by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Vox’s foreign editor, Jennifer Williams, reacted: “The Harper’s letter is revealing a deeper issue: Do we judge opinions/arguments on their merits or on who makes them? Does signing a letter mean you endorse the letter? Yes. Does it mean you also endorse the opinions of those who also choose to sign it? That’s the question here.” In other words, if you sign a letter, and someone else you’ve never met, and maybe even have never heard of, signs the same letter, are you endorsing all of their other opinions?
To most people, that is idiotic. By this standard, all vegetarians have signed on with Hitler. …
… Judging an opinion based upon who holds it is a formula for chaos and muddled thinking, because all it takes is one “bad” person to come along and hold the same opinion to invalidate or weaken it, and then “good” people have to abandon that opinion, regardless of the facts or merits. We may joke that if [insert hated person here] says the sky is blue, then we would believe that the sky must be some other color. But most of us have picked up the (sometimes hard-learned) wisdom that a broken clock can be right twice a day, so even the person you can’t stand the most could be right about something.
If conspiracy theorist Alex Jones goes on his program today and launches into a furious tirade about how New York Jets’ head coach Adam Gase is a terrible at his job, I am not changing my opinion of Gase just because Jones agrees with me. …
… These critics of the Harper’s letter have to be the most dangerous and unhinged — okay, second-most dangerous and unhinged — bunch of critics that Salman Rushdie has ever encountered.