Intellectual freedom Intelligent Design

Useful reflections on the Cancel Culture everyone faces now

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Including self-Cancelation. Used to just be ID types and some others who knew about this stuff up close:

Cancel culture operates on at least three different levels: the personal, the corporate, and the political. Each is more troubling than the next, because each casts a broader net and eliminates more and more options. It’s one thing for me to cancel my Twitter account after being attacked as morally obtuse, worse to be permanently kicked off the site because its moderators have decided I am beyond redemption, and more troubling still to have the government shut down Twitter because it allowed my awful speech.

It’s tempting to single out that last level because the other two involve individuals or private entities who ultimately should be free to do whatever they want. Only the government can engage in true censorship, surely. But the three layers work synergistically to increase the cultural and political regulation of thought and expression. To build as free and open a society as possible, we need to challenge the precepts of cancel culture at all levels…

Nick Gillespie, “Self-Cancellation, Deplatforming, and Censorship” at Reason (September 7, 2021)

and self-Cancelation?

Self-cancellations, in which individuals take the initiative to put themselves out of the public’s misery, are in many ways the purest manifestation of cancel culture, because they reveal the religious-cum-totalitarian sensibility undergirding the process. From the Spanish Inquisition through Mao’s struggle sessions, it wasn’t enough simply to damn the accused. The goal was to make them testify to their moral and ideological failings, to show they were “doing the work” and owning their sins. This move was on display when the banjoist for the fading hipster-retro band Mumford & Sons announced in March that he “was taking time away from the band to examine [his] blindspots” after he unforgivably endorsed a book that purports to unmask “antifa’s radical plan to destroy democracy.” Winston Marshall’s crime was to tweet “Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man” at the controversial journalist Andy Ngo, whose Unmasked spent time on the New York Times bestseller list and is still available for purchase at Amazon, the new arbiter of what is and isn’t hate speech. “I have offended not only a lot of people I don’t know,” wrote Marshall, “but also those closest to me, including my bandmates and for that I am truly sorry.” I’ll come back to Marshall, who announced in June that he was leaving Mumford & Sons for good. For now, let’s just note that when he apologized for his wrongthink, he felt a need to insist he was not just sorry, but truly sorry.

Nick Gillespie, “Self-Cancellation, Deplatforming, and Censorship” at Reason (September 7, 2021)

Baring your throat to the wolf is not really a good survival tactic.

The incidents are also distracting from more serious threats to freedom of expression, particularly the continuous narrowing of acceptable discourse on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and shopping platforms such as Amazon and eBay. After the Dr. Seuss Foundation made its announcement, for instance, Amazon and eBay quickly banned sales of used copies of the canceled Seuss books, the sort of prohibition more commonly applied to Nazi memoribilia. What kind of simulation are we living in where Mein Kampf is easier to purchase than McElligot’s Pool?

Nick Gillespie, “Self-Cancellation, Deplatforming, and Censorship” at Reason (September 7, 2021)

Oh, that’s easy to answer. It will be as fully an authoritarian culture as the Third Reich but with different authoritarians in charge. And that’s the way Cancel Culture supporters want it.

You may also wish to read: Berkeley Scientist and center director resigns over MIT’s deplatforming of exoplanet scientist Note how little difference facts of science make in these matters — whether Abbot has anything to say that contributes to our knowledge does not matter of the Woke are displeased. Darwinism was the original Wokeness in science — immune to fact-based critique. The people who thought that that didn’t concern them are now formally wrong. It’s everywhere now.

Science always loses in these wars because a high proportion of important new ideas are misunderstood or controversial. Perhaps actual science will only survive on the fringes.

6 Replies to “Useful reflections on the Cancel Culture everyone faces now

  1. 1
    jerry says:

    Cancel culture has existed since the beginning of time. Freedom of speech was never the norm and only a few could afford to express displeasure with the powers. And these powers would often come and go.

    I am currently listening to a course on the time of the US Revolution. “Ordinary Americans in the Revolution”. https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/ordinary-americans-in-the-revolution

    There were movements going on to silence and even physically harm those who did not agree. First with those who opposed the English’s often clumsy governance as the British time and time again tried to silence any criticism of their right to rule and tax.

    Then it turned on the dime and the suppression of those who supported the British was the norm. Intolerance was rampant at the time before the revolution on both sides. So far I have gotten to early 1776 and the course goes on past the end of the Revolution. It was a time of remarkable change but the actual history is rarely taught anywhere especially in schools.

    PS: did you know that the Boston Tea Party had nothing to do with taxes. Rich Boston merchants were making a lot of money smuggling in tea from non British sources and selling it to Bostonians. The tea destroyed in the Boston Tea Party would have been sold cheaper even with the British taxes than the current tea available. But John Hancock would have lost a lot of money.

  2. 2
    Truth Will Set You Free says:

    Jerry@1: I’m wondering what your point is. Assuming that you are correct, how should we respond to the modern cancel culture movement? Should we be concerned at all, or should we just ignore it as something that has always been with us in one form or another?

  3. 3
    jerry says:

    Should we be concerned at all, or should we just ignore it

    My main point is that this tendency has always existed and exists on both sides of the political spectrum.

    My personal opinion is that It is never good. I was only pointing out we tend to overlook it when it happens to the other side. So those on the side of the canceling probably look at it as something good.

    I often point out that the Montagnards always turn on the Girondists. Two factions from the French Revolution. Thus, those like some who appear here are unaware that they too are likely to be cancelled by the people they now support.

    One thing that relevant to ID is that there is a side that supports ID and one that doesn’t. But if ID should win the day, the current ID side would turn on each other.

  4. 4
    Fasteddious says:

    Jerry: The difference here is that the American Revolution was a true armed revolt involving open, violent conflict, while today’s polarizations and cancellations are ideologically based, within a system that still – at least in principle – operates on the rule of law, the constitution and the supposed rights of Americans. How far we are from open, armed revolt is a matter of opinion, but until that occurs, it is reasonable for people to complain about unfair treatment, cancellations and censorship when those are against the laws of the land. The fact they can get away with these speaks to the weakness of our system to proper balance, truth, fair play, honesty, and other virtues that one side or the other choose to ignore with impunity. Personally, I place the blame squarely on the mainstream media (including social media) for not just allowing this to happen, but actually encouraging and pushing for it, having for the most part given up, awhile back, any pretence to neutrality and balance. Behind that is probably the loss of moral value and integrity, which can largely be blamed on the public school system which has failed to teach real virtue and civic responsibility. Lots of blame to go around, few realistic solutions at hand.

  5. 5
    jerry says:

    The difference here is that the American Revolution was a true armed revolt involving open, violent conflict,

    What I was talking about happened before shots were fired. Eventually a lot of shots were fired.

    I’m not defending the practice at all. I’m just pointing out the practice was common throughout history no matter what politics were.

    If you want to get a good understanding of the Revolutionary period, there are three good sources I know of. Probably more.

    Two Great Courses on the period.

    https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/ordinary-americans-in-the-revolution

    https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/before-1776-life-in-the-american-colonies

    And Bill O’Reilly’s book, “Killing England.”

    https://www.amazon.com/Killing-England-Struggle-American-Independence/dp/1627790640

    I place the blame squarely on the mainstream media (including social media) for not just allowing this to happen, but actually encouraging and pushing for it, having for the most part given up, awhile back, any pretence to neutrality and balance.

    You might want to read this just published.

    https://unherd.com/2021/10/the-medias-betrayal-of-the-poor/

  6. 6
    KRock says:

    Cancel culture, in large part, amounts to a form of social genocide—it’s both repulsive and wrong on every level. And the more society accepts this offensive practice, the more divided it will become.

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