by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Mytheos Holt of the Institute for Liberty devotes a column for The Federalist website to the apparent double standard among those trying to silence free speech, an issue that’s also covered in greater depth in Guy Benson and Mary Katharine Ham’s book End of Discussion.
Holt specifically takes aim at feminists who try to shut down comments that might have a “chilling effect” on reports of sexual assault.
[T]hey are not simply supporters of the unbridled right to criticize. Rather, they are well aware of what a chilling effect is and that their shaming tactics can have one, and they further believe that this is fine, because they think their enemies don’t deserve to speak. You see this in the unbridled racism of Suey Park, or the nauseating double standards advocated by the likes of Anita Sarkeesian.
The message is always the same: When you do it to us, it’s a chilling effect, but when we do it to you, it doesn’t count, because you’re some combination of white, male, and privileged. “Rights for me, but not for thee” is the subconscious rallying cry of the new Left, and every feminist who supported the attack on [Northwestern professor Laura] Kipnis just dragged that ugly message to the forefront. That is, if certain commentators outright admitting to believing this didn’t already do so.
These advocates of oppression as a protection racket against criticism are to be congratulated for their honesty, and they have a right to their opinions. But the fact that these opinions are driving the dismissal of free speech claims on the feminist Left is a piece of knowledge that conservatives, libertarians and liberal defenders of speech should never let the world forget. And even when the chilling effect reaches subzero temperatures, they should continue to breathe fire at the blizzard of special snowflakes causing it.
The best way to defend free speech in the modern age is not to shut up.