Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan)

189350 posts      888345 followers      2791 followings     

Columnist, The Intercept. Host, Deconstructed podcast. Presenter, Al Jazeera English TV shows (UpFront & Head to Head). A Brit now based in DC.

http://www.facebook.com/mrmehdihasan

Washington DC

2010-04-07 16:57:33

Much of the letter itself is uncontroversial though this line is ahistorical (not to mention privileged) BS: “The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away.” Pretty sure that’s not how Nazism was defeated.

A statement signed by 150 people incl. Bill T. Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Noam Chomsky, J.K. Rowling, Margaret Atwood, and Salman Rushdie expresses concern over the illiberal trend intensified by our national reckoning. https://harpers.org/a-letter-on-justice-and-open-debate/

I think it is worth saying—yes, again—that the great lacuna of the self-appointed free-speech warriors is Israel-Palestine

Side-note on the Beinart essay. If this is your first time contemplating one-state, equality for all, ask why it took an American Jew for you to wake up. Palestinians have been articulating these points for decades. It's time to listen to them.

She mentions being a mother. Maybe she should therefore check out what her own daughter thinks of Trump.

Kellyanne Conway: "Joe Biden... has a record and a lot really creepy statements, actions for sure, but statements that he's made in the past that make me very uncomfortable, certainly as a mother but as a person who breathes air and exercises brain capacity."

Kellyanne Conway: "Joe Biden... has a record and a lot really creepy statements, actions for sure, but statements that he's made in the past that make me very uncomfortable, certainly as a mother but as a person who breathes air and exercises brain capacity."

Damn that cancel culture

Black US Army cadets say they were called the N-word and 'shunned' for reporting discrimination at West Point: http://ow.ly/b5xt50ArMse

A staggering 43% of white Harvard students are legacies, athletes, or children of donors, study finds. Of those, around 75% would have been rejected if not for their special preference. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/study-harvard-finds-43-percent-white-students-are-legacy-athlet...

Texas reports more COVID-19 cases in single day than any EU country as cases rise by 10,000

Texas reports more COVID-19 cases in single day than any EU country as cases rise by 10,000 https://reut.rs/3gNNsrx

Free column idea for  @Bari Weiss: An honest accounting of how she came to simultaneously decry cancel culture, and sign on to letters like the Harper’s one, after spending time as a student trying to police what Palestinian professors say

Met with Mark Zuckerberg and  @Facebook leadership today. It was a disappointment. They have had our demands for years and yet it is abundantly clear that they are not yet ready to address the vitriolic hate on their platform.

imo, Twitter democratizes participation in elite discourse in ways that enrich policy debates and curb abuses of power, but also incentivizes conformity within ideological in-groups, and intellectual dishonesty in arguments between them. Net positive, but room for improvement.

Provocative and passionate piece from Peter and definitely worth your time:

The essence of Zionism is not a Jewish state in land of Israel. It is a Jewish home in the land of Israel. With the two state solution dead, it’s time to build a Jewish home that is also, equally, a Palestinian home. https://jewishcurrents.org/yavne-a-jewish-case-for-equality-in-israel-palestine

Cary Nelson, who signed the Harper's letter, also publicly supported the University of Illinois when they rescinded the offer of employment to Steven Salaita for tweeting about Israel.

Cary Nelson, who signed the Harper's letter, also publicly supported the University of Illinois when they rescinded the offer of employment to Steven Salaita for tweeting about Israel.

And in the end it's never acknowledged that parameters of this debate are set by powerful people on powerful platforms in a media/publishing world that's becoming increasingly inaccessible to people from certain classes & ethnicities. How much of a threat is that to free speech?

What definitely isn't cancel culture is getting crap on Twitter or being written off by a larger number of people than you would like because your takes are bad. I suspect a lot of moral freak out about cancel culture is from people who just aren't used to the new *tone*

Corporations making hasty calls based on fear of bad PR is definitely a thing. But it's not to be collapsed into some wider free speech crisis. Capitalism+fear of bad press+social media velocity of news is not the same as the NYT firing someone for bad editing decisions.

Anyone who wants to take a clear position on cancel culture as a huge threat should be obliged to define what it is in ways more rigorous than a passing reference. More than anything that Harper's letter is a poorer intellectual outcome than the sum of its signatories' abilities.

Even in the best case scenario - which isn’t even an option with Trump in office - the US death toll goes up another 30k (!) by November

A difference of more than 45,000 lives: New model predicts more than 208,000 will die in the US from Covid-19 by November, according to the University of Washington. But if 95% of the population wears a mask in public, that number would drop to 162,808.

I love how people keep saying, about the open letter, focus on the principles, not the signatories - even though the only reason we’re discussing the letter is because of the *signatories* (indeed that’s the whole point of open letters of this kind!)

The fact that this letter is referencing genuinely debatable cases (which is good!) and not, say, kicking Richard Spencer or Milo off of Twitter proves the point.

Silencing bad ideas has and does work. Of course it depends on a society's definition of bad. But the really bad stuff should, indeed, be silenced.

I'll just say this, "The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away" is not universally true! And it's pretty stunning the historians who signed this didn't acknowledge this.

The White House has officially withdrawn the United States from the @WHO, a senior administration official confirmed today, breaking ties with a global public health body in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic

The White House has officially withdrawn the United States from the  @World Health Organization (WHO), a senior administration official confirmed today, breaking ties with a global public health body in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/506214-trump-administration-formally-withdraws-us-from-WHO-

Amnesty: UK govt. statement on arms sales to Saudi Arabia is 'deeply cynical' & 'an attempt to rewrite history' https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/uk-liz-truss-statement-arms-sales-saudi-arabia-deeply-cynical  @Madawi Al-Rasheed  @Sarah Leah Whitson  @kristyan benedict  @Danny Postel  @Mehdi Hasan  @Nicholas Kristof

 @Mehdi Hasan Not just the US. Bayonne: Bus driver left brain dead after being 'attacked over face masks' https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-53309424

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