The Selective Free Speech Warrior
A backlash against the #MeToo movement rages, with conservatives spluttering about the awful feminists posing an existential threat to liberal democratic order, or some such thing. Look, I am not a fan of Twitter’s mob mentality even when I agree with the mob. But that’s the nature of the medium, a problem not isolated to just anti-sexual harassment activists.
This backlash is a massively disproportionate response, indicative of a highly distorted media universe where pundits are rewarded for saying that the nation’s biggest problems originate with liberals — remember the obsession with “PC on campus” during the election? As I have noted elsewhere, the speech concept has been utterly perverted to suit right wing efforts to chill speech.
A few relevant links:
The linguist and progressive activist George Lakoff, author of “Don’t Think of an Elephant”, is being sued for defamation by a wealthy Georgian-American businessman who was present at the infamous Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer. Lakoff cited the businessman’s alleged involvement in money-laundering in a TV interview. The businessman’s legal team includes a lawyer who represented Trump in a previous lawsuit. I find this incredibly chilling, and deserving of much, much wider coverage than it’s getting. Lakoff has a GoFundMe set up for his legal expenses.
Also deserving major headlines is the plight of the “J20” inauguration protesters still facing felony rioting charges. Many had their charges dropped, but 59 people still face the possibility of years in prison for merely being present when a few people engaged in vandalism. This is huge news with major implications for the right to protest.
Then there’s the “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act.” In this day and age of neo-Nazis, it sounds fine, right? But in practice, it conflates legitimate criticism of the Israeli government with bigotry. Many liberal Jewish groups are opposed to it for this reason. Of course, the Trump administration is appointing a fervent supporter of the act to be Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education.
Tags: feminism, first amendment, free speech, MeToo, sexual harassment, social media, women