Hal Niedzviecki was forced out of his editorship of an obscure magazine published by the Writers’ Union of Canada for daring to suggest that writers should try to get out of their identity silos and use the voices of “others”. Apparently, this offended the Writers Union and its “Equity Task Force” and Niedzviecki was forced to resign.
A number of brave souls in Canadian media stepped up and said Neidzviecki had a point and was a victim of political correctness run wild. On Friday, the Walrus’s editor in chief, Jonathan Kay wrote an article for the National Post in which he said,
Personally, I land on the side of free speech: I’m fearful that, as at many points in history, small acts of well-intentioned censorship will expand into a full-fledged speech code that prohibits whole categories of art and discourse. national post
He went on to conclude,
What I don’t find helpful is the reflexive instinct to shame those with whom we disagree—the kind on display at TWUC this week. Indeed, it is these mobbings that encourage the idea that free speech is under siege from a systematic program of left wing censorship. On both sides, it is fear and suspicion that is driving the social media rage. And as of this writing, there’s no sign it will dissipate soon. national post
Niedzviecki was entirely right in his initial article. White people should be encouraged to write about non-white people, women about men, blacks about Asians and gays about straights; otherwise we’ll have a sterile, politically correct, literature in which the only characters in a novel will be from the “community” (however defined) of the author.
Kay was entirely right in standing up against lefty cultural pogroms.
Where both were wrong was in capitulating to the cultural fascists without a fight. The Twitter mobs are nasty but they are relatively powerless unless a target is willing to give them power. Niedzviecki was pushed out the door by his employer but, realistically, other than a craven apology for “glibness and insensitivity” Niedzviecki barely fought at all. Kay’s meager defences were apparently overwhelmed in less than twenty-four hours and he scuttled off to a baseball game with his phone off to escape the baying hordes.
Free speech and freedom of cultural expression in all its forms are won by people willing to fight back. People who actually believe in their positions and are willing to fight their corners. Niedzviecki was beginning to gain support for his liberal view of how writers should approach the world. Sure he was being howled down by lefty illiterates on Twitter. So what? The Twitter mobs of SJWs live to howl and denounce and yell about their sensitivities. The cultural cringers at the Writer’s Union would have fired Niedzviecki in any event, but rather than apologize, he should have published a really fierce piece defending his position and calling out the censors of the identity left.
Kay, having adopted a strong, liberal, free speech position should have stuck to his guns. If The Walrus wanted to fire him, fine. But surrendering before an actual shot had been fired is just sad.
The only way to stop the SJW barbarians is to shoot back. Make it tough, if not impossible, for them to impose cultural tyranny. Surrender only leads to more demands, more censorship, more badly grounded claims of moral superiority. Surrender narrows the discussion and the boundaries of what may be discussed.
The only silver lining to Niedzviecki and Kay’s failure to fight back is that their cowardice in the face of the viciousness of their detractors shows just what liberal, free speech, supporters are up against. Kay, in particular, has access to major media, friends in government and the academy (not to mention the PMO) and has demonstrated a willingness to suck up to the PC SJWs on issues like “climate change”. If these cultural fascists can “get” him it is a huge warning to the rest of us.