Activists and writers tired of the cancel culture’s constant chaos have begun to push back, declaring that the shaming, harassment and intimidation that accompany a cancelation are antithetical to American principles of liberty, especially free speech.
You know cancel culture already. You’ve seen it on Facebook, Twitter and campuses nationwide: Keyboard commandos harass, threaten and intimidate their political foes. Perhaps you’ve participated in it.
If we are to survive as a country, cancel culture must end. Otherwise, we will never again meet the mighty challenges that face us.
America is built on conversation. More than 224 years ago, our beloved Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia to deliberate. They discussed this country and debated for long hours what they could build. They disagreed — often vehemently. But they stayed engaged and eventually hammered out the greatest political document ever produced, known at the U.S. Constitution.
Could you imagine contemporary politicians participating in such a heated debate today? It’d be nearly impossible.
Cancel culture was born on college campuses. Ideologues there taught that dissenting speech is violence, and violence must be addressed. This phenomenon has grown and ruined many lives along the way.
For example, last year a man raised nearly $3 million for an Iowa children’s hospital, thanks to a clever sign he displayed while standing in the audience of a Saturday morning football show. As he grew in popularity, online outraged mob members sifted through years of old tweets to find some distasteful writings. All hell broke loose, and the mob attacked.
The man apologized for the unsavory tweets he made as a teen, but his sorrow didn’t satiate the vengeful mob. The attacks continued for weeks.
Who would want to endure that? A so-called cancelation is a plague I’d wish on no one.
Cancel culture is infecting our lives, and the results aren’t pretty. Students, often of a pro-liberty, limited government bent, self-censor in classrooms. Open, vigorous debate is becoming a relic of the past for fear of untoward retaliation. How can a country survive if we cannot allow all opinions to be heard? That’s unwise and will, quite frankly, make us dumb.
Elsewhere, ignorant parties seek to cancel American culture itself. They tear down statues of Founding Fathers, claiming monuments themselves cause deep emotional harm. These woke warriors have even toppled a statue of escaped slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
This nonsense will continue unless we resist. We must turn the tide. We must pledge never to join an online outrage mob, never threaten anyone and never, ever contact the workplace of a political foe. We should invite our children and family members to follow similar standards.
Then, our desire to end cancel culture must flow into politics. We must curtail cancel culture on college campuses where it started. University officials must stop teaching that speech is violence. Colleges must end bias response teams and protect rigorous and candid debate.
If university officials don’t uphold freedom of speech and freedom of thought, lawmakers should do it for them or defund universities altogether.