June 28th, 2022


Another prominent lib decries leftist censorship

Jeff Jacoby

By Jeff Jacoby

Published Oct. 27, 2020

If America and the West are to be saved from the tyranny of the progressive enforcers and their ruthless cancel culture, it will not be primarily through the efforts of conservatives and libertarians like me. It will require a rising chorus of indignation from honest liberals — men and women who are unabashedly of the left, but who have not abandoned their belief in the value of robust debate, and who continue to embrace the classic formulation of free speech: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

One such liberal is the English journalist and TV personality Piers Morgan, who has argued for years that to be liberal is by definition to believe in the clash of differing opinions. Morgan decries the humorlessness and rigidity that is being imposed on the public discourse, and elaborates his argument in a new book — Wake Up: Why the World Has Gone Nuts . He discussed the subject the other day on the ABC program “The Talk.” Herewith a short excerpt from that conversation (slightly edited for clarity):

(Buy book at a discounted by clicking here or order in KINDLE edition at a 43% discount by clicking here. Sales help fund JWR.)

Piers Morgan: Cancel culture is this rising epidemic where everybody's keen to get people fired from their jobs, trash their lives, ruin their reputations — not for serious misdemeanors but for just expressing an opinion. It . . . is completely out of control and is being driven by the woke brigade who like to think they're all terribly virtuous but actually are the least liberal people I've met in my life. My clarion call to my fellow liberals is: Stop canceling everybody and everything that you don't happen to like.

Carrie Ann Inaba (co-host): Ok, but there are some people who would argue that “canceling” is just holding people accountable for their racist, sexist, or maybe homophobic opinions which have no place in society. What do you say to that?

Morgan: It’s not about defending the indefensible. We can all agree when something is completely outrageous. It's not about saying those people should be no-platformed. But now we're at a stage where universities are not having anybody speaking without huge protests, [unless they express] absolutely this woke ultraliberal agenda. That's not how students will ever learn about real life, or how to have a debate with people whose opinions you don't like and may even find offensive.

Sharon Osbourne [co-host]: You say social media has gotten too toxic but let's be truthful here. You're one of the loudest voices on Twitter. You're like me very much — we both like to stir that pot, don't we? Now, aren't you part of the problem?

Morgan: Yes. . . . In the book I say I have to wake up, too. When you have a big platform on social media, you can create huge amounts of noise and also contribute to this toxic, tribal atmosphere which itself stifles freedom of speech. I want people to go back to old-fashioned, democratic, liberal values. Sharon and I have argued about everything in the entire world for many years but at the end of it we always had a drink and laugh and big hug and say good night. We've got to get back to that. I never want to have an argument with someone like Sharon and say: Because I don't agree with you, I want you fired from “The Talk” immediately.

If we lose free speech, we lose everything. The censors are in the ascendancy, but — thanks in part to people like Morton Schapiro and Piers Morgan — they haven’t won yet.