The silver lining to interrupting a play

If you’re partial to free speech, like I am, you’re probably unhappy with Laura Loomer’s – accompanied by Jack Posobiec – interruption of the Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar with President Trump referenced in the titular role.

But…

In a way, I can understand why the action was “necessary” <– and I mean to quote there, not mock. Interrupting the play would presumably provoke outrage among the “free speech = hate speech” crowd, who’ve been engaging in much worse antics against free speech lately. They would condemn Ms Loomer’s actions, and it’s useful to point out the hypocrisy of their outrage, and the underlying partisan bent to their “words hurt people” mantra.

Heretofore, there have been largely two groups: those who support free speech regardless of political inclination, and those who demand safe spaces from political speech they disagree with. The latter are most prominently SJWs (though the right does have it’s snowflakes).

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Free speech activists like myself could remain consistent in advocating for free speech for everyone. No problem there. The problem is that the SJW segment could also be largely consistent in being opposed to what they dubbed harmful speech.

Providing at least a few counter-examples of what the regressive left does, could be said to be necessary to underscore the selective application of their ideological censorship. Barring the existence of their tactics being used against them, they could at least cling to the pretense that they were at least OK with a non-partisan application of their censorship.

By exposing the outrage of these groups against what Ms Loomer and Mr Posobiec did, it shows that their drive for censorship is not directed at limiting violence and hatred, but at silencing their political opposition.

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Of course this comes at a cost, one that’s too steep for a lot of us to bear. Ms Loomer and anyone else who participates in, or defends, these interruptions will have no consistency or moral authority on which to stand up for free speech – at least not without some form of penance for having violated their own principles. I, for one, would not break my principles in this regard, and I completely support and encourage no one else doing so, either.

Those of us who are especially critical of the censorship drives of authoritarian leftism (and, to be fair, rightism), should be wary of being too enthusiastic in condemning Ms Loomer. I understand the motivation; to finally have have a counterexample of anti-SJW snowflakery with which to strengthen our bona fides of standing up for free speech wherever necessary, regardless of political affiliation.

Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire – and while it’s our duty to condemn any attempts at political censorship, we aught not forget the greater good of the forest for the burning trees around us.

This, by no means, excuses what Ms Loomer did. I sympathize. But in the end, her protest is only valuable for the defense of freedom if it’s completely rejected by anyone who supports the free exchange of ideas.

 

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