The loony-Left’s censorship follies have run so amok that a passel of leading liberal voices gathered (virtually, I presume) to sign an open letter “on justice and open debate, which just ran in Harper’s Magazine.

Needless to say, the cancelniks were not amused.

No matter that the letter speaks to the issues and goals they want.

No matter that the letter asserted that the “free exchange of information and ideas” is a liberal virtue (by the modern definition of liberal, it seems), that the “radical right” has long rejected this core principle of American society (I suppose anyone not of their tribe qualifies as “radical right”) in favor of “censoriousness,” and that it commingles its call for open debate with leftist positions on the issues at hand.

No matter that many of the signers are social justice standouts and strong supporters of BLM, of reforming policing, and of all the related issues being protested for by the cancelniks, and that some of them are true legends of progressivism.

Proving that they are indeed the intolerant totalitarian thugs many of us have concluded they are, the cancelniks ramped up to full outrage almost immediately. One contributing editor at Vox declared that her colleague’s signature on the letter actually made her feel “less safe,” because she deemed it an aggression against trans people (no mention of trans people in the letter, by the way) because J.K. Rowling also signed the letter (Rowling has earned the cancelniks rage because she has asserted that trans women and biological women are different, but is too big to be cancelled). It’s Rowling, by the way, who has a legitimate reason to feel “less safe,” given that she has actually been threatened.

Meanwhile, a business owner in upper Manhattan is being “cancelled” into possible ruin because he dared voice the fact that he voted for Trump. Mark Zuckerberg is resisting the cancelniks’ demands that Facebook censor Trump and his supporters, and advertisers are fleeing out of fear of that mob. The CEO of Goya Foods voiced a positive opinion for Trump, and “cancel culture” wants to ruin the entire company. Ordinary people are being “canceled” all over the map, often for mostly innocuous crap from years or decades ago. Progressive diva Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dismisses the financial and reputational ruin being imposed on these people by saying the’re merely being “held accountable,” but holding people accountable involves challenging, with fact and logic, their arguments and positions, not destroying their lives.

Cancel culture is not about holding others accountable, it’s about making them shut up.

It has already succeeded in that regard. There are countless people who dare not voice their opinions now, out of fear for their futures. I recently had a reader posit a topic for the blog (and not even an extreme one). When I suggested she write it herself, she informed me that she liked her career and wanted to keep it. In closed groups on social media, and in conversations with friends and acquaintances, I see example after example of people who mute their voices out of fear of the cancel mob.

That success, it turns out, hasn’t satisfied them. Now, mere silence is not enough. Letting their opinions, beliefs, and demands go unchallenged is not enough. The cancelniks now require that we vocalize the same opinions and make the same demands. If you’re not actively anti-racist, that alone makes you a racist.

The cancelniks purport to be advocating for changes that will improve the lot of the oppressed and downtrodden, by attacking society’s ‘privileged.’ Yet, they’re aren’t typically of those oppressed ranks. Progressive activists tend to be white college-educated six-figure earners. The cancelniks are people with enough free time and enough insulation from retribution to be risk-free in their assaults on others’ livelihoods, not working-class wage-earners busting their asses to feed their families.

Is there any greater privilege than this power to cancel others? Is there any greater privilege than having a monopoly on free speech and public opinion?

Cancel culture is, at its heart, a lazy and callous narcissism, nothing more. By silencing contrary opinions, cancelniks avoid having to defend their ideas and beliefs, and don’t have to bother actually engaging those of a different viewpoint. By scaring everyone into acquiescence, they don’t have to face the possibility that what they tell us doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. By bullying and damaging anyone who isn’t in 100% compliance, they show themselves to be the most illiberal people on the political landscape. They are worse by far than the people they tell us they fear.

Most cancelniks are, I’d say, earnest dunderheads who think they’re doing a Good Thing by inflicting punishment on those who don’t see the world as they do. I know some. They’re eager to latch onto the cancellation du jour, to show off how they’re not going to tolerate bigotry and oppression (by being bigoted against and oppressing anyone who disagrees with them) to their friends. They think they’re being responsible and progressive citizens, not realizing that it takes a sociopathic indifference to want to destroy someone’s livelihood over a difference of opinion.

Worse, they are (mostly) unwitting puppets and pawns for the genuinely evil ones – the people who want civil unrest and societal collapse, so that they can birth a new Marxism out of the rubble.

I’m neither kidding nor exaggerating, by the way. They’ve convinced millions of people that capitalism, which has done FAR more to elevate people out of misery and poverty than any other system ever tried, is evil, while socialism, which killed a couple hundred million and impoverished billions last century and should be retired (taken out back and shot, more aptly) as an ideology, merely needs to be done “democratically” to create a joyous and harmonious society. They’ve co-opted social justice and environmentalism to their selfish, divisive, and destructive goals, and they’ve succeeded in creating a cultural monster that crushes dissent, not by argument or logic, but with the threat of personal ruin.

These aren’t good but misguided people. They’re the very monsters they claim to be fighting.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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