The Corner

Politics & Policy

Are Substack Letters Cancel-Proof?

About the trend toward independent email newsletters, David Brooks writes:

The first good thing about Substack is there’s no canceling. A young, talented heterodox thinker doesn’t have to worry that less talented conformists in his or her organization will use ideology as an outlet for their resentments.

I wish I had Brooks’s confidence.

In reality, people who are building large enterprises on Substack are making a very big bet that the newsletter platform will somehow prove immune to the pressure campaigns that have been so successfully deployed against Twitter, Facebook, Patreon, etc., and even against website-hosting companies.

If the New York Times Company cannot bring itself to stand up for the values of free exchange and intellectual openness — and it plainly cannot — then why should we be confident that a technology company will?

Perhaps Substack will stand tall on this. But that is conjecture. It may be wishful thinking.

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