It has become a trend to have to defend your own free speech when the cancel culture is looking to silence and censor anyone who disagrees with their approved narrative. J.K Rowling has really been shining the last few weeks in her defense of free speech, and you may not agree with everything she says, but that’s okay. Disagreement in a free society should be common and welcomed, not cancelled.
Rowling recently put her signature on a letter by Harper’s Magazine that made it clear free speech is under attack due to an “intolerant climate” caused by ideological conformity. She, along with many others, signed the letter that our culture is facing a moment of trial that has intensified with a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments. These have weakened our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of conformity.
The piece shares that “editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are being withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes.”
We are paying the price for those writers, artists, and journalists who fear if they depart from the consensus or lack in agreement. This stifling atmosphere will harm our debates and create an intolerant society to free speech. Rowling joins 150 other artists, writers, and journalists including Cathy Young, Margaret Atwood, Malcolm Gladwell, Matt Yglesias, and David Frum who have been on the front lines of defending free speech. They have proudly signed on to a foundational principle of a society that has open debate and freedom of thought and speech.
This is a concept everyone should be on board with regardless of their ideological side. The far left have made it perfectly clear that “free speech” is “hate speech” even if the speech is far from hateful. This is exactly the “crime” Rowling has committed, according to the left. She has had to come to their defense when threatened by transgendered people for her views.
One transgender author, Jennifer Finney Boylan, also signed the letter but soon found herself under the pressure for putting her name besides Rowling, later crumbling and apologizing to her Twitter following for not knowing “who else” had signed the letter. Rowling responded to this tweet: “You’re still following me, Jennifer. Be sure to publicly repent of your association with Goody Rowling before unfollowing and volunteer to operate the ducking stool next time, as penance.”
It is ironic how some of those who even signed the “promoting free speech” letter have also attempted to conduct their own cancel campaigns as well. Despite that, Rowling’s position on the hill for free speech is one that should be defended.
Rowling has been labeled a “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” for stating a simple biological difference between a man and woman. She hasn’t backed down, and whether you agree with the Harry Potter author or not, she has become one of the largest embodiments in this canceled culture battlefield in our time.
The only way to defend free speech is to show up and help those fight for it too.