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Not Everyone Who Is Mistaken Is Evil — But Some Are

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Ben Bayer and Onkar Ghate discuss the idea held by critics of “cancel culture,” such as John McWhorter and Bari Weiss, that we should not call our political opponents evil. They discuss why we should sometimes regard those who disagree with us as immoral or evil — and treat them accordingly.

Among the topics covered:

  • The phenomenon often called “cancel culture” and how critics conceptualize it;
  • Objectivity versus the “principle of charity” endorsed by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt;
  • What’s wrong with McWhorter’s case for not morally judging political opponents who have different value priorities from us;
  • How the idea that values are not the province of reason breeds reluctance to make moral judgments;
  • What’s wrong with Weiss’s idea that political disagreements shouldn’t affect personal relationships;
  • Why Objectivism rejects the view that we can pass moral judgment only on people’s actions, not their ideas;
  • How the Atlas Society’s stance that ideas are not subject to moral judgment has led to their failure to take ideas seriously.

Mentioned in this podcast are Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s book, The Coddling of the American Mind; John McWhorter’s article “I’m Pro-Choice. But I Don’t Think Pro-Lifers Are Bad People”; Bari Weiss’s article “The New Founders America Needs”; Jonathan Howard’s article “Is Discussing the Consequences of Anti-Vaccine Disinformation Fun?”; Leonard Peikoff’s essay “Fact and Value”; and the New Ideal Live episodes “The Fuel on the Fire of ‘Cancel Culture’” and “Challenging ‘Cancel Culture.’”

The podcast was recorded on August 10, 2022. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.

Podcast audio:


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Sam Weaver

Sam Weaver, BA in English, is an associate fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and a recipient of the Conceptual Education Fellowship.

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