You might not agree with everything J.K. Rowling believes but that’s okay. Disagreement in a free society is both common and welcome. Like the spice, the ideas must flow. Where I think we can agree that J.K. Rowling really shines is her defense of free speech, a paramount right that is under attack by a culture that looks to silence and censors anyone who disagrees with their approved narrative.
Rowling put her signature on a letter by Harper’s Magazine that made it clear that free speech is under attack due to an “intolerant climate” caused by “ideological conformity.”
“The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted,” reads the letter. “While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”
“We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters,” it continued. “But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought.”
Rowling joins 150 other artists, writers, and journalists including Cathy Young, Margaret Atwood, Matt Yglesias, and David Frum. Rowling, who has been on the front line of defending free speech, announced she was proud to have signed on to the letter “in defence of a foundational principle of a liberal society: open debate and freedom of thought and speech.”
I was very proud to sign this letter in defence of a foundational principle of a liberal society: open debate and freedom of thought and speech.https://t.co/noh8VRHMyN
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 7, 2020
It’s a concept that everyone should be on board with regardless of their ideological side, however, the far-left has made it clear that “free speech” is “hate speech,” even if the speech being said is far from hateful. Just telling a simple biological truth is enough to earn yourself pariah status. This is exactly the “crime” that Rowling has committed according to the left. Rowling is a stark proponent of women and has come to their defense when they’ve been threatened by transgendered people.
One transgender author, Jennifer Finney Boylan, also signed on to the Harper letter, but soon found herself under pressure from the mob for putting her name beside someone like Rowling. She immediately crumpled and posted her apology on Twitter.
“I did not know who else had signed that letter. I thought I was endorsing a well meaning, if vague, message against internet shaming,” said Boylan. “I did know Chomsky, Steinem, and Atwood were in, and I thought, good company. The consequences are mine to bear. I am so sorry.”
Rowling didn’t take what was an obvious reference to her lying down and put some pressure of her own on Boylan.
“You’re still following me, Jennifer,” tweeted Rowling. “Be sure to publicly repent of your association with Goody Rowling before unfollowing and volunteer to operate the ducking stool next time, as penance.”
You’re still following me, Jennifer. Be sure to publicly repent of your association with Goody Rowling before unfollowing and volunteer to operate the ducking stool next time, as penance. https://t.co/SgjGDt1dcF
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 8, 2020
The validity of the letter that was signed on to is a question in and of itself, which is fair to ask given the fact that some signatories on the list have attempted to conduct cancel campaigns of their own. Despite this, Rowling’s position on the hill of free speech is one that should be defended for a couple of reasons.
The first is obvious. Free speech is a necessary component to a free society. The leftists that would have free speech relegated to what they approve of in order to avoid what they consider offensive today is a form of societal control that, while not necessarily state-approved, is a form of tyrannical control nonetheless.
Secondly, Rowling is defending a hill that I also feel needs to be defended, and that’s the well-being and rights of women. This isn’t a feminist standpoint that’s being taken here, though she is a feminist. Transgendered people who claim they are women despite being born male are moving in on women’s spaces. Women and girls who train very hard to achieve great heights in the sports world are being shoved aside by men and having their victories stolen from them. Men identifying as women are invading women’s spaces and demanding punishments for any who have a problem with this.
Rowling herself has been defending a woman named Maya Forstater who worked as a tax expert at the Center for Global Development. Forstater was fired for simply disagreeing with the suggestion that biology is a suggestion and that sex is easily interchangeable.
“Dress however you please,” Rowling stated. “Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?”
Dress however you please.
Call yourself whatever you like.
Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you.
Live your best life in peace and security.
But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 19, 2019
Rowling was labeled a “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” for stating a simple fact.
Unlike many other celebs, Rowling hasn’t backed down. She’s ready to defend the hill of free speech and biological reality, both of which the radical left is attempting to kill daily.
Whether you agree with the Harry Potter author or not, she has become the embodiment of one of the largest battlefields in our time and I think it would behoove us to saddle up and charge in, horns blaring. This is a battle that we need to win and we’ll only win it if we show up and help those fighting it.