JK Rowling and The Maid’s Tale Scribe Margaret Atwood is among 150 writers, academics, and activists to sign an open letter published by Harper lamenting the “restriction of debate” in modern culture.
Rowling, who has been at the center of a spiteful online debate on the rights of transgender people in recent weeks, wrote her name in the letter, which said: “The free exchange of information and ideas, the soul of a society Liberal, it’s getting more and more restricted. “
He added: “We maintain the value of robust and even caustic counter-voice from all sectors. But now it is all too common to hear calls for quick and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought. “
The letter, titled “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate,” said this culture of progressive cancellation will harm the “vital causes of our time” by silencing “good faith” disagreement.
“The restriction of debate, whether by a repressive government or an intolerant society, invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less able to participate democratically. The way to defeat bad ideas is through exposure, discussion and persuasion, not trying to silence them or wish them to go away, “he continued.
Salman Rushdie, Malcolm Gladwell and Noam Chomsky were also among those who signed the letter, which can be read in its entirety here.
Rowling issued a personal essay last month in an attempt to explain her beliefs about the rights of transgender people. She claimed that certain demands by transgender activists were dangerous for women. The trial was widely criticized by LGBTQ + advocacy groups, which called it transphobic.