Still determined to recover his reputation to the point where he can convert it into the means for generating More And Bigger Paycheques For Himself Personally Now, the loathsome Toby Young continues to vie for attention with the rest of those out there on the right. The problem is, whenever he espouses a cause on ostensibly ideological grounds, he gets called out for getting it wrong. As he has today.
Tobes wants to burnish his libertarian credentials, and to this end has latched on to the New Yorker’s decision to drop Steve Bannon from its festival next month. Editor David Remnick had told the New York Times he would interview Bannon before a live audience. But, as the Guardian has reported, “After the Times piece was published, the New Yorker writer Kathryn Schulz triggered a tide of outrage on social media when she tweeted: ‘I love working for [the New Yorker] but I’m beyond appalled by this … I have already made that very clear to David Remnick. You can, too.’” Then came worse news.
“The Hollywood names Jim Carrey, John Mulaney, Patton Oswalt and Judd Apatow were among scheduled guests who said on social media that they would withdraw from the 19th festival, which will run from 5 to 7 October”. Bannon, a white supremacist and far-right favourite, was a guest too far. So Tobes decided to make one of his futile gestures.
“The @NewYorker has caved in to an outrage mob and no-platformed @SteveKBannon. That’s it. It has lost its authority as a beacon of free speech and Enlightenment values. If you prize freedom of thought and expression and enjoy the clash of ideas, try @QuilletteM instead” he bleated. Quillette, to which Tobes contributes, is described as seeking to make “tired alt-right talking points sound erudite”. And doesn’t give space to those on the left.
To give his bluster a veneer of intellectual heft, Tobes then quoted John Stuart Mill. “If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.” But he was convincing no-one.
Mehdi Hasan was especially unconvinced of Bannon’s merit: “The idea that Bannon's ‘ideas’ haven't been ‘exposed’ to Americans is absurd given...erm...the entire 2016 presidential campaign and the guy sitting in the Oval Office. And the idea that a ‘festival’ chat was going to result in him being grilled/held to account is beyond naive”.
And if we’re talking philosophical perspective, then perhaps Tobes could consider the words of Karl Popper: “If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them … We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant”.
Steve Bannon is intolerance personified. And all that David Remnick has done is to exercise his right not to tolerate the intolerant. But good of Toby Young to let the world know about his white supremacist sympathies.
He’s known as Captain Bellend. Because he’s a bellend.
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