohibit particular individuals from commenting there.)