Editorial

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What do you do when you want to speak about an issue in the workplace but find that ill-informed policies penalise you for doing so? What do you say when your son or daughter comes home from school and tells you that “capitalism is racist?” What course of action do you take when your friend or colleague is presumed guilty for a transgression they never committed?

We’ve covered these types of situations extensively at Quillette since our inception. And we’re proud of doing so. Not just because these are important issues of justice and fairness, but because many of these stories would never have reached a wider audience without our platform. Who else would have published the story of a mathematician having his paper “disappeared” because of its politically incorrect hypothesis? Or the plight of a young anthropology journal founder who was ousted by a mob led by a famous author?

When an individual has had their professional reputation unfairly tarnished, or is hounded by a social media mob — or has their right to due process or free expression curtailed — they’re unlikely to make the headline news. These stories are not sensational. But they impact people’s lives in real and devastating ways.

We don’t yet know for sure if these types of events are happening with greater frequency and intensity in the age of social media — but anecdotal evidence suggests they are. Providing a platform where fundamental principles are defended — and where people can turn to if they need to speak the truth or defend themselves — is now more important than ever.

Since 2015, we have defended many individuals when they have had their right to free expression, open inquiry, or due process curtailed. Such individuals include: Steven Galloway, Stephen Elliott, James Damore, Alessandro Strumia, Catherine Deneuve, Megan Murphy, Camille Paglia, Margaret Atwood, Toby Young, Charles Murray, Sam Harris, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Jordan Peterson, Inna Shevchenko, Amanda Knox, Sarah Haider, Richard Dawkins, Germaine Greer, Maajid Nawaz, Jamie Kilstein, Noah Carl, and many others. Groups we have defended include: heterodox academics, liberal and apostate Muslims, dissident and ‘gender critical’ feminists, poets, authors, and other creatives, knitters, tech engineers, the neurodiverse, the immigrant, the ‘low information voter,’ Hong Kong activists, and many, many more.

As an editorial team, we don’t always agree with the content we publish, or the people we defend. But that is not the point. We agree that foundational principles that promote fairness, civility, and openness, should be available to all.

It hasn’t always been easy, of course. We’ve faced concerted pushback from activists who are unsympathetic to our mission. We’ve been misrepresented, slandered, and hoaxed. One of our former colleagues, Andy Ngo, has been viciously assaulted.

Despite the setbacks, the Quillette community grows stronger. This is because we represent something larger than just an online publication. What unites our readers and contributors is belief in something larger than themselves — a belief in the importance of pursuing objective truth, and the ability to find solutions to our collective problems through ingenuity and reason.

I was recently at a pub in Westminster, London, sharing a drink with Quillette readers, and the message from I heard was the same that I’ve heard in Sydney, Toronto, San Francisco, and New York. Readers have told me that Quillette has been an like an oasis for them. Since much of the media has become emotive and identity-obsessed, we stand out as a place where rationality still takes precedence.

At this point, you might be thinking that yes illiberal trends are worrying, but what realistically, can one magazine do?

To be honest, we’re not entirely sure either, but we’re ready and willing to find out. Our project started as the idea of one individual (me) and has grown from one editor to five in less than four short years. We’ve published 500 articles per year while attracting significantly more pageviews than our competitors who have vastly more resources behind them.

We’re still independently funded primarily through reader donations (advertising consists of about one quarter of our revenue). Yet to achieve our main objectives, we still need to grow. To that end, we want you to join us.

While we have come to dominate the niche of thoughtful online commentary, there are other avenues in which a Quillette presence will thrive. For example, we have not ventured into video or documentary — something that we wish to rectify in the coming year. And we have not yet produced a podcast series on the heretics who have questioned the Standard Social Science Model — something else we wish to rectify in the next twelve months. And we have only hosted two Quillette Socials — one in Toronto and one in London — ideally we would like to host additional events in the United States, Australia, and Europe — but we need your help to make it happen.

Quillette has come a long way from its humble beginnings — but we still have a way to go. Every week we hear new stories of public shaming and self-censorship. Each day we see a new social media mob browbeating individuals into submission. While many of us enjoy economic prosperity, good health, and physical security, it’s all for nothing if we live our lives under intimidation. And if the very principles which created our security and prosperity were at risk —would we stand up to defend them? Would we defend those who did?

 

Claire Lehmann is the Founding Editor of Quillette. She tweets at @clairlemon.

 

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Comments

  1. That’s an easy one. Because I’ve have been a beneficiary of capitalism, so too have my children been. That one now finds this system to be unethical indicates an objection to receiving its benefits further, so I cut the child off financially. I leave it to child then to find an ethical solution to pay for his/her education, car, health and auto insurance, mobile, petrol, and other costs of living. This includes no longer staying at the home racism built and eating the food racism provides.

    Of course, a parent should, and really had better do many things years prior to the child leaving for school that ought to aid him/her to recognise the ridiculousness of “capitalism is racist” and similar assertions.

  2. Quillette does indeed deserve commendation. It is one of the very, very few sites that allow free and open debate. I am grateful to it.

  3. What do you do when you want to speak about an issue in the workplace but find that ill-informed policies penalise you for doing so?

    Policies or not, discussing issues in the workplace is seldom productive. For one thing, most people at work are not your friends. If one has any doubts about that, leave for another job and see how many of your old workmates still socialize with you.

    What do you say when your son or daughter comes home from school and tells you that “capitalism is racist?”

    One’s immediate response should be: “I’m a capitalist. Do you believe I’m a racist?” If the answer is “yes”, then proceed thusly: If she’s under 18 and still in high school, cancel her racist cell phone account. If she’s over 18 and out of high school, chuck her out of the house.

    What course of action do you take when your friend or colleague is presumed guilty for a transgression they never committed?

    I assume we’re talking about false accusations of racism or sexual bias, rather than murder. My first course of action is to enquire as to whether the friend or colleague is a liberal. Does he vote Democrat?

    If so, screw him. Serves him right. If not, then the question is far too open to address in a brief internet comment, but some sort of revenge against the perpetrators is certainly called for.

  4. Time for a Sydney meet-up! Who do we have in Sydney, except for Claire and @PeterfromOZ?

    Hopefully thinkspot is fully operational soon, for those of us boycotting Patreon.

  5. Quillette has indeed been a beacon of sanity in insane times. Thank you Claire and the rest of the staff at Quillette.

  6. Pony up people. Buy a shirt, a hoodie, a cup. Donate or subscribe. If you come here and comment or consume the content…don’t be a god damn freeloader. Free thought isn’t actually free when people put their time and effort into creating these pieces for you to bitch about, pick to pieces, or (rarely) praise.

    Be a mensch, recompense.

  7. And to you assholes arguing quotes from the article… give it a rest. It’s time to pay up, not argue with the founder of a small business asking you to do your part in keeping this thing going.

  8. It’s never their fault, is it. Never their responsibility. They will never be held accountable for any of their thoughts, now or in the future.

    It will always be somebody else’s fault.

  9. That’s not punishing them. That’s giving them the opportunity to exercise their beliefs and principles. Racism is repellent, is it not? Why would the person then continue to participate in and contribute to racism? Go live and learn on anti-capitalist commune.

  10. Out or curiosity, do you have children? While I don’t object to your suggestions, I’m curious if this is a thought experiment or something that could be real for you? I have young children and I have generally held the view that my love will always be unconditional while my financial support is always conditional. Not too heavy handed mind you as I want my children to develop their own passions, but something like your examples would trigger the conditional clause if I was the financial backer. It is certainly swimming against the current to even hold this view so I’m always interested if people really hold this line as parents.

  11. Yes, three children, all with PhDs in the physics or elect. eng. from Harvard, CIT and U of Illinois. And two wonderful grand-daughters one of whom is pre-med.
    I understand your problem which I actually did not have to face in the early 1990s. The problem now is with post modern indoctrination about the hateful, warmongering, fascist country they live in these days, and how socialism will eventually fix the world, given enough time to eradicate everyone with initiative.

  12. That “capitalism is racism” theme is so out of bounds it should never be seen in print again, even to negate it.

  13. Sure do. Of course, I haven’t left them exposed to any nonsense taught in school. Everything is reviewed, and where shortcomings are found I give them many more assignments to broaden their understanding. Let’s not forget, an 18-year-old is an adult; in some places like Britain a 16-year-old may join the military, though they may not be deployed in combat operations until older. Plenty of late teens are able to find their way in the world without mum and dad still providing the crutch.

    Unconditional love ought to be reviewed critically. Does this mean unconditional financial aid? Of course not. But it’s not only finances. If your children were a threat to others in the family, I reckon serious actions would have to be taken. This doesn’t mean you cease loving your child, but it does mean painful consequences will befall the child. If my children decided to become communists, I’m not bankrolling it. Same if my children decided to become criminals. Or Scientologists. Moonies. Or anything else I disagree with. They’ll have to support themselves solely in these endeavours.

  14. Yes, your grandchildren are not your children, so you have constraints unlike parents.

    I agree with you. Building a child’s wherewithal and educating him/her beyond what is presented in the classroom begins long before s/he is a teen.

    I don’t understand this part of your comment. I know the history you mention, but the relevance to what I said is what?

  15. Or even if you may not like the content but find the comment threads informative and useful. Thanks to the hosts for the platform from a bitchy reader who rarely praises. Also thanks to Ike for the “gentle” reminder to recompense and not just think about it and then forget.

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