Alan Jacobs accidentally reveals that despite the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments over accountability culture, in the world of “the open web and the pre-web internet” you actually can’t cancel established or privileged writers, and the world he describes pretty much exactly is what Gurri and Nwanevu were talking about regarding the freedom of association and disassociation. I’ll leave it to Nwanevu.

For instance, while public universities in America are generally bound by the First Amendment, controversial speakers have no broad right to speak at private institutions. Those institutions do, however, have a right to decide what ideas they are and aren’t interested in entertaining and what people they believe will or will not be useful to their communities of scholars—a right that limits the entry and participation not only of public figures with controversial views but the vast majority of people in our society. Senators like Tom Cotton have every right to have their views published in a newspaper. But they have no specific right to have those views published by any particular publication. Rather, publications have the right—both constitutionally as institutions of the press, and by convention as collections of individuals engaged in lawful projects—to decide what and whom they would or would not like to publish, based on whatever standards happen to prevail within each outlet.

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