One thing that’s become inescapably obvious about the political left over the last decade is just how insanely tribalist and insular they have become. “People are behaving in ways that are increasingly irrational, feverish, herd-like and simply unpleasant,” as Douglas Murray writes (although Murray doesn’t explicitly target the left, every example he subsequently uses is of a left-wing ideology). Like medieval inquisitors or Soviet cadres, the social-media enforcers of left-wing orthodoxy are hyper-vigilant for anyone who strays from approved opinion.

Their latest would-be victim is Ricky Gervais but, to his credit, he’s having none of it. No snivelling apology, no public obeisance. Gervais is standing up for what’s right.

On Friday evening, Ricky Gervais responded to critics upset over the comedian “accepting” Christian and conservative followers since his blistering Golden Globes monologue against Hollywood.

Wagon-circling doctrinaires that they are, the left cannot imagine that people who disagree on many things can nonetheless not only find common ground elsewhere but accept one another whilst respectfully disagreeing.

Thus, they not only sneer at conservatives who cheered Gervais’ Golden Globes speech lashing Hollywood hypocrisy, they also clutch their pearls when Gervais welcomes conservatives aboard his social media platform.

“I’ve noticed a couple of tweets criticising me for ‘accepting’ new followers who are the ‘opposite’ of me,” Gervais posted via Twitter. “Christian, conservative, pro life, pro gun, reactionaries. Of course I accept them.”

“To err is human, to forgive divine. It’s what Jesus would do. Dog Bless all my followers,” the open atheist added.

“If you don’t believe in free speech for people who you disagree with, and even hate for what they stand for, then you don’t believe in free speech,” he added in a subsequent tweet.

This is perhaps the most telling difference between conservatives and the left. Conservatives are under no illusions about Gervais’ liberal pedigree. They don’t care about that so much as they’re just interested in listening to someone who has something interesting to say – more importantly, they’re not about to ‘cancel’ someone because they say some things they don’t like.

Gervais, an open and proud liberal, has frequently been criticized by the Left for failing to abide by their politically correct rules. In December, for example, the comedian mocked transgender activist Jessica Yaniv.

Like Bill Maher, Gervais says many things a conservative might disagree with. But, like Maher, Gervais is willing to criticise his ‘side’ where he thinks it deserves it. For that, and for his commitment to free speech for views he disagrees with, he deserves respect.

Simply pointing out whether someone is left or right wing isn’t winning the argument.

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