The New York Times Admits That ‘America Has a Free Speech Problem’

The New York Times A great editorial was published on Friday. It takes note of America’s “free speech problem” as well as points out right-wing legislation cancel culture—enforced by an uncompromising strain of progressivism—as culprits.

“For all of the tolerance and enlightenment claimed by modern society, Americans are losing grip of a fundamental rights as citizens of free countries: the right of speaking their mind and to voice their opinions publicly without fear of being shamed and shunned,” wrote the author. The Times.

It includes an unpredicted (and mostly rightly so) criticism of conservative efforts at legislating away from uncomfortable conversations about sex, race and gender in schools. However, it is noteworthy for attacking the left’s censorship instinct.

We wrote that “Many left-leaning people refuse to believe that cancel culture exists.” The Times.For all the braying they do about cancel culture, many on the right have adopted an extreme form of censoriousness to protect a fast-changing society. They are enacting laws that ban books and stifle educators, as well as banning open discussion in schools.


Once, free speech wasn’t a liberal idea. Many of the legal victories that expanded the realm of permissible speech in the United States came in defense of liberal speakers against the power of the government — a ruling that students couldn’t be forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, a ruling protecting the rights of students to demonstrate against the Vietnam War, a ruling allowing the burning of the American flag.

Many progressives have lost faith in the principle. One of our respondents, Emily Leonard (93 years old) from Hartford, Conn. who described herself as liberal, found this frustrating. According to her, she is alarmed at reports that speakers are being shouted down in college campuses. She said, “We must hear the opinions of others even when we do not agree with them. It’s the foundation of democracy. “It’s vital to maintaining democracy,” Leonard stated. “Liberal as I am — a little to the left of Lenin — I think these kids and this whole cancel culture, and so called ‘woke,’ is doing us so much harm. They are undermining Constitution. This is what it boils down to.

The editorial looks like something someone could have written. There are reasons. (Rolling Stone editor Noah Schachtman cited itAs evidence, I “own” the NYT education board. Only! If only! The Times The paper welcomes a variety of perspectives. Emma Camp, University of Virginia student, wrote a guest essay last week. There is a reason Contributor, on the campus culture of self-censorship. Camp’s piece generated a massive backlash on social media from the very sort of cancel-culture-denying liberals The Times of its editorial. As PoliticoJohn Harris, a journalist at UC Berkeley said that “The torrents of mockery she received on Twitter made it clearer than she could have imagined the dangers of saying something controversial.”

Like Camp’s Op-ed. The Times Editorial has made some liberal heads explode. Below is an insufficient sampling.

The editorial is more popular than the op ed. A staff editorial reflects all the opinions of the paper’s entire staff.

It’s not unusual, of course. The New York Times While arguing that free speech is crucial to American society, democracy, and culture; that First Amendment legal protections and an broader culture of social tolerance both have value; that social progress can be best served by allowing free and open discussion is generally good for it; This is the position that liberal thinkers and writers took until recent years. Progressives are self-described, who react with inexplicable fury each time. The New York Times The oddest counsels are those that advocate total abandonment or reduction of Enlightenment Principles.

By now, it should be impossible to ignore the ill effects of free-speech hostility; what appeared to begin on elite college campuses has spread to broader society and is agitating for a world where the act of dissenting from progressive orthodoxy is treated as violence—and thus can be met with force. Indeed, colleges campuses continue to provide some of the most palpable examples of this phenomenon: Earlier this month, Yale Law School students shouted down a conservative speaker and a liberal one—as well as the school’s own officials—in order to prevent a discussion about a recent Supreme Court case. David Lat (an attorney, lawyer, legal commentator and Yale graduate) describedThe incident is “much more serious” than most people realize. Everyone who has been following higher education in the past decade will be familiar with the philosophy of student activists: Anything that disrupts progressives or their allies, is illegal and must be avoided.

Anyone who professes to believe in liberal values must oppose this view. It’s a relief that Gray Lady has still got some fighting left.