By: Edgar Finkel
You may have read the recent Harper’s letter in which prominent writers like Malcolm Gladwell and JK Rowling expressed a deep concern over the growing intolerance for opposing views, and the looming threat of cancel culture. Although I was not technically asked to sign the letter I’d still like to add my voice, and say that dissenting, sometimes unpopular opinions like mine are being silenced. And I can think of no better medium to do that than this nationally syndicated newspaper column which I am paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to write.
The simple fact is that free speech means hearing things you may not agree with. It means having your point of view challenged. It means having to listen to a range of voices selected by the exclusively straight, white, male board members of Canada’s 3 major newspapers.
I am so tired of people tweeting at me that my columns are “badly written” or “make no sense” or “meet the legal definition of hate speech.” Back in the good old days when free speech mattered, the only person who got to give me their opinion on my work was my editor Chip, and he was usually so drunk that I could write anything.
The woke brigade simply does not understand that they are creating a stifling atmosphere in which there is no room to take risks or experiment while having the full security of a high-paying white collar job at an institution that is supposed to serve the public interest. I shouldn’t have to worry about losing that just because I hurt someone’s feelings, or advocated infringing on their fundamental rights as human beings.
Where do we draw the line? You might say its ok to ban a Nazi from speaking at a University. But what about a Conservative academic who simply espouses many of the same ideas, only using more abstract language? Do we really want to live in a world where someone can lose their University Fellowship (and its sweet honorarium) just because they said all University Students are lazy sodomite commies who should die in a fire? I didn’t think so.
So please stop stifling my voice. Stop denying my god given right to an opinion. But mostly stop saying mean things about me on the internet! It really really hurts you guys.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to write my next column on how soft millennials are.