WASHINGTON, DC, Feb 16 – The proliferation of click-and-send computer-based communications – email, text messaging, social media, etc. — has made it easier to send and receive information. That’s a good thing. But, underlying the benefits of instant, wide-ranging sharing of thoughts and news is a sinister movement called “cancel culture.”
You may have heard the term, although a Pew Research report revealed that just 44% of us have some knowledge of what cancel culture is all about. Only 22% of the more than 10,000 survey participants said that they had “heard a great deal” about it, while “56% say they’ve heard nothing or not too much about it, including 38% who have heard nothing at all.”
So, what is cancel culture, and what is it all about? Simply put, it is a way for radical Leftists to dismiss or cancel, people and thoughts that don’t share their politics. According to Pew, “The number of people who can go online and call out others for their behavior or words is immense, and it’s never been easier to summon groups to join the public fray.”
Cancel culture is so onerous and dangerous that so-called moderates on the Left are attacking their radical brethren. In an open letter signed by 150 well-known left-wing journalists, authors and educators cautioned that, “The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away.” It was a pretty gutsy move, and, sure enough, their radical shipmates came down on them for daring to undermine their far-left cancel culture movement.
Best-selling author JK Rowling, creator of Harry Potter, was among those who signed the letter. Rowling is among a list of writers who, according to fellow author Anthony Horowitz, are “under siege” by cancel culture activists. As Horowitz put it in Britain’s Daily Mail: ‘There are moments when I’m writing a character, who might be from a different ethnicity to mine, or a different sex or gender or background. I start worrying about what the reaction might be because it’s so unfathomable. That is scary because writers shouldn’t be following the agenda; they should be setting it. But that’s not happening anymore.’
A study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni [ACTA] headlined Resisting Cancel Culture exposed the dangers of the cancel culture mindset. ACTA found that
- A recent survey showed evidence that [due to cancel culture] Americans are more fearful to voice their real opinions now than at the height of the McCarthy era.
- Cancel culture organizes or manipulates the social or media environment to isolate, intimidate, deplatform, or demoralize political or social adversaries. It is inherently hostile to viewpoint diversity and intellectual pluralism. Criticism comes from the world of truth-seeking, cancel culture from the world of propaganda and information warfare.
- Cancelers’ power to coerce and intimidate has been turbocharged by social media, where devastating shaming campaigns can be organized literally in minutes, and by the discovery that employers and professional associates are quick to knuckle under to such campaigns.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education [FIRE] has its own name for cancel culture; FIRE calls it Cultural Marxism and notes that it is a threat to “freedom of thought, free speech, and the free expression of ideas.” The Foundation conducted a survey recently and found that the cancel culture movement is viewed as a threat to our democracy.
Reporting on the FIRE survey, Nico Perrino, Vice President of Communications, said, “Cancel culture isn’t just about what gets said and then punished. It’s also about what never gets said for fear of punishment. The chilling effect of self-censorship is real — and can have an alarming effect on how Americans communicate.”
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