What’s So Bad About Cancel Culture?
The other day Instagram told Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., goodbye and good riddance because of the false claims he has been making about Coivid-19 vaccines. Kennedy’s been making a jerk out of himself for years with his anti-vaccine rants, but enough is finally enough.
Is Kennedy the latest victim of the liberal’s new weapon known as ‘cancel culture?’ You bet. And in that respect, he’s following in the footsteps of another anti-vaccinator, the 45th President of the United States. You may recall that Trump used to say that vaccines caused autism, but the ‘Chinese flu’ forced him to change his tune. Of course, he still doesn’t believe that such treatments should be mandated by the government. It’s kind of like speed limits — everyone should be able to decide for themselves how fast they want to drive.
When Twitter cancelled Trump after the Capitol riot, there was a big hue and cry from the alt-right about how ‘cancel culture’ was now running amok. How can you support ‘freedom of speech’ and not let the President of the United States say whatever he wants to say?
Concerns about ‘cancel culture’ were first raised by liberals, in a letter published last year in Harper’s Magazine. The letter was signed by more than 150 liberals, including just about every self-declared liberal who spiels away on the internet or other communication venues which promote the ‘free flow of ideas.’ Here’s just a few of the names: Marin Amis, David Brooks, Noam Chomsky, Atul Gawande, Salman Rushdie, Gloria Steinem, Cornel West, Fareed Zakaria, blah, blah, blah, blah, and blah. If this list doesn’t comprise the ruling class of self-appointed liberal intelligentsia, I don’t know what does.
Here’s what they said: “The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”
When liberals decry any attempt to stifle speech, they invariably cite the 1st Amendment because, after all, free speech is a Constitutional ‘right.’ And since we know that conservatives only support the Constitutional ‘right’ which allows you to own a gun, if liberals don’t stand up for free speech and free this and free that, then all the sacred Constitutional ‘rights’ will disappear. Didn’t Trump rally his supporters day after day with attacks on the ‘free press?’
Our friend Nick Kristof has just posted a column proposing that everyone should start boycotting Fox News because of how commentators like Hannity and Carlson shamelessly parrot alt-right untruths. But then he cautions us because, “my argument leaves even me a bit queasy. I deeply believe in the ‘marketplace of ideas,’ and I do think that there is a danger of a liberal monoculture in some universities, nonprofits, and news organizations.”
With all due respect to our friend Nick Kristof, as well as to liberals who are genuinely concerned about anything that might restrict free speech, I happen to believe that ‘cancel culture’ is a good thing and I wish it would grow and continue to spread. Why? Because if ideas truly exist in a ‘marketplace,’ then we are talking not just about protecting free speech, we are also talking about the existence of private property, because that’s what a marketplace happens to be.
Twitter is a privately-owned company, which means that the people who own it have the same Constitutional protection to decide who can use this property as I have the Constitutional protection to decide who can walk across my front lawn. My front lawn happens to consist of 15 acres of woodland and if I don’t want it disturbed, I just post a No Trespassing sign on one of the trees. Isn’t that what Twitter did to Trump?
If Twitter had banned Trump four years ago, there’s a good chance that the Capitol riot on January 6th wouldn’t have taken place. Are we saying that a bunch of jerks who ran around the Capitol shouting the n-word at Black police officers were simply expressing the free-flow of ideas?