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Cancel Culture & Critical Race Theory

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In the context of their war on “cancel culture” Republicans professes a profound devotion to the First Amendment, freedom of expression and the marketplace of ideas. As noted in earlier essays, they generally frame these battles in disingenuous ways or simply lie. For example, Republicans have raged against the alleged cancellation of Dr. Seuss, but the truth is that the estate of Dr. Seuss made a product line decision to stop selling six books. As another example, Republicans went into a frenzy when Hasbro renamed their Mr. Potato Head product line to “Potato Head” while keeping both Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. In these cases, no laws were passed forcing the companies to do anything and these seemed to be marketing decisions based on changing consumer tastes and values. While I am not in agreement with the Republicans in their made-up battles over free expression, I do agree with their publicly professed principles about free expression and the First Amendment. I believe in a presumption in favor of free expression and hence that the burden of proof rests on those who would limit this liberty. I go beyond most Republicans and hold that this liberty should also protect employees from their employers. While the Republicans, as I have argued elsewhere, advance bad faith arguments about tech companies and free expression, I do hold that the power of corporations and the wealthy to control and dominate expression needs to be countered by the power of the state. As such, I favor free expression even when I disagree with the expression. That is, obviously, what it means to be for freedom of expression. In contrast, Republicans do not seem to believe in free expression (though there are obviously some individual exceptions). One rather obvious piece of evidence is that Republicans have been busy trying to pass laws banning teaching critical race theory in public schools. Critical race theory arose in United States law schools in the 1970s and has gradually expanded. In. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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