Politics and the evolution of the dogwhistle

Free speech cannot be taken at face value

The debate around free speech is back in full swing, but can you debate someone who isn't actually meaning what they say? Jennifer Saul and Ray Drainville argue that as technology and platforms evolve, so do dogwhistles, the method political actors seek to rally support and build movements that would be rejected in normal discourse. Only by studying the evolution of dogwhistles, and inoculating the public to their use, can we hope to make the marketplace of ideas free from fraud. This work is based on a recent book by Jennifer titled Dogwhistles and Figleaves.

 

It’s almost a cliché to talk about manipulative politicians bringing out the worst in the electorate. Can it possibly be worth discussing in yet more detail? Unfortunately, it very much is. Racial hatred and wildly implausible conspiracy theories are on the rise, and manipulative language is

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