A manifesto for ‘third-way’, eyes-wide-shut liberalism

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL November 27, 2021

Here’s my list of ‘third-way’ eyes-wide-shut liberalism, with thanks to the Financial Times’ Simon Kuper (paywall):

  • Sometimes, I agree with social-justice warriors; sometimes, with conservatives.
  • I agree that power structures are set up to benefit white men (and in the absence of white men, white women). So it’s absolutely right that women and minority groups should be heard. But conservatives are right that white people too should be heard, just like everyone else. White working-class people also suffer if they don’t have the right accent, education, or skills. Oh, and a white singer should be free to take inspiration from African music or a black man to write about a white woman or vice versa. Care over “cultural appropriation” should have its limits.
  • It’s true that toppling statues isn’t about erasing history but “changing who we honour”, as Mr Kuper says. That said, statues should be taken down by elected bodies, not protestors.
  • I don’t like the cancel culture, on both the right and the left. Conservatives are correct to say that social-justice warriors shouldn’t be repressing speech. As Mr Kuper says, nobody deserves “emotional safety” from an argument, “all you get is protection from straightforward hate speech and threats of violence”.
  • Finally, it’s right to be able to speak up if something bad has happened to you at someone else’s hands, but conservatives are also right that careers should not be ended by unproven accusations.