Don’t protect me from offensive ideas
IN HIS Dec. 29 column, Richard Cohen complains that the New York Times neither silenced nor condemned Alice Walker for reading a book with anti-Semitic content and for exhibiting anti-Semitism in her writings. Although I agree with Cohen that anti-Semitism is a despicable world view, I cannot support his contention that the Times was wrong to trust its readers to judge for themselves. Cohen’s article referenced significant public response to the Times article, which brought considerable attention to the alleged antiSemitism in Walkers’ work. This substantially confirms the soundness of the Times’ policy.
I reject anti-Semitism, just as I do other collectivist ideologies including racism, ethno-nationalism, Marxism and intersectional post-modernism. However, I cannot support the notion that I, or anyone, should be protected from persons offering these offensive points of view. It is my responsibility to determine the value of opinions that I encounter. I do not need social guardians to substitute their judgment for my right of conscience.
Encouraging our institutions to suppress thought and speech does not lead to social justice; it leads to tyranny. CHARLES STEELE Albuquerque