Noam Chomsky has been a pretty consistent far left defender of free speech. He even has a book that advocates the media are biased — towards the right! Well, sort of. Scott Alexander has a good review of it (Manufacturing Consent, very apt title for modern times too). Chomsky was also a recent signer of the pro-free speech letter in Harper’s Magazine that the woke are whining about. He is more famous, perhaps, for writing a foreword to a holocaust revisionist book back in 1980, now called the Faurisson affair because the commies of that age were also angry (commies are always angry). I quote the central paragraph from Chomsky’s website:
I do not want to discuss individuals. Suppose, then, that some person does indeed find the petition “scandaleuse,” not on the basis of misreading, but because of what it actually says. Let us suppose that this person finds Faurisson’s ideas offensive, even horrendous, and finds his scholarship to be a scandal. Let us suppose further that he is correct in these conclusions — whether he is or not is plainly irrelevant in this context. Then we must conclude that the person in question believes that the petition was “scandaleuse” because Faurisson should indeed be denied the normal rights of self-expression, should be barred from the university, should be subjected to harassment and even violence, etc. Such attitudes are not uncommon. They are typical, for example of American Communists and no doubt their counterparts elsewhere. Among people who have learned something from the 18th century (say, Voltaire) it is a truism, hardly deserving discussion, that the defense of the right of free expression is not restricted to ideas one approves of, and that it is precisely in the case of ideas found most offensive that these rights must be most vigorously defended. Advocacy of the right to express ideas that are generally approved is, quite obviously, a matter of no significance. All of this is well-understood in the United States, which is why there has been nothing like the Faurisson affair here. In France, where a civil libertarian tradition is evidently not well-established and where there have been deep totalitarian strains among the intelligentsia for many years (collaborationism, the great influence of Leninism and its offshoots, the near-lunatic character of the new intellectual right, etc.), matters are apparently quite different.