Opinion / Politics

Liberals Feel Sting of “Cancel Culture”

Kavanaugh new york times attack American exceptionalismLiberals are suddenly realizing that “cancel culture” can snap back – and it hurts.  The liberal idea was to “cancel” people who raise “offensive” or “objectionable” topics, summarily ending unwanted discussions by intimidating people into abandoning free speech rights.  It was always anti-American.  Now, it turns out the left’s beast, is eating them too.

Upending the First Amendment by spurning people with different views is a dead end – legally, politically, and socially.  Interestingly, conservatives generally offer to debate while liberals stifle dialogue.  Now, they are being stifled.

Last week, some noted liberals wrote an “open letter” decrying how unthinking, zealous leftists were shutting them down.  Former New York Times editor Bari Weiss and Harper’s columnist Thomas Williams were joined by Harry Potter’s J.K. Rowling, activist Noam Chomsky, and feminist Gloria Steinem, in this conservative turn.  They rediscovered the First Amendment.

Suddenly, having been shunted off stage, out of newsrooms, and denied the right to opine, they took to Bill Maher’s show to say “open debate without fear of repercussions might be a good idea,” since the absence of free expression might lead to violence.  Behold – an epiphany.

While the left swarms America’s streets, these liberals penned a letter.  Said Weiss, their letter was a “warning cry from inside the institutions,” signaling the need to reverse course.  Free speech apparently does matter, after all.  Why?  Because blocking it is “social murder” these enlightened liberals professed on Maher’s show – a curious venue for lefty confessions.

Weiss explained. “What is going on now with this culture of illiberalism is different from criticism.”  Criticism is good, but “cancel culture is not criticism, it is about punishment … making a person radioactive… taking away their job.”  She decried her former employer.

For background, a New York Times “editorial page editor” resigned in June, after “more than 1,000 staffers” signed a letter condemning him for allowing a column by conservative US Senator Tom Cotton on restoring law and order, if necessary with the military. In July, Weiss resigned, citing an internal “civil war,” pitting “social justice warriors” against “free speech.”

Could it be that “cancel culture” is biting the hand that fed it?  On Maher’s show, Weiss perfectly described socialism.  She noted “cancel culture” amounts to “punishing the person for being insufficiently pure,” pushing a “secondary boycott of people who would deign to speak to that person or appear on a platform with that person.” Suddenly, this is highly offensive.

She noted this kind of “politics” does not “get us” very far.  She warned about where extremism goes. “If conversation with people that we disagree with becomes impossible, what is the way we solve conflict? … It’s violence.”  She may have something there.

Weiss, the enlightened liberal, continued.  She said politics has evolved into a “religious identity,” suggesting liberals who fail to push to “defund the police” are considered “heretics.”  One hears an awakening in her voice to socialism’s hallmark, intimidation.

As if just washing over her, she explained: “That is an enormous problem … because it is … the collapse of moderates.”  There is another idea.  Could “cancel culture,” intimidating those not sufficiently “pure” to defend leftist violence, be a problem in America?

The effect, she said, is “collapse of the center and the retribalization of this country …,” now inside newsrooms.  One could argue that she is a little late, but seeing the light is good.  She observed that America is “exceptional… with all of its flaws.”  Wisdom, indeed.

Unable to defend “patriotism,” she edged up to it.  Returning to high school history – apparently missed by her peers – she said: “There is something bigger than lineage or kin or the political tribe we belong to…” Yes – and we call that America.  She added, we are in “a very scary moment.”  Right again, no thanks to her former employer.  Could media bear responsibility?

These enlightened liberals – pilloried by former friends – now argue, “it is up to us to defend the ideas that made this country unique, and a departure from history.”  “Cancel culture” – blotting out what we do not like – “stifles open discussion.”  Extraordinary discovery, is it not?

Her epiphany was almost too much.  One liberal decried where extremes lead.  “We are in danger of reinvesting in the idea that race is real and that it cannot be escaped,” and “defines us.”  Making those alive pay for past sins is “not a world that I want to create,” said a panelist.

Finally, the panel host chimed in. He offered a timeless nugget: “Being able to speak freely is the lifeblood not only of democracy, of really just our way of life.”  Remarkable, liberals are now teaching liberals high school history – and why the First Amendment counts.

To be clear, there is nothing new about free speech being good, socialist intimidation bad. That is not news.  The news is recognition by liberals – as they turn on one another – that free speech matters, and that canceling socialist “cancel culture” might be a good idea.

Does this represent a bend in the road for liberal thinking?  Could we be returning to the idea that free speech protects societies which protect it? Maybe. Predictably, liberals who signed that letter are facing intense criticism from the left.  The only thing worse than not being a pure socialist, of course, is calling out those who are.

What we are hearing, for the first time, is some liberals discovering “cancel culture” is a bad choice.  Empowering socialist intimidation is dangerous. Suppression is catchy. Wisdom often comes to individuals and societies slowly, but this is a start.  Small steps toward enlightenment are worth noticing – and this was one.  Now, our nation must awaken to the profound risks of socialism in Congress, and stand firmly against it.

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Paul W
3 months ago

It’s high time that conservatives fight fire with fire. From experience, when bullies get bullied back, they cower. Bully back hard enough and they end their foolish games. Conservatives have played the game with civility for far too long. They (leftists) have been making the rules all along. It’s time we play by the rules that they’ve established. Ultimately, they’ll quit and go back to mommy’s basement. They’re nothing more than childish cowards.

3 months ago

I had to laugh at this because, I’ve hoped that what the liberals fought for would come back a bite them – and bite hard. Hopefully, this is a start.
In all seriousness, I pray this is the beginning of the demise of liberalism. I hope the ones on the panel will begin to lean toward conservatism and take as many liberals as possible With them. Then we can get rid of the socialist in Congress and get the America I grew up in back.
There is hope.

Stephen Russell
3 months ago

Hey leftists goes Both ways, 2 way street vs your 1 way mindset Reap what U sow.
Fix IT, its ON You.
End Cancel culture & PC or Lose.

3 months ago

Liberals have ALWAYS bitten the hands that feed them! … Now they know how it feels!

3 months ago

Go Trump Go

David Spade
3 months ago

I doubt whether the leftist media will learn this lesson quickly. They should be boycotted from readership/viewership, and the companies who advertise should move to Fox to promote their products. Hitting these left wing zealots in the pocketbook may be the only way they will learn. And schools of journalism in every college should be held accountable, too. That is really where this starts….promoting real dialogue and fairness should be the mantra of every school.

Stephen Coe
3 months ago

I’ve never met a liberal that can hold a viable conversation,with them it’s always their way on you are wrong. I believe that they really do not understand the real world. Most of these folks have been sheltered in like by some means, family money or just protected and sheltered in some way. They have never had any responsibility or been held to anything that ever had any problems.

3 months ago

Don’t forget the big money is still out there pushing Socialism. Some of the leftists are waking up, but the big $$$ will just push harder.

Glenn Lego
3 months ago

I hope the progressives do eat each other up and I hope they all get indigestion. (Plop Plop Fizz Fizz. O What A Relief It Is!)

Patriot Will
3 months ago

Many Americans still are ignoring the fact that the Democratic Party has been taken over by communists and anarchists. Even some conservatives still haven’t internalized the fact that the Democrats who think like John F. Kennedy have absolutely no power in the Democratic Party of Schumer and Pelosi. Open borders, medicare for all, black lives matter, etc. are all unpatriotic, anti-USA movements.

3 months ago

The liberals are like a person whose chemistry is so out of whack that they live in a “echo chamber reality” and they simply cannot get back in balance. Only an ICU type of treatment can bring them back

Rick J.
3 months ago

The left is starting to eat their own. WHERE WILL IT END?

Michael R Brunetti
3 months ago

The crocodile is coming to eat them. Churchill warned us about this. The crocodile may eat you last, but he will eat you.

3 months ago

Good article…too bad we’ve let it get this far.

Rodney Ernst
3 months ago

I hope the liberals do feel the sting of the cancel culture group. I notice, maybe you all can to, that there is no protests, riots and other mayhem going on in front of the Democratic party or anyone who supports their agenda. Also the BLM doesn’t care for their own. Lot of friction between the two. I pray that America will wake up and see what is going on. The left is also using this covid 19 crap to further the socialist movement. The fake news media is fanning the virus spikes to instill more fear into America, and… Read more »

Bill Brown
3 months ago

Democrats were the Slave Owners and ran the Slave Trade.  They are trying to tear-down their own monuments to cover-up their SINS!!!!!  Stand-up for America!!  Remove Every Democrat!!!!!

3 months ago

Get popcorn and a Coke! Sit back and enjoy! It’s always entertaining to watch liberals eat their own!

3 months ago

Actually, the letter is not what it appears: these hacks seem to be ok with stifling and censorship of most people- just not other lefties.

Charles R. Williamson Jr., EW1(SW/MTS) USN(Ret.)
3 months ago

Don’t you just love it when, “The chickens come home to roost”?

angelo olivieri
3 months ago

Free speech is what makes us who we are nd to censure it would take away one of the basics of our country.It makes who we are and allows us to say openly what we care about without fear of reprecussions

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