Yes and yes. Just attended a FAIR orientation meeting and have been working on the background on similar initiatives. Please engage as best you can. Two critical points for me, it must be framed as a positive empowering message (builds trust/encourages collaboration across all demographics) that counters the downward spiral generated by the blaming/shaming techniques that inevitably lead to division and polarization and it needs to be of high integrity (not willing to violate point one).

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Thank goodness. Noone should be ashamed of being a classical liberal. Never thought I'd have to say such a thing.

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Please bear with me as I sidle up to this from an oblique angle...

I'm a longstanding proponent of free-range-children-style parenting. Because of that, when the topic comes up and I find that others, too, view it positively, I make sure to point out to them that some very small number of kids are going to be hurt, or worse (or, Heaven help us, much, much worse) who would not have been had we helicoptered around them, keeping them home, arranging play dates and generally supervising them 24/7. I tell them, "Don't kid yourselves, because if you do you'll ultimately read some shockingly tragic news item and say 'Whoa! We need to dial this free-range thing back if it leads to outcomes like this.'"

No, what we need to do is recognize that the world is imperfect, that we can trade large-scale problems with a generation of hothouse children off against a few cases of individual tragedy, and since those cases aren't fully predictable and the victims are not known, the tradeoff is worthwhile.

Similarly, if you're looking to protect people from being socially and economically blacklisted for thought-crimes, but only people whose opinions fall within certain parameters, you'll find yourself unable to maintain that. If you can't say that policing thought is worse than racist thought, or that the emotional harm of exposure to offensive opinions -- and I mean really, really offensive opinions -- is outweighed by the harms inflicted by inquisitorial Twitter mobs and HR departments, then you can't be in this business. If you think racist (or misogynist, or anti-semitic or homophobic or whatever) thought is worse, all you can do is examine each case individually to decide where the speech stands on the spectrum of badness, which is a sucker's game -- in fact, you'll already have lost, because your opponents will be in a position to say, like Shaw, "Now we're just haggling over price."

So does that mean *all* speech has to be defended? I ask only because that's the way The Internet would typically read the above. Of course here at Persuasion we're a little more nuanced, so we can point out a few simple distinctions:

First, the law already delineates some types of speech that aren't protected, and though we're not dealing with legality here we can still use those guidelines.

Second, nobody's forcing anyone to befriend a despicable person. We're merely trying to protect even despicable people from being socially lynched or rendered unemployable -- and that's only because we're never going to all agree on how despicable one has to be to forfeit that protection.

Third, this was never going to be an exact science, so we're always going to reserve the right to say "Not *that* guy! Uh uh" (or, as the folks at Advisory Opinions might say "Naw Dawg."). We just have to use that right very, very sparingly, if at all, because guess what? Sometimes we're going to be *wrong*.

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Many grassroots organizations like The Tea Party have thrived thanks to million-gallon think tanks and their pipelines. Click through to the CBS News article on the Norquist meeting to size up some of them.

How far will Counterweight and American Purpose flow? Follow the money. A note of caution: the source of the river can sometimes end up at the mouth.

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I applaud these efforts and Rauch's strong defense of reason in his latest book. But it's not enough. What's needed is the relentless application of reason against the world view of The Woken. They are wrong on many fronts. People like Sullivan, Mcwhorter and others are constantly elucidating this. Rauch, however, gives in to them here: "No reasonable liberal, after all, denied the reality of persistent social injustices, and no one wanted to imply otherwise." Got it, Mr. Rauch, you dare not even imply. Well, we need a movement of people who dare. I keep looking for more critique of the "systemic racism" foundation of Neoracist thought in Persuasion. I hope to see it soon.

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Hope you know how to generate twitter storms.

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My two cents worth:

Too often, defenses of free speech have sounded like "It's a sacred principle which we must obey even when it doesn't make sense" rather than make a positive case for what we gain by it. After all, free speech is to some extent counterintuitive: what sense does it make to protect people's right to be wrong? (As the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church used to say, "Error has no rights.) Yet there are real advantages in terms of openness to unexpected good ideas, in terms of know your enemy, in terms of dissent keeping our side honest. Let's make sure we make them.

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I have mixed feelings about this. We will see just how fair these organizations really are and just how determined they are to avoid becoming overly beholden to those for whom "fairness" really means either not wanting to lose their privileged position in society or a desire to use these efforts as a means of gaining a forum for hate speech and dis-information. I hold out the most home for FAIR, but even with them it is not entirely clear to me whether they would tolerate a belief that such tools as affirmative action (of various kinds) might be useful in achieving their stated end result. Must I accept that hundreds of years of discrimination deserve no more than a color-blind society? I agree we have gone too far in some respects with our intolerance, but I believe we have more to do than simply moving to a color-blind orthodoxy. Moreover, the First Amendment simply has no application in private business. And, finally, most businesses make decisions on the basis of what helps their bottom line--are we really going to start now demanding that they do otherwise? In the U.S., when it comes to private businesses, we have always chosen with our feet or our dollars. That was good enough when many businesses had a screaming conservative culture and product bias, so just how classically liberal is it to regulate businesses now who choose to "cancel" people and ideas that are not "woke"?

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