Teresa Bejan is an associate professor of political science at Oxford University who I’ve written about before. Last summer she posted an insightful thread about the nature of free speech. Yesterday she posted a related thread on Twitter about viewpoint diversity. You’re probably familiar with the term which, simply put, means the idea of having a variety of ideological views represented at the table in the same way you might seek to have racial diversity. But the idea of viewpoint diversity often gets shrugged off by progressives who are fond of suggesting something along the lines of why represent the views of troglodytes at a university.
Today Bejan addressed those issues in a thread on Twitter, making a case that viewpoint diversity should be welcome and that those who dismiss it would never dismiss any other claims of insufficient diversity.
The left never seems to grasp that their smug condescension is one of the biggest obstacles to their own agenda. If they could just avoid the knee-jerk efforts to put everyone who doesn’t agree with them in a basket of deplorables they’d find there are people on the other side willing to actually have a conversation. But some people just want to be A-holes.
At the end of the thread she made things even more personal. Saying she’s personally moved from the right to somewhere in the middle but that that shift happened despite, not because of, the screechy, shouty progressives she encountered along the way.
And of course this gradual shift can happen in the other direction as well. People on the far left do move to the center but not because people on the right shout at them. However, while there are extremes on both sides of the aisle, the left has increasingly legitimized bullying and even violence toward those who dare to disagree.
Why don’t people on the left believe in cancel culture? Because it’s something their own side does that they can’t really justify. Instead they resort to one of two gambits to dismiss it. Some reframe it as “accountability culture” thereby excusing it and others only claim to only see it when they find an instance of someone on the left being ganged up on by the right. What most progressives (and there are some exceptions) will not do is admit their side of the aisle appears to have a unique problem with favoring threats and demands to deplatform opponents instead of conversation.
The left’s dismissive outlook on viewpoint diversity is just an extension of their similarly dismissive view of cancel culture. Both are just ways to justify not giving those with a different outlook a seat at the table.