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This book was strong I would recommend it to anyone, and despite being written 25 years ago the book was originally penned in 1993 , the book felt critically relevant Ostensively about free speech, the book is probablyappropriately viewed through an epistemic lens, with Rauch viewing epistemology as deeply intertwined with politics His crisp language cuts deeply at the core of questions that remain relevant to this day does the identity of a speaker tarnish the validity of that speec This book was strong I would recommend it to anyone, and despite being written 25 years ago the book was originally penned in 1993 , the book felt critically relevant Ostensively about free speech, the book is probablyappropriately viewed through an epistemic lens, with Rauch viewing epistemology as deeply intertwined with politics His crisp language cuts deeply at the core of questions that remain relevant to this day does the identity of a speaker tarnish the validity of that speech How do we maintain our right to fight against ideas we find repugnant without suppression and censorship Who has the right to bless speech, and with it, the ideas that we find acceptable in polite society Overall, the book was well worth the read Quick and to the point, it was a solid primer on epistemology and made me think a lot about how I adjudicate truth in my own life The crux of this book is highlighted in the quote below, and we would do well to think hard about where we fall on the spectrum What should be society s principle for raising and settling differences of opinion In other words, what is the right way, or at least the best way, to make decisions as to who is right thus having knowledge and who is wrong thus having mere opinion To the central question of how to sort true beliefs from the lunatic ones, here are five answers, five decision making principles not the only principles by any means, but the most important contenders right now The Fundamentalist Principle Those who know the truth should decide who is right The Simple Egalitarian Principle All sincere persons beliefs have equal claims to respect The Radical Egalitarian Principle Like the simple egalitarian principle, but the beliefs of persons in historically oppressed classes or groups get special consideration The Humanitarian Principle Any of the above, but with the condition that the first priority be to cause no hurt The Liberal Principle Checking of each by each through public criticism is the only legitimate way to decide who is right.The argument of this book is that the last principle is the only one which is acceptable, but that it is now losing ground to the others, and that this development is extremely dangerous Impelled by the notions that science is oppression and criticism is violence, the central regulation of debate and inquiry is returning to respectability this time in a humanitarian disguise Lengthy review at Lengthy review at Given modern culture s leanings towards political correctness and the constant discourse between the freedom of speech and the right to offend, I found myself searching for a book that explores this topic These essays held my interest from the title s Inquisition allusion to the closing words Jonathan Rauch defends free thought by dissecting numerous case studies on the attack of free speech He frames his argument as a defense of liberal science and dives into this defense through the c Given modern culture s leanings towards political correctness and the constant discourse between the freedom of speech and the right to offend, I found myself searching for a book that explores this topic These essays held my interest from the title s Inquisition allusion to the closing words Jonathan Rauch defends free thought by dissecting numerous case studies on the attack of free speech He frames his argument as a defense of liberal science and dives into this defense through the context of epistemology, a topic I was not very familiar with before reading this book I found myself highlighting quotes and passages every 5 10 pages or so and the book answered many of the questions internal debates I had on the topic However, I am still conflicted when it comes to the interaction of free speech and economic decisions I agree with most every argument in favor of liberal science s defense of thought, but I feel the vote with your pocketbook idea is at odds with the argument to never punish someone for their ideas This conflict is not explored within the book, at least to my satisfaction Still, it is an excellently written book and worth a read if the topic interests you By page 4 I was already enthralled A very dangerous principle is now being established as a social right Thou shall not hurt others with words This principle is a menace and not just to civil liberties At bottom it threatens liberal inquiry that is, science itself.in English we have a word for the empanelment of tribunals public or private, but in any case prestigious and powerful to identify and penalize false and socially dangerous opinionsThe word has been out of general use fo By page 4 I was already enthralled A very dangerous principle is now being established as a social right Thou shall not hurt others with words This principle is a menace and not just to civil liberties At bottom it threatens liberal inquiry that is, science itself.in English we have a word for the empanelment of tribunals public or private, but in any case prestigious and powerful to identify and penalize false and socially dangerous opinionsThe word has been out of general use for many years It is inquisition.I want to mark up, highlight, make signage of so many quotes from this book And then it nosedives into obscure, philosophy I tried, I really tried but real situations and direct writing does not resume until the very last chapter and by then I was mentally exhausted Disappointed Jonathan Rauch forcefully defends freedom of speech and liberal science in his short and crisp Kindly Inquisitors The New Attacks on Free Thought Originally published in 1993, the book is evenrelevant today than it was back then, resulting in an expanded edition in 2013 With brisk and efficient clarity, Rauch exposes the authoritarian intellectual underpinnings of the nominally liberal thought police that hold sway over America s universities He goes further and argues that these ini Jonathan Rauch forcefully defends freedom of speech and liberal science in his short and crisp Kindly Inquisitors The New Attacks on Free Thought Originally published in 1993, the book is evenrelevant today than it was back then, resulting in an expanded edition in 2013 With brisk and efficient clarity, Rauch exposes the authoritarian intellectual underpinnings of the nominally liberal thought police that hold sway over America s universities He goes further and argues that these initiatives although carried out with the best of intentions pose a grave danger to the very foundations of the liberal system Ultimately, he says, The answer to the question Why tolerate hateful or misguided opinions has been the same ever since Plato unveiled his ghastly utopia because the alternative is worse The book s tone is captured nicely by one of Rauch s incendiary passages If you are inclined to equate verbal offense with physical violence, think again about the logic of your position If hurtful opinions are violence, then painful criticism is violence In other words, on the humanitarian premise, science itself is a form of violence What do you do about violence You establish policing authorities public or private to stop it and to punish the perpetrators You set up authorities empowered to weed out hurtful ideas and speech In other words an inquisition It is bad enough to have to remind people that there is no right not to be offended, and that criticism is not the same as violence It is deeply embarrassing to have to deliver this reminder to people at the center of American intellectual life.The core of Rauch s argument is that Epistemology one s view of who can have knowledge and when is politics That line could very well be the tagline for my 2017 reading theme on the integrity of Western science This book gifted me a clear statement of how all of the philosophy of science reading I ve been doing relates to larger political questions Rauch has an explicitly Popperian view on the philosophy of science you may claim that a statement is established as knowledge only if it can be debunked, in principle, and only insofar as it withstands attempts to debunk it For Rauch, skepticism and empricism are the pillars of the liberal system I m a bit concerned about how his overall argument holds up in the face of the holes that the modern philospher Godfrey Smith pokes in Popper s theories, but to be fair, none of the critiques of free speech that I ve ever heard have contested Popperian epistemology The book is full of little gems like those above sentences that crystallize ideas that have been amorphously floating around in my brain all year Rauch writes beautifully, tracing the genealogy of liberal thought and synthesizing millenia of Western history to make the case for why we must prevent restrictions on free speech and free thought He recoils in horror from Plato s intellectually authoritarian regime He rejoices in the skepticism of Montaigne He whips us through a tour of major Enlightenment philosophers and ends with our good friend Sir Karl Popper.Rauch then extends our intellectual journey up to the controversy over Salman Rushdie s The Satanic Verses Rushdie s searingly controversial novel earned him a big target on his back in the form of a fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran For Rauch, this represented a defining moment in Western intellectual history It showed how readily Westerners could be backed away from a fundamental principle of intellectual liberalism, namely that there is nothing whatever wrong with offending hurting people s feelings in pursuit of truth That principle seemed to have been displaced by a belief in the right not to be offended, which was quickly gaining currency in America.Rauch covers an astonishing amount of ground in this book and I felt like I highlighted about half the book as I tore through it His principled, clearly argued position on free speech was just the antidote I needed for the philosophical morass I got sucked into during undergrad I ll close with another one of my favorite quotes some practical advice for free speech campaigners in the hostile territory of the modern academic postmodern left The standard answer to people who say they are offended should be Is there any casualty other than your feelings Are you or others being threatened with violence or vandalism No Then it s a shame your feelings are hurt, but that s too bad You ll live If one is going to enjoy the benefits of living in a liberal society without being shamelessly hypocritical, one must try to be thick skinned, since the way we make knowledge is by rubbing against one another.Full review and highlights at This book is essentially a defense of free thought or, as the author calls it, liberal science The idea is basically that because we can never be sure that we re right, we shouldn t silence others, either by political force or the court of public opinion, but instead we should all be committed to subjecting society s ideas to a decentralized and thorough process of crticism and debate Correspondingly, no one has a right not to be offended The best thing that can be said about the book is t This book is essentially a defense of free thought or, as the author calls it, liberal science The idea is basically that because we can never be sure that we re right, we shouldn t silence others, either by political force or the court of public opinion, but instead we should all be committed to subjecting society s ideas to a decentralized and thorough process of crticism and debate Correspondingly, no one has a right not to be offended The best thing that can be said about the book is that, written in the early 1990s, it was a very early treatment of some anti free thought social institutions that have become ubiquitous in today s society, such as cancel culture, anti hate speech laws, and the tendency of college campus student groups to cancel speaker events based on popular outrage In this sense, the book seems prescient with respect to how much of our society looks today However, I still didn t like the book very much I think the best argument for free thought and against a supposed right not to be offended is that no one can count on always being on the side of the political force or court of public opinion silencing the thought, and the right not to be offended can easily be turned against you, even if you think you have the noblest of values or ideas Unfortunately, this book seems largely just to take that argument, complicate it, and prolong it into about 150 pages without making the argumentpersuasive or adding much that is interesting, in my opinion Another strong argument for free thought is that some of its alternatives, such as trying to silence others through shame or cancelling them, are ineffective at persuading and seem to backfire by causing prejudiced beliefs to become subconscious or consciously hidden from society and thus not properly dealt with However, the author gives very little attention to this type of argument, which I think is a mistake.Also, this book fails to address some of the strongest counterarguments One that particularly stuck out to me is as follows In a world adhering to free thought or liberal science, ideas gain legitimacy and respectability by successfully withstanding debate and criticism and becoming the consensus although under his scheme, no idea ever becomes unquestionable Bad ideas are weeded out by relentless criticism and, although they re never silenced by political force or the court of public opinion, they rightly become contemptible among society Importantly, the institution of liberal science, as the author calls it, privileges no one s and no group s beliefs or ideas above another s, even a historically marginalized group, so an idea must be analyzed for correctness and legitimacy without any regard to the identity of the speaker As the author puts it whatever you do to check a proposition must be something that anyone can doand get the same resultregardless of identity Ideas and their legitimacy and respectability must be public in this sense accessible to anyone regardless of identity And thus any attempt based on one s identity, even as a member of a historically margainalized group, to silence another or to circumvent the legitimacy of the marketplace of ideas is illiberal and wrong The counterargument against this view is that that it forgets who the scorekeepers are in this marketplace of ideas The scorekeepers, the people contributing to the popularity of ideas and deciding the respectability legitimacy popularity of them, are largely white males I think this is arguably one of the strongest counterarguments and yet the author doesn t address it.My favorite part of the book was probably the Forward at the end, which the authors seems to have written just a few years ago for the new edition of the book In it, the author, who is gay, provides an interesting and I think compelling example an anti hate speech law in the realm of gay rights decades ago probably would have targeted speech by gay people, not homophobes, and would have lookedlike defend our children from pro gay speech .BOOK ⚐ Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought ☪ Tracing attacks on free speech from Plato s Republic to America s campuses and newsrooms, Jonathan Rauch provides an engaging and provocative attack on those who would limit free thought by restricting free speech Rauch explores how the system for producing knowledge works in a liberal society, and why it has now become the object of a powerful ideological attack Moving beyond the First Amendment, he defends the morality, rather than the legality, of an intellectual regime that relies on unfettered and often hurtful criticism Kindly Inquisitors is a refreshing and vibrant essay, casting a provocative light on the raging debates over political correctness and multiculturalism Fiercely argued What sets his study apart is his attempt to situate recent developments in a long range historical perspective and to defend the system of free intellectual inquiry as a socially productive method of channeling prejudice Michiko Kakutani, New York Times Like no other, this book restates the core of our freedom and demonstrates how great, and disregarded, the peril to that freedom has become Joseph Coates, Chicago Tribune The philosophical defense of free speech and free thought that seems to have been forgotten A powerful argument Diane Ravitch, Wall Street Journal 1993 homosexuals, like all minorities, stand to lose farthan they win from measures regulating knowledge or debate Today, true, the regulators may take gay people s side But the wheel will turn, and the majority will reassert itself, and, when the inquisitorial machinery is turned against them, homosexuals will rue the day they helped set it up 2016 Make America great again Jonathan Rauch s essay in defence of liberalism in all its forms, free thought, free speech, democracy 1993 homosexuals, like all minorities, stand to lose farthan they win from measures regulating knowledge or debate Today, true, the regulators may take gay people s side But the wheel will turn, and the majority will reassert itself, and, when the inquisitorial machinery is turned against them, homosexuals will rue the day they helped set it up 2016 Make America great again Jonathan Rauch s essay in defence of liberalism in all its forms, free thought, free speech, democracy and capitalism feels now, sadly, like a timely warning which has gone unnoticed while it had the political power of a warning Now it can be read as a justification of the status quo The repressed, be they minorities or the majority, reassert themselves and turn on those who they see as their inquisitors.The attack directed against censorship and the limitation of free speech is powerful, very sharp and single mindedly focused on this single aspect He does not take into consideration the difference between verbally abusing a person and dismantling that person s ideas or beliefs with arguments However, he does make a distinction, in the afterword, between verbal attacks on abstract thing, which he sais are grouped by Karl Popper in World Three, and other types of attacks, on feelings and persons.This book makes a compelling argument of favour of liberalism, and a reminder of the dangers which lurk behind any intention of limiting it No conflict of ideas is won by suppressing one side or another, but only by convincing arguments and proofs Written over 25 years ago, this book becomes relevant in today s political and social climate In some ways the book turned out prophetic What some people started seeing after the 2014 Gamergate controversy, this author saw coming long ago Although we were conscious of people of faith getting offended by facts or opinions namely those thing concerning blasphemy, like drawing cartoons that get islamists triggered , today we see the liberal side of politics and society canibilizing itself with Written over 25 years ago, this book becomes relevant in today s political and social climate In some ways the book turned out prophetic What some people started seeing after the 2014 Gamergate controversy, this author saw coming long ago Although we were conscious of people of faith getting offended by facts or opinions namely those thing concerning blasphemy, like drawing cartoons that get islamists triggered , today we see the liberal side of politics and society canibilizing itself with ideological misguidedness of controling speech.This work, oldish as it may seem, is relevant to keep in check today s thought police Doubleplusgood Jonathan Rauch responds to a series of modern threats to free speech, including the fatwa against Salman Rushdie not to mentionrecent threats and executions against critics of Islam or Muhammad , laws in Europe punishing deniers of the Holocaust, and campus speech codes prohibiting words or statements that may cause offense to select groups His title is partly inapt For one, the reference to the Inquisition correctly points to the quasi religious fanaticism of these various zealots, b Jonathan Rauch responds to a series of modern threats to free speech, including the fatwa against Salman Rushdie not to mentionrecent threats and executions against critics of Islam or Muhammad , laws in Europe punishing deniers of the Holocaust, and campus speech codes prohibiting words or statements that may cause offense to select groups His title is partly inapt For one, the reference to the Inquisition correctly points to the quasi religious fanaticism of these various zealots, but there is nothing at all kindly about these fanatics who regularly resort to threats even overt acts of force and violence More, his argument is less focused on these inquisitors than on defining and defending the revolutionary system of liberal science that these inquisitors are bent on undermining and destroying In defining this modern liberal social system, Rauch undoubtedly unawares inverts the Straussian narrative of a declension from the philosophic virtue of the ancients to the low and base world of the moderns Rauch s arch enemy and archetypal foe is Plato, whom Rauch identifies as the original totalitarian, a would be philosopher King who endorsed force and fraud as foundations for his utopian system Giving Socrates his due as a model of proto liberal intellectual humility, Rauch appreciates the temptations of the Platonic utopian ideal, but presents that utopian vision as being built on the false presumption that there is a Truth that the human mind can access As Rauch puts it, Diversity, of belief, thought, opinion, experience, is a fact, like it or not Whereas a Plato and various fundamentalists and totalitarians since sought to remove diversity of thought, along with the social strife which accompanies diversity, Rauch sees the liberal social system as grounded in the acceptance of a multiplicity and diversity of perspectives as an inescapable feature of human society Departing from Plato, and tracing through the modern skepticism of Descartes, Montaigne, and Hume, Rauch identifies a connecting thread that he defines as the principle of public criticism This means that no one gets the final say on any matter, and no one has personal authority Put differently, this principle accepts the skeptic s despondency at knowing the inability of knowing, and asserts that henceforth anything worthy of being called knowledge must be tested publicly Rauch rightly sees this principle as radical and democratic in nature He unpacks the revolutionary character of this principle in the again inaptly named chapter The Politics of Liberal Science This chapter addresses the theme of order without authority which might be taken as the motto both of political liberalism and of science And though he points to Locke s political project including the principles of consent, constitutionalism, and toleration he leaves that political project aside, contending that the most intimate connection between members of the liberal constellation is also the least appreciated the connection between democracy and science He points also to markets here but does not develop the connection, content to argue that in addition to modern institutions of political liberalism and capitalism, both of which operate on the principles of public criticism, there is also the institution of liberal science, which is not simply our way of producing academic research but is our way of producing useful social knowledge He presents liberal science as a game or an activity bounded by the rules of public criticism Though he does discuss scientific activity in the academic world his interest isin terms of political culture Against fundamentalist and humanitarian challenges the former of which to put words in his mouth asserts an objective Truth, and the latter of which asserts the inviolable Truth of subjectivity Rauch argues, The genius of liberal science lies not in doing away with dogma and prejudice it lies in channeling dogma and prejudice making them socially productive Continuing, Rauch argues Biases and prejudices make us human and give us sparkle to our minds What is to be condemned is not bias but unchecked bias The point of liberal science is not to be unprejudiced which is impossible the point is to recognize that your own bias might be wrong and submit it to public checking by people who believe differently Against fundamentalists, Rauch rejects the notion that the liberal mode of knowing must grant equal time to every belief Not simply is that impossible, it rejects the principle of public criticism, which may allow personal beliefs conscience to exist unmolested but which expects claims of knowledge to pass through stringent critique and examination Against humanitarians those who assert the inviolability of individual feelings against human prejudices and biases Rauch says, in effect, toughen up Words may indeed wound, but they do not wound like bullets do Humanitarian critics of the liberal intellectual system must acknowledge the advantages that system brings, and reject the temptation to deny the biases of others or impose their own prejudices by force That way leads to totalitarianism Rauch s book is both energizing and frustrating It offers a zealous defense of an intellectual position that rejects zealotry At the same time, it feels as if it were written in a polemicist s haste and not with the length or precision that the topic deserves In particular, it doesn t disentangle some of the differences between the liberal intellectual system and the liberal economic and political systems, especially with regard to the types of expertise that are necessary to enter academic scientific fields as compared to the negligible barriers to entry into democratic citizenship and into the marketplace It also overlooks any particularly American or Madisonian contributions to this intellectual system Rauch wants to go beyond constitutionalism to epistemology, but he overlooks opportunities to present a uniquely democratic and American response to the problem of who can rule and who can possess authoritative knowledge But this is an important book, which deserves to be read by a broad audience