It's important to criticize ideas you generally agree with, and I don't think I do it enough. So I want to thread three brief points about what I see as problems in left-liberal discourse today. Not insuperable or fatal problems, but problems nonetheless.
The first is anti-rationalism on identity issues. Sometimes, debates over unsettled empirical questions — would defunding police increase crime? why does Trump seem to be gaining votes among Latinos? — are themselves declared illegitimate or out-of-bounds.
The second, relatedly, is intellectual insularity. Socialist and conservative critics often raise genuinely sharp critiques of liberal politics — particularly relating to class, credentialism and history — that don't get the serious consideration they deserve.
And the third is demonization. I stand by my claims that the threat from "cancel culture" has been radically overblown, but its critics are correct that there's a worrying tendency to dismiss people as irredeemable for venial sins —  and to offer few options for forgiveness.
Again: I do not think these problems are devastating for the entire political project. But no movement is perfect, and self-criticism is an important and healthy part of politics.

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More from @zackbeauchamp

8 Jul
I think so much of our free speech debate suffers from treating things that are actually on a spectrum as black-and-white issues.
Everyone agrees that certain speech deserves to be excluded from prominent outlets. It's uncontroversial to say that, for example, the New York Times shouldn't publish an op-ed by David Duke on "the Jewish question."
Similarly, I don't think anyone of good faith and good intentions thinks that National Review was wrong to fire John Derbyshire for being a huge racist. Derb was "cancelled," but generally speaking it was seen as a positive step.
Read 6 tweets
26 Mar
1. This right wing media meme that Neil Ferguson "walked back" the Imperial College report's findings in Britain are utterly and completely false
2. The argument rests on the idea that Ferguson's Imperial team predicted that Britain could have as many as 500,000 deaths, but recently said that deaths there likely wouldn't exceed 20,000.
3. Except the original model predicted that a total as low as 20,000 was possible in the UK — if Britain changed course toward a more aggressive policy. Don't take my word from it; here's the table of projected deaths from the report. You can see huge variation based on response
Read 7 tweets
19 Jul 19
I have listened to a recording of Wax's talk and spoken with others who attended it. This thread is incorrect — were you there, Yoram? — and I stand by my original reporting. Will likely be writing more on this, and the revealing parts of Yoram's arguments here.
Here is the surrounding context for Wax's comments. It's excruciatingly clear that she is endorsing an immigration system that (in effect) prefers whites over non-whites
The speech also began with her saying "Conservatives need a realistic approach to immigration that...preserves the United States as a Western and First World nation.” It concludes with this passage:
Read 5 tweets

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