Author J.K. Rowling added her name to a long list of more than 100 other authors, scholars, and academics calling for the end of cancel culture amid social unrest across the nation.
In a letter, published in Harper’s Magazine, the community recognizes the importance of civil debate while simultaneously acknowledging the significance of protests calling for the end to racial injustice.
Rowling issued a tweet expressing her reasoning behind signing the letter.
“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,” Rowling said.
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
In the opening of the letter, the group argues this new wave of activism can often lead to the inability to tolerate the opinions of others.
“But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity,” the letter reads.
The letter goes on to identify President Donald Trump as “a real threat to Democracy” and notes the only way to achieve inclusion is by allowing others to speak out on all sides.
The letter claims conversation is becoming more limited and intolerance of other ideas continues to build.
“The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted,” the letter reads.
“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.”
Editors, journalists, professors, researchers, and leaders of organizations are recognized as victims of cancel culture in the letter.
The letter comes to a close illustrating how the constriction of free speech can lead to more harm than good for democratic participation.
“The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away,” the community said.
It adds, “We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom, which cannot exist without each other.”