In October of 2019, a small group of genuinely liberal-minded people gathered together for a day of speeches, panels, and community in the Gladstone Library in the National Liberal Club of London. The conference had a title that succinctly described its purpose: Speaking Truth to Social Justice. Over the course of the day, even as the Extinction Rebellion protest raged outside just a block away, we gave seven talks and held two panel discussions, all with the intention of recovering and restating genuine liberalism in this unique era of history, where it faces unique threats.
Last to speak in the evening was our good friend Andrew Doyle, a comedian and satirist most famous for his excellent work with the satirical faux-Woke Twitter account Titania McGrath. In his brilliant and hilarious talk, Doyle provides a worthy and robust defense of both free speech and free thought. He does so by explaining the long history of satire and satirical hoaxes and their applications against unjust power. These, he reminds us, are necessary anywhere power over-asserts itself, especially in censorship, not just to deflate scolds we tend to associate with the right but also those who have arisen recently on the left, before ending with a twist: revealing that he, too, (maybe…, and that’s beside his point) has contributed to this sometimes-necessary tradition.