This article is a textbook example of just how wrong a liberal can be.
The Economist is not a leftist publication. It’s politically centrist to libertarian in outlook. That anyone could just lump that publication in with actual leftist fora and publications underscores how uninformed Zakaria’s attempt at criticism actually is. What is being claimed about The Economist is not a critique; it is a baseless tantrum, nothing more.
Bannon is not a conservative. He’s a fascist. Fascism is not conservatism, even though (to conservatism’s lasting discredit) conservatives have time and time again made the error of thinking they can enter into mutually beneficial alliances with fascists. Some conservatives know better; is, say, Rick Wilson now a “leftist” because he cheers when Bannon and his ilk get deplatformed?
Fascists don’t really want to debate. They say that’s what they want, but Rule No. 1 about fascists is that they lie… a lot. Fascists want to project strength and growing numbers, and to intimidate. The best way to battle someone who wants to look strong is to make them look weak. Mock them, marginalize them, harass them, deny them platforms, make them run whining to the state and the cops begging for protection like the pathetic weaklings they can be made into.
It is possible to believe both in deplatforming fascists and in allowing conservatives to freely debate. Of course it is, because conservatives are not fascists. See the previous paragraph. Unlike fascists, conservatives generally do want to engage in debate in an open society. I, for one, think it’s a huge mistake to drive the likes of Condoleezza Rice off campuses. Let her debate, then rip her ghoulish and dishonest premises to shreds in the Q&A session afterwards.
It all comes down to the paradox of tolerance. This is something that Hannah Arendt, a Jew and a Holocaust refugee, came up with as a result of bitter experience with Fascism v1.0. In order for a tolerant, open society to persist long-term, it must paradoxically be intolerant of intolerance itself. And Arendt was hardly a fan of left-wing authoritarianism: she was a political centrist who fiercely opposed Stalinism.
How wrong can a liberal be? When begging that fascists be given respect: very, very wrong indeed.