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Friday, July 10, 2020

The Koch-connected and transphobic Letter participants

According to SourceWatch:
As of February 2020, Charles Koch Institute listed the Reason Foundation as a "participating organization" on its website.
The Reason Foundation publishes Reason Magazine which recently bragged that 14% of the signers of the Harper's Letter are Reason contributors, with another six recently promoted by Reason.
There are also a whole lot of Reason contributors here, including Deirdre McCloskey, Cathy Young, Jonathan Rauch, Jonathan Haidt, Emily Yoffe, Jesse Singal, Kmele Foster, Katie Herzog, John McWhorter, Kat Rosenfield, Nadine Strossen, Laura Kipnis, Wendy Kaminer, Francis Fukuyama, and Malcolm Gladwell. (On it, too, are recent Reason interview subjects Meghan Daum, Coleman Hughes, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Steven Pinker, Bari Weiss, and Garry Kasparov.)
Thomas Chatterton Williams, a sensible young part-black man of letters, has organized an open letter in Harper’s by old-fashioned center-left liberals against cancel culture.
I think the Letter is likely a project Williams dreamed up together with someone representing Koch interests, which has been for quite some time trying to influence the media and academia through free speech grifts.

Last week, Kmele Foster, Matt Welch, and Michael Moynihan interviewed the conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan for their podcast, The Fifth Column. The hosts and their guest spent much of the hourlong interview discussing the bellicose state of political discourse and left-wing activists who refuse to debate their opponents and even their allies, including Sullivan. “The only right that gay people had, for the longest time, was the the First Amendment right,” Sullivan said. 
I'm surprised Sullivan wasn't asked to sign the Letter, especially since like many funded by Koch (including Letter signers Pinker and Haidt,) he's a fan of race science and appears to be tight with "HBD Chick" a pal of Steve Sailer.

It's funny to see Welch trying to deflect from Koch race science support in the article:
No, I don't want to hang out professionally or personally with Nazis and/or race/IQ obsessives...
You do, Matt Welch. You already do.

Welch tries to use the "but Lefties signed the Letter" tactic:
The vast majority of public-facing writers and intellectuals I see scoffing at "cancel culture" and dismissing as a single tiresome monolith a grouping that includes Katha Pollitt, Martin Amis, Shadi Hamid, Margaret Atwood, Greil Marcus, George Packer, Michelle Goldberg, Randi Weingarten, and Zaid Jilani, are at some point just telling on themselves. You do not want to hear left-of-center thinkers bemoaning the free speech "illiberalism" on the left, and you are not curious whether at least a handful of people you have previously respected might have a legitimate concern or two about an issue you claim to hold dear. Noted.
I think those Lefties were invited to sign the Letter - a Letter that on the surface sounds high-minded and craftily avoided naming names or specifics about the cases they were complaining about - exactly so that its devisers could claim bi-partisan support.

And two of those Lefties are known as transphobes. And Jilani is a fan of Quillette an author at Quillette.

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