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September 18, 2021



》If the marketplace of ideas is to work properly, some thoughts must be cancelled.

What about the promise of the long tail? Why can't markets be all things (virtually) to all people? Why shouldn't markets sell me a virtual bubble wherr i can cancel you, and you can cancel me, and everyone is happy simultaneously?

》Do you really want to know my unself-censored opinions?

Won't they just come out in passive-aggressive ways?

》 isn’t your freedom also violated if the government, for political reasons, creates unemployment?

Why should I want to work? Why can't I live on commons? Why has basic income suddenly been canceled? Or are former proponents just self-censoring because they are going with the fickle, arbitrary, labile flow of popular opinion?

Tony Barrett

Irony is that your blog has been cancelled by Facebook, which won't allow it to be shared on its platform


An excellent and persuasive piece, but:

* Some (not all) of the charges against "cancel culture" are that it perpetuates mere taboo, a fixed prescription of locked-down thought, rather than an evolving set of guidelines, conventions, or norms (of which there can be many), let alone heterodox views. How best to reassure that this is not so?
* Similarly, that it is pursuant of an ideological mono-culture, which is unlikely to be intellectually productive whichever "side" rules the roost. Whether the "right" have been pushed out of intellectualism/academia, or merely abandoned it, the consequent risks from groupthink ought not to be dismissed. They are certainly well known.
* A little good faith on all sides might persuade a Hayekian that this is indeed the necessary scrutiny required for genuine free market for ideas being played out, rather than mere power politics, the hollowing out of one's opponents in pursuit of a great Crusade, or worse - the deliberate drive-by humiliation of individuals.
* Since we do discover things as a society - plus the established set of "phobias" is not fixed, doubtless a few years will breed another, and another generation will turn them on their head - we should be looking to reduce the costs of revealing unsustainable and unjustifiable viewpoints, rather than relying on individuals to internalise, self-censor, and silo themselves: (a) we are genuinely interested in error, and honing our skills against error; (b) said errors may turn out to be truth, given enough time; (c) we prefer strong views to be lightly held; (d) intellectual fashions may drastically turn against us some day; and (e) the destruction of individual livelihoods is not something those who care (e.g. about unemployment, at a micro level) should ignore.

Ralph Musgrave

Chris Dillow’s claim that being “cancelled” by a hostess because you do not abide by her dress code is equivalent to being cancelled by a university union (especially an Oxford union debate) is absurd. Reason is that in the former case you are denied the opportunity to express your views to probably about half a dozen people maximum. In contrast, and in the case of a university union, you are; denied the right to address a HUNDRED people or more. And in the case of the Oxford union, where debates are reported in the national press, you are denied the right to express your views to tens of thousands.

Ralph Musgrave

Tony Barrett,
Thanks for highlighting the fact that Stumbling and Mumbling has been censored by Facebook. Certainly my experience is that censorship on Facebook has descended to PURE CHAOS. E.G. I was banned for three days recently for objecting to a Muslim preacher who advocated Muslims invading other countries and forcing them to convert to Islam.


We have, therefore, a lovely paradox – that classical liberalism in the Hayekian sense has been defeated not by the left but by the right itself.

[ Superb essay, and wonderfully ironic conclusion. Hayek in effect has long been anti-democratic and setting Hayek aside is hopeful for us all. ]

Gregory Bott

Lol what does cancel culture con have to do with the "left"???? It doesn't. There has always been something being "cancelled", in every ers. The lazy intent of this post just reeks of ignorance of history.

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