"I have nourished a serpent by my bosom. That is why I got the salary that I deserved ”- says the farmer in Æsop's fable about the farmer being bitten by the same snake that he himself had raised.
Ezra Klein is the epitome of the American, so-called left-wing intellectual elite: a journalist with backgrounds with both the Washington Post and MSNBC, blogger, and now editor of the left-wing blogging platform Vox. There are many indications that he is also the epitome of the growing totalitarianism prevailing in the "liberal" middle-class segment, that so far has had resistance against Trump, identity-political dictatorships, and support for anti-white racism in Black Lives Matter as their preliminary focal points.
It is both astonishing and disturbing to follow how all opposition to these new, totalitarian currents has been swept out of the way, and not least: with the rapid ease these leftist intellectuals have thrown away on the trash heap all the pillars of democracy. Thus, in a tweet on July 8, Ezra Klein writes: “A lot of debates that sell themselves as being about free speech are actually about power. And there´s *a lot* of power in being able to claim and hold the mantle of free speech defender”
Turning legal debates on freedom of speech into a matter of unjustified power of opinion is not only an extremely totalitarian view - it also illustrates how far off the democratic track the American Left has come. If you combine Ezra Klein's tweet with the leftist wave of violence and vandalism that is currently ravaging the United States, the message is not to be mistaken: All opinions that fall outside the ever narrower leftist / identity political scope, is an expression of the reactionary exercising of power by white supremacists, and must be suppressed by any and all means.
Now, however, it seems that the identity-political scope has become so narrow that it is beginning to exclude the views of its own supporters: At the same time as Ezra Klein's tweet, more than 100 liberal writers published an open letter on "Justice and Open Debate" in the US magazine Harper´s, in which they recognize the noble purpose of identity politics, but at the same time note that it has brought “…a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and tolerance of differences in favor of ideological conformity".
It all sounds very good, but before completely surrendering to the so-called liberal elite's defense of free debate, it is worth noting that several of the signatories themselves have been exposed to the rage of the so called inclusive Left. The most prominent is Harry Potter's mother, the author J. K. Rowling, who, a month ago, was thoughtless enough to send out a tweet stating that “…erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to discuss their lives”. That message sent the author into a violent shitstorm from the very segment of opinion that she thought she belonged to.
Unfortunately, there is every reason to fear that the fine letter in Harper´s should be seen more in the light of the signatories' own growing problems in staying within the shrinking identity-political scope, and free from the consequences of falling outside - than as a heartfelt desire to let their own opponents speak. In that perspective, the letter in Harper´s unfortunately only illustrates that the left-wing elite only react when they get a taste of their own medicine - and in that case only to save themselves.
The letter in Harper's is similar to the confusion of the British Free Speech Union, formed earlier this year by journalist Toby Young. It was initially intended to support academics, journalists, writers and poets who "live by expressing and communicating ideas ”, as Toby Young put it in an interview, but who was later pressured to also include “ordinary” people in order not to be a complete laughing stock. Since its inception, little has been heard of the movement, which was very reluctant to admit the English free speech activist Tommy Robinson, whose right to freedom of speech the organization would never dream of defending.
The 100 signatories of the letter in Harper´s are not a laughing stock, but there is reason to doubt the sincerity of their defense of open debate: all indications are that it is first and foremost their own freedom of speech they are preoccupied with. At any rate they all have excelled in proudly going with the flow, and so far neither of them have otherwise lifted a finger for the right of others to express diverging views. And none of the signatories have challenged the powerful Ezra Klein on his totalitarian tweet. That would otherwise have been a good place to start their quest for free speech and open debate.