Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
New interviews throughout the week

We simply have better ideas: What the left loses in free speech battles.


Even if the speaker has heinous beliefs, the more you make it acceptable, and natural and typical as a tactic to push speakers out from existing public forums, you erode the social value of the freedom of speech. And that's the thing about free speech - it's not that all beliefs are legitimate or have a place in the dialogue - it's that when you erode the social norm or legal norm, you end up inhibiting the scope of speech for everyone. And that always hurts dissenters the most.

Current Affairs Editor Nathan J. Robinson explains why the left must think strategically about its methods and objectives when confronting far-right speech, and building its own arguments not just in the cultural sphere, but on the political and economic battlegrounds it has ceded for a generation.

Nathan wrote the articles We'll Beat the Fascists with Ideas, Not Fists for In These Times and Thinking Strategically About Free Speech and Violence and Response to A Critique on Free Speech and Violence for Current Affairs.

Share Tweet Send



Nathan J. Robinson

Nathan J. Robinson is a writer and Editor of Current Affairs.


Related Interviews
More with Nathan J. Robinson
Nathan J. Robinson
May 19 2018

Palestinian life and death in the passive voice.