In the Trump era, all of this stuff looks positively quaint. There is no longer any question that libertarianism is usually a thin veneer over the standard Republicans, which is in turn a thin veneer over outright fascism. ESR has gone full fash to nobody's surprise.
A big influence on Meaningness and Phil Agre and thus indirectly on me. But I also have a pretty deep resistance; the man was a Nazi, and when the anti-rationalism starts to shade into fascism that's where I get off the train.
We are in an interesting moment for the study of shaming. Racist opinions do put one outside the boundary of people who deserve to be heard; and because Trump and the Republican party are so tied to racism and violent fascism, they are starting to have the same stench. Colin Powell, who may be the eigenperson of center-right establishment respectability, just announced he was leaving the Republican party. This is part of the ongoing process by which certain ideas and certain people get ruled out of bounds.
Obviously the trial has resonance with the political struggles of the present day, We have political tension and protest, and while the basic underlying themes are the same, the position and tactics of the two sides seems pretty different. Nixon and Trump are both figures who give off a whiff of fascism while not quite going all the way there. Trump threatens to lock up his political opponents, the Nixon adminstration actually made a serious legal attempt to do just that.
...the realization that the old-school liberalism that I grew up with is just false in many respects, and one of those its its model of free speech. The liberal idea is that speech and discourse is highly separable from action and power, so you can let all manner of ideas be debated in the speech-sphere and hopefully the good ones will win out due to rationality and make it into the sphere of action.
But this is entirely wrong, and its particularly wrong for political speech, which is always aimed at producing some kind of power shift in the real world. Political speech is not about ideas, its about the political strength of people and coalitions. Everybody kind of knows this, too, except a few naive intellectuals.
And it's particularly wrong when it comes to fascism, which attacks the liberal and rational basis of society. Fascism doesn't operate on ideas; and the Trumpian form of fascism is explcitly designed to allow people to express their feelings without regard to any ground truths, which are dismissed as "fake news".
Liberalism doesn't really know how to defend itself against these toxic ideas, given its metaphysics. I view all the cancellation brou-ha-ha as kind of a weak immune response of liberal civilization against an invasive and potentially fatal disease. It's maybe not the best defense, but its better than nothing, And like a biological immune response, it can go too far and cause more damage than it prevents.
Also I would think that all the weirdness at the margins of the Trump movement (Kek, meme magic, the Qanon cult, and the connections with Yarvin and Nick Land) would be topics of great interest here. Maybe it's too unpleasant to think about how weird shit is being weaponized by malignant forces, but probably not good idea to ignore it either.
Deplatforming is the social analog of Freudian repression. And while both of those might be necessary for civilization, they are imperfect, and the repressed will always try to find ways to reassert itself.
I'm a leftist and the thing that demands resistance for me is fascism. My warning-detectors for fascism are set high, although as it turns out I was quite right about it. But our local American fascism is not at the stage of a shooting war and probably won't be, so what does resistance even mean? I wrote some blog posts and tweets trying to get people stirred up, and went to some protests. Big freakin' deal.