The Left Betrays Liberty

In These Times describes its mission as

"A strong democracy depends on healthy debate, and In These Times is one of only a handful of independent media projects fighting to widen the terms of national discussion."

But according to Sady Doyle, writing for In These Times magazine

"If we spend more time changing minds, we can spend less time cracking skulls."

The stark contrast between these two quotes reflects the yawning gap between the left's stated principles and their actual practice. In theory the contemporary left is committed to both the tenets of liberal democracy, and the rights of workers; journalist Sady Doyle's article on the Pax Dickinson firing from Business Insider belies this. After recounting the circumstances of Pax Dickinson's firing for her readers, she characterizes his firing as a victory for women over workplace sexism. Although she produces no evidence that Dickinson or Business Insider actually discriminated against anyone, she views his tweets as prima facie evidence of sexist discrimination. She spends the remainder of the article celebrating the speed with which he got canned by Business Insider, gloating that "It only took 14 hours." Completely absent from her article is any consideration for the free speech rights of workers.

The justification for his firing on the basis of anti-discrimination rests on the idea that his tweets establish an open and shut case for discrimination, despite an absence of evidence of any actual discriminatory acts. Perhaps in some extreme cases that could be enough; but, neither Doyle nor anyone else has established this. In the absence of evidence and argument this amounts to punishing someone for their beliefs, not their actions, a precedent Doyle seems completely unconcerned with. She fails to mention free speech once in her article, or attempt to clarify under what conditions people can be fired for their beliefs.

In addition to selling out free speech, she also betrays worker's rights. Traditionally the left was concerned with powerful bosses coercing their workers on Election Day, or otherwise interfering with their behavior outside of work. More generally, old-fashioned leftwing organizations like the teachers union sought to institute due process for teachers faced with disciplinary firing. Underlying this was a genuine concern for the quality of life of workers as a class. The idea of busybody capitalists and employers attempting to use their power to impose their beliefs naturally raised hackles on the left. The present left remains blithely unconcerned with allowing employees to maintain a private sphere outside of the workplace, choosing to focus on destroying the careers of people they dislike.

This case exposes the fraudulent nature of the contemporary left. During the debate on whether employers should be required to pay for insurance that covered birth control, the left huffed and puffed about employers meddling in the private lives of workers; their present behavior reveals the disingenuousness of their rhetoric. A genuine commitment to liberalism means a commitment to the rights of all. One suspects that many leftists will come to miss their classical liberties once they're gone.

In These Times describes its mission as

"A strong democracy depends on healthy debate, and In These Times is one of only a handful of independent media projects fighting to widen the terms of national discussion."

But according to Sady Doyle, writing for In These Times magazine

"If we spend more time changing minds, we can spend less time cracking skulls."

The stark contrast between these two quotes reflects the yawning gap between the left's stated principles and their actual practice. In theory the contemporary left is committed to both the tenets of liberal democracy, and the rights of workers; journalist Sady Doyle's article on the Pax Dickinson firing from Business Insider belies this. After recounting the circumstances of Pax Dickinson's firing for her readers, she characterizes his firing as a victory for women over workplace sexism. Although she produces no evidence that Dickinson or Business Insider actually discriminated against anyone, she views his tweets as prima facie evidence of sexist discrimination. She spends the remainder of the article celebrating the speed with which he got canned by Business Insider, gloating that "It only took 14 hours." Completely absent from her article is any consideration for the free speech rights of workers.

The justification for his firing on the basis of anti-discrimination rests on the idea that his tweets establish an open and shut case for discrimination, despite an absence of evidence of any actual discriminatory acts. Perhaps in some extreme cases that could be enough; but, neither Doyle nor anyone else has established this. In the absence of evidence and argument this amounts to punishing someone for their beliefs, not their actions, a precedent Doyle seems completely unconcerned with. She fails to mention free speech once in her article, or attempt to clarify under what conditions people can be fired for their beliefs.

In addition to selling out free speech, she also betrays worker's rights. Traditionally the left was concerned with powerful bosses coercing their workers on Election Day, or otherwise interfering with their behavior outside of work. More generally, old-fashioned leftwing organizations like the teachers union sought to institute due process for teachers faced with disciplinary firing. Underlying this was a genuine concern for the quality of life of workers as a class. The idea of busybody capitalists and employers attempting to use their power to impose their beliefs naturally raised hackles on the left. The present left remains blithely unconcerned with allowing employees to maintain a private sphere outside of the workplace, choosing to focus on destroying the careers of people they dislike.

This case exposes the fraudulent nature of the contemporary left. During the debate on whether employers should be required to pay for insurance that covered birth control, the left huffed and puffed about employers meddling in the private lives of workers; their present behavior reveals the disingenuousness of their rhetoric. A genuine commitment to liberalism means a commitment to the rights of all. One suspects that many leftists will come to miss their classical liberties once they're gone.

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