Mass Shootings

Melissa Chen: "Ideas Have Consequences. So Does Silence."

The Singapore-born journalist and free-speech activist says identity politics are destroying the media, higher ed, and Hollywood.


"Ideas have consequences. But so does silence," insists Melissa Chen, the New York editor for The Spectator and managing director of Ideas Beyond Borders, a nonprofit that translates new and classic texts about science, history, and liberal political philosophy into Arabic and distributes them as free e-books throughout the Middle East.

Born and raised in Singapore, Chen came to the United States to study genomics at Boston University and quickly established herself as a foe of groupthink, political correctness, and cancel culture in America while critiquing authoritarian regimes in China, her birth country, and elsewhere. A frequent guest on shows and podcasts such as The Joe Rogan Experience, Bridget Phetasy's Walk-Ins Welcome, and The Rubin Report, Chen maintains one of the liveliest feeds on Twitter, mixing long threads with sardonic comments on the news of the day. "I'd like to welcome the Arabs to the Schrödinger's White People Club. Signed, Asians and Jews," she wrote after some commentators claimed the reason that suspected Boulder, Colorado shooter Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, a Syrian Arab, was not killed by police was because he was "white."

Chen talks with Nick Gillespie about how an obsessive focus on identity politics led the media to keep insisting without evidence that the murder of massage parlor workers in Atlanta was a hate crime against Asian Americans, why Hollywood is changing its products to please censors in the Chinese government, and how the best way to counter radicalization is with speech and information rather than repression.