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Could you clarify what you mean by 'face value' in this sense?

I guess you mean that a position taken for the purposes of intellectual discourse (e.g. devil's advocate) could just as well be the person's "real" position?

Is there actually a difference in practice, if they're not in a position to act upon it anyway? (Or is the issue that by engaging in the discourse they are acting upon it?)

I think I understand your basic point - everyone who's a public figure is subject to the opinions of a huge number of people who might want to attack them (politically, physically, whatever), and that limiting expression of opinion is a way to protect against this. But doesn't that ultimately result in all public figures being "soft", "tame", basically politicians?

> “I have to confess, when me and my friend, sort of, used to run through the fields of wheat – the farmers weren’t too pleased about that.” - Theresa May, UK prime minister, when asked of the naughtiest thing she'd ever done

“My god” as Slavoj would say. This is an extreme example of orthodoxy gone wrong. If people aren’t even able to philosophically evaluate things and take opposing views to test their positions, we're in for some truly dogmatic times.

Just look at the state of comedy today. It’s absurd. Their jokes are taken as their actual real-life positions on things.

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