…exerpts…read all of it, it is worth it….
“There’s a term for this sort of bad-faith argument: it’s called the justification-suppression model. The theory is that bigots refrain from directly defending their own bigotry but get hugely riled up justifying the abstract right to express bigotry
The problem is that it relies on two pieces of magical thinking: number one, that intellectual ideas are the same as moral ones, and number two, that the sucking ethical vacuum at the center of public life can be replaced with a commitment to the polite forms of a free society.
… betray their stated principles (free, open debate) or dignify fascism and white supremacy. This weaponizes tolerance to legitimize intolerance. … They have no interest in winning on the issues.
Mere weeks ago he told a gathering of the far-right National Front in France to be proud “when people call you racist, when people call you xenophobic… wear it as a badge of honor.”
…But academic research and investigative journalism are very different from formal public debate. Public debate — at least the way I was taught to do it at my posh school — is not about the free exchange of ideas at all.
…What matters is not who wins on the merits. What matters are the terms: who gets to speak, and who must be silent.
The far right are not themselves committed to the principle of free speech. Far from it. In my encounters with neo-nationalists and professional alt-right trolls I have found them remarkably litigious — more than willing to use money and legal threats to silence their more serious critics. I’ve been legally prohibited from describing racists as racists. That’s why you’ll see so many news outlets use phrases like “alleged white supremacist” or “the deportation policy, which critics have described as xenophobic.” It’s not because there’s serious doubt over where these people stand, it’s because journalists are silenced by threats from speech “defenders” who have the money and spite to shut down their critics. I will not be bullied by bad-faith actors trying to rules-lawyer my own principles against me into treating neo-Nazis with respect they don’t deserve.”