In practice, these writers have turned the Paradox of Tolerance into a farce. They cling to procedural arguments about phantom freedoms, while conceding substantive power to those who explicitly oppose Enlightenment rationalism, equality under the law, and the concept of rights itself.
As a result, they end up enabling the most intolerant voices in our society, who have shown no capacity for self-moderation.
At heart, they mistake protecting the status quo with protecting freedom — a lazy, not principled, position. If their ideas were to prevail, they would end up perverting the very values they claim to cherish: public school teachers forcing first-graders to denounce themselves as racists would become “free speech”; school diversity officers forcing students through race reeducation programs would become “academic freedom.”
And the ratchet only goes one way: They see no problem with states such as California, Oregon, Washington and Illinois mandating critical race theory in their state curricula and teacher-training programs; but if states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho and New Hampshire prohibit it, all of a sudden, that is an “un-American” threat to “the expression of ideas.”