Yascha Mounk’s Persuasion has jumped the shark.

Even after my political shift from Reagan to Humphrey, I maintained a connection to libertarianism. It felt naive for me to draw a sharp line between the social liberty that drove me and the economic liberty that the zeitgeist supported. Reason magazine resonated with me via their little take-downs of stupid social laws in jurisdictions across the US, and their neoliberal feature articles insisted convincingly that my “just do government better” stance was naive.

That connection waned over time. Perhaps I became more confident in my socialist stance. I do think American libertarianism tightened into a more puritanical form that insisted all public investment is a mistake, and lost me in the shift.

Persuasion had served a similar role for me for a few years. Especially since moving to Europe, I’ve become very intolerant of harmful speech and disavowed the allegiance to “free speech” I grew up with. Persuasion put forward many thoughtful essays and interviews that resonated with me but also kept me thinking about whether, in fact, cancel culture was going too far.

But they certainly have shifted over time. I don’t know if Yascha has radicalized or as he has recently written, it was the point all along, but his editorial choices are now fully committed to free-speech absolutism. This is coupled with a taste of heterodox victimhood and moral panic over campus censorship, and increasingly feels like “contrarian views must be platformed”. Which I thought we already had Joe Rogan for.

It’s become laborious, so I’m removing them from rotation and looking for new on-the-edge-of-my-bubble feeds.

I posted this in March 2024 during week 2611.

For more, you should follow me on the fediverse: @hans@gerwitz.com