Dear Glenn and John and Subscribers to the Glenn Show:

In the June 5 episode with John McWhorter, “How Should We Memorialize the Past?” Glenn described the intense pushback he received for hosting Norman Finkelstein.

In this Glenn Show episode, Glenn and John touch upon a crucial question for Glenn and John’s long collaboration: how should Glenn, the producer and director and chief actor of the show, respond to complaints that have come in after discussion of Asian immigration with Amy Wax and after the discussion of Finkelstein’s opinions on Zionism and Israel / Palestine. The complaint might be generalized this way: “Given the fact that you Glenn have full control of the Glenn Show infrastructure, how dare you allow the expression of abhorrent opinions of Wax or Finkelstein?” Those who complain expect that at the least Glenn should 1) offer a full and immediate refutation of their toxic opinions; or, 2) introduce a time delay that would enable the censorial removal of toxic opinions at the time of their publication; and/or, 3) pledge that Glenn will for the future avoid guests who have opinions that will spark disagreement of the sort Wax and Finkelstein have incited. Subscribers to the Glenn Show will immediately see that each of these suggestions would undermine the distinctive features of the Show. Refutations by Glenn would destroy the friendly egalitarian sociability that supports the exchange of diverse opinion; censorship would destroy the trust essential to a robust and open dialogue; and, finally, unwarranted anxiety about the possible fallout from guests' opinions could have the longterm effect of narrowing the Glenn Show to a sclerotic consensus that is just plain boring.

Glenn, those who blamed you for hosting Wax and Finkelstein should be called out for what they are actually doing. They are seeking to diminish “the domain of the sayable” (Judith Butler) on the question of Israel’s policies in Gaza and the West Bank; In doing this, they reject, and attempt to close down the freedom of speech of their opponents. In these attacks, they are exercising what in law is called “the heckler’s veto” (of the free speech of their opponents.) But what is most important for the community that Glenn and John have created: you have modeled a pluralistic ethos of free expression that will not surrender the integrity of carefully developed ideas to the drab orthodoxy that many would impose on you and upon us.

Just keep doing what you've been doing!

Expand full comment

Another fantastic show. Very interesting discussion of Robert E. Lee. For what it is worth I think what makes Lee a particularly interesting character is that he wrote as passionately as Lincoln about his feelings against slavery and he was in fact a republican, just as was Lincoln. He was educated alongside the generals who later led the Union army and he was himself offered the command of the Union Army but painfully declined because the Union had declared war on his state. Imagine if Nato declared war on France and expected French generals within NATO to fight on behalf of the invader. This is in no way to justify the "cornerstone cause" of the South's argument, they had built a fragile economy based on 1% of the people owning slaves leading to depressed wages for the population at large, it was an absolute basket-case of an economy and had to end... But Lee was complex and conflicted, he was respected by his foes and "with malice toward none" after a war which pitted family members against one another, which in itself demonstrates that a line could not neatly be drawn across the country as if to say those above are of one mind and those below of another. A statue for Clarence Thomas would likely to be even more controversial which is terrible for a man who has achieved so much from his dirt-poor, Gullah-speaking origins.

Expand full comment

In 1991, I had just graduated from college and sat down to watch the confirmation hearing for Justice Thomas confirmation. I watched live his speech which we should all know. It was life changing and the exact time I became a Republican even with many liberal views. What has Clarence Thomas done to warrant a school named after him. He SURVIVED during the 50’s and 60’s as a black man from the depths of poverty and THRIVED. Seemingly, the weight of historical success or contributions can only be measured by liberal ideology and scrutiny? I disagree!

So as a white woman, I am disgusted utterly disgusted with any black American who does not celebrate Justice Thomas, not for his political beliefs, but MORE IMPORTANTLY for his perseverance, his history, his words, his education, his survival, his contributions, his mentoring, his presence as a black man who after all the struggles HE is an example to all black Americans that despite hardships they will never know, HE made it. That’s “what he has done” John.

Expand full comment
Jun 9·edited Jun 9

Well, that's a tough question

Expand full comment

Glenn your explanations re; Norman Finkelstein were honest and sincere. I agree with you and believe that everyone should be entitled to speak their mind, absent screaming fire in a crowded theater. Finkelstein's discussion with you was both entertaining and thought provoking. I am a Jew and find his views on Jews, Israel, Palestine , Hamas and the list goes on to be abhorrent. Your defense of why you did not counter his facts and argument was plausible, i.e., you cannot fact check as quickly as he speaks and you admitted your are not immersed in the history of the Jews, Israel and so on.

So I am not at all horrified that you gave him a platform to speak his mind. Norman Finkelstein;s mother and perhaps father as well, are holocaust survivors. His views defy all reason based on his parentage. So his arguments must be scrutinized against this fact. This leads to psychoanalysis for which I have no expertise. Why he of all people would espouse such views requires his analyst toperhaps answer. if he had one, the analyst might be flummoxed by his beliefs and reasons for the positions he has taken.

As one who has a Jewish relative or two or three who would relish his stances on the Jews, israel, holocaust etc. my own experience tells me that Dennis Prager is correct when he repeats the refrainon his radio show: "that the left destroys everything it touches. "

In my case their leftist views destroyed our family and i mourn the loss over and over again.

Glenn you are the most articulate, powerful, persuasive intellectualin America today. I recently saw you debate Hitchens in 2002 I believe re; reparations. Your impassioned talk then has only become more passionate and persuasive in the passage of time.

So see if you can spend some time on studying the history of the creation of the modern state of israel: The United nations partitioned the land into two states Israel and Palestine. The Israeli's were immediately attacked by the Palestinians. They refused to accept a Jewish state in their midst. They wanted all the land to themselves.

But even a kindergarten aged child learns by age 5 or 6 that you cannot have it all, you have to share. When the Palestinians realize this lesson, there will be peace. But if they refuse to learn this lesson, their plight will remain the same.

I suggest you read Dennis Prager's book the Rational Bible: Leviticus.

Start with the chapters on slavery, since this is a hot topic today. You might want to become a Jew after reading it. .

You and John are the brightest people online, that I know. I feel especially lucky to have found you.

On Clarence Thomas your impassioned defense of the Justice is well taken. Especially your comments on what matt Dowd said. Only item unmentioned is that the current life style enhancements he and his wife have enjoyed by Harlan Crow should have been disclosed with each trip, house purchase, mother living there rent free, all should have been disclosed when the enhancement came. There is no rational defense of not having done so. Basic ethics that a law student studies in law school was all he needed to know this. i studied these ethical canons to pass the California bar in 1977. Was Clarence Thomas absent that day from law class?

Expand full comment

I enjoyed listening to Norman's point of view. Go Glenn !

Expand full comment

I’m brand new to Glenn’s substack ( or any substack). I’m hoping to get a message through to Glenn:

Glenn, how about inviting Victor Davis Hanson as a guest on your podcast with John? A conversation on the current sociopolitical state of the United States

would be incredible.

Thank you

Expand full comment

Sorry, have to dissent about Clarence Thomas. Like Alito, he is a politician in robes, within an institution that has been transformed into an unelected branch of legislative government. The Federal courts are almost entirely the creation of Congress. Congress has the responsibility and obligation to check this corruption.

Expand full comment

Glenn is squarely on point. What is the nexus of constitutional jurisprudence and race? Thomas is a great justice.

Expand full comment

Dr. Loury, perhaps you should re-read the book: The Jewish State, by Theodor Herzl. He makes it very clear what Zionism is along with the idea that it is not religious. An oxymoron if ever there was one. Back to basics; read his book.

Expand full comment

Yep. And we all know who will be in the sea under this formula.

Expand full comment

Brother Jed! I knew him well from Kent State. His last name was Smock and his wife was Sister Cindy, an ex-disco-queen. Still today one of the worst examples of 'Christianity' I've ever seen (along with Michael Woroniecki with his eight-foot cross and bloody Jesus jacket who later came to notoriety as the preacher Andrea Yates listened to - she's the woman who drowned her five children in a bathtub in the '90s).

Brother Jed practiced 'confrontational evangelism' and yes, it was quite fashionable to surround him and heckle him which he loved. My fave Bro Jed response when he listed all the sex sins you weren't allowed to do according to the Bible but he missed one that the Bible itself missed. Someone asked, "What about oral sex?" Jed replied, "Son, let me ask you something. Would you stick a pizza up your nose? No? Well of course not, it's not meant for your nose, it's meant for your mouth. So you don't stick your genitals where they don't belong." To which of course, some other wag shouted, "But you can't FIT a pizza in your nose!"

There used to be a Usenet group dedicated to him called alt-brother.jed where members of different religious stripes debated Jed and confrontational evangelism. It was quite interesting and I made a few online friends there I never met IRL.

Expand full comment
Jun 6·edited Jun 6Liked by Glenn Loury

I made several critical comments about Finkelstein in your comments section for that original episode. In one, I hope I made clear I did not criticize your decision to do the interview. I want to re-stress that, because I absolutely reject the idea you should be criticized for engaging with Finkelstein. I found the episode fascinating, and even though I think Finkelstein is all wet on Israel (and Chomsky), I also enjoyed his "persistence" as you say. Some of it was refreshing. You and John have achieved a great triumph in these insane times, a readiness to provide a forum for a truly free exchange of ideas. Like the monks writing in the scriptorium, you are keeping lit a light that will shine again one day.

Expand full comment
Jun 6Liked by Glenn Loury

In reference to your discussion about the legacy of Justice Clarence Thomas, I think he correctly summarized it himself duration his confirmation hearing; that he is one those "... uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas...".

That is not the only reason why I believe he is a supremely (pun intended) important figure in the history of this great nation, but it's the one most relevant to the discussion at hand.

The above is only an excerpt from his full statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and I encourage everyone to read the full transcript of his statements that day.

Thank You.

Expand full comment

Uncle Clarence who in addition to abortion would overturn decisions on contraceptives and gay rights but not interracial marriage. If it was up to Uncle Clarence and Ginni (who thinks she is by injection the 10th Justice) Donald Trump would be sitting in the Oval Office right now.

Expand full comment

Good people on both sides? Could you point one out? I don't know about you but all I saw was Nazis carrying torches singing Blood And Soil, Jews Will Not Replace Us. And ultimately committing vehicular homicide. The statue was just the vehicle for "Unite The White". If you think it was all about a statue then you are pretty fucking stupid.

Expand full comment