The ‘Diverse’ Signers of the Harper’s Letter Supposedly Championing Tolerance and Open Debate
People are commenting regarding the “diverse” signers of a Tuesday open letter at Harper’s Magazine supposedly championing tolerance and open debate. Don’t believe the hype. How diverse are the views of these signers? The letter they signed singles out one person in the world — United States President Donald Trump — for harsh criticism and twice condemns iterations of “right wing” people.
“The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy.” That is a sentence in the first paragraph of the three-paragraph letter. It seems like a litmus test for being among the “diverse” group of signers is to agree with this broad condemnation of Trump. Not only that, a signer must also accept that Trump alone is singled out for any criticism. No other person is mentioned in the letter.
Signers of the letter also identify people in the “right wing” as the opposition. Note this sentence, also from the first paragraph of the letter: “But resistance must not be allowed to harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion — which right-wing demagogues are already exploiting.” Then, in the second paragraph, the letter declares:
The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.
Now get a load of what these signers who go out of there way to condemn Trump and people associated with the “right wing” say they are seeking in their letter. We “raise our voices against,” the letter signers declare, “a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity.”
Um, OK. Here is a question for the letter signers: Are you ready to tolerate and welcome to the open debate people you consider Trump supporters, “right-wing demagogues,” or “radical right” individuals?
Read the letter here.