Cancel culture is the designer topic of 21st century America, but the truth is that it’s been around since at least the heyday of ancient Greece. It’s the lazy person’s way to winning, because it requires neither knowledge nor persuasion.
To the lazy person, the allure of sidestepping debate by simply shaming one’s opponents into silence is irresistible. All that is required is a willingness to shout nasty epithets at the top of one’s voice, demand that people you dislike be excommunicated from civil society, and signal to the world your moral superiority.
Canceling can take many forms, but it always seeks to accomplish two things: banishment and pain to the enemy. Getting a person fired, getting his social media accounts shut down, or getting him excluded from social circles are viewed as justifiable methods for fighting against perceived evils.
While conservatives continue to slumber, the Radical Left claims new cancel-culture victims daily, including such high-profile folks as Roseanne, Curt Schilling, and, most recently, Piers Morgan. Of course, Donald Trump is their biggest catch to date, but with some 75 million supporters, his cancellation is somewhat meaningless to roughly half the population.
What today’s cancel-culture aficionados resent most is the fact that they have to constantly work to silence those who refuse to speak and act according to their beliefs. What they really want is a way to permanently cancel those who offend them, meaning a literal end to their existence.
I like to refer to this Hitlerian objective as “final-solution cancellation,” and it has been a favorite of totalitarians since the beginning of recorded history. Socrates was one of the earliest victims of final-solution cancellation, being forced to carry out his own execution by drinking poisonous hemlock for the sin of teaching an ethical system of living. Four hundred years later, Jesus of Nazareth was permanently cancelled by being subjected to a slow, tortuous death on the cross for his anti-establishment teachings.
In the 17th century, Galileo was permanently cancelled via a life-ending prison sentence for the heresy of insisting the earth revolved around the sun, and Bruno was burned at the stake for daring to disagree with Catholic doctrine. Later in the same century, the Salem Witch Trials permanently canceled 25 people accused of practicing witchcraft. And today, Uyghur Muslims are being cancelled in China for practicing a religion the state deems to be a threat to the CCP’s hold on power.
Over the centuries, the Radical Left has been especially effective at permanently ending dissent by silencing all opposition. Communists in the Soviet Union succeeded in canceling all perceived enemies of the state for 70 years, and they are still succeeding in doing so in countries like China and Cuba. The Radical Left has no tolerance for even the slightest moderation, which is why they prefer final-solution cancellation over persuasion.
For example, during the French Revolution the Girondins were moderate revolutionaries who maintained their antiquated belief in due process. Worse, they were outspoken in their concern over the actions of radical Jacobins, which caused the hard-core, unhinged members of the Jacobins to declare them enemies of the revolution. And once so declared, a trip to the guillotine was likely to follow.
The Radical Left promotes an endless array of phony crises — manmade climate change, systemic racism, minority voter suppression, hate speech, multi-genderism, COVID lockdowns … the list grows by the day. What all these crises have in common is they are brazen lies that ignore all facts and science.
The question facing civilized people of goodwill today is how to deal with the existential threat of cancel culture. The short answer is simplistic but unavoidable: A non-negotiable refusal to go along with the lies and demands of the woke mob. Depending upon one’s station in life, this can be not only a difficult task but a dangerous one.
The alternative, however, is to submit to a life where you pretend to believe things that are not true. It is not your duty to cower and beg the mob for forgiveness. On the contrary, it’s your moral duty to let it be known that you have no interest in either their opinions or their shaming tactics.
It was very sad to watch Saints’ legend Drew Brees initially stand up for his beliefs by saying he considered it to be disrespectful to kneel during the national anthem, only to back down after a vicious backlash from the Radical Left (including some of his own teammates). Not only did he subsequently apologize for his patriotism, he became yet another shakedown victim by quickly committing to donate $5 million “to support healthcare throughout underserved communities in Louisiana.”
Contrast Brees’ response to the mob with Muhammed Ali’s reaction to being stripped of his heavyweight title and sentenced to prison for his refusal to be inducted into the army. Under enormous pressure, including death threats, Ali repeatedly passed on the opportunity to apologize. The result? By staying true to his beliefs, he ultimately became an international hero, one of the most revered Americans ever. Where are the courageous athletes in the NFL, NBA, and MLB today? It’s very sad that those who know better are afraid to speak up.
If history has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t defeat evil by playing defense. It has never worked, and it will not work now. If civilized people genuinely want to escape the evil of totalitarianism, they must not only refuse to back down, they must be willing to go on offense. It’s important to have the courage to ignore the mob’s demands that you believe things that are not true, and even more important to clearly and unequivocally call out their lies — loudly and repeatedly.
Never doubt that what the Radical Left really has in mind is to implement final-solution cancellation to permanently eliminate all voices of dissent. There is no room for timidity in a world where totalitarianism is knocking at the door. Ronald Reagan was spot on when he warned that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.