Plus: music producer Rick Rubin on trusting your gut—not the audience.
There is probably a nature human desire to want to scapegoat people. Even the word scapegoat comes from the practice (as described in Leviticus) of putting everyone’s sins on one goat and releasing it into the wilderness, thereby freeing everyone from their sins by transferring it to the goat. By mobbing people and going on witch hunts, a community can “purge” itself of their own wrongdoing, and by forming a mob, a community can strengthen its own bonds at the expense of whoever is being hunted. We as a society need to resist that urge at all costs, as it is detrimental to living in a modern liberal democracy.
“It is no small thing to deprive an adult of a livelihood. To take someone’s job away. If you’re a writer or a reporter and you’ve been run out of the profession, for example, that’s devastating.”
My favorite thing about cancel culture is when left-wing extremists say it is “just consequences”.
Yeah, ya idiot, and the death penalty is also “just consequences”. Obviously, unless you’re retarded, we are discussing whether or not the consequences are excessive.
Imagine if we gave the death penalty for jaywalking and I was like
“Oh so you don’t think there should be consequences for your actions???”
We generally underrate how much Democrats are just flat-out imbeciles.
"Right now, too many believe that the right response to speech they dislike is to censor it, to cancel the speaker, or to bully them into silence."
This was on full display at Stanford a couple of weeks ago. College students increasingly demand ideological and emotional safety, and they’ve demonstrated a growing penchant for using authoritarian tactics to obtain it. The intolerance toward anything that strays from a certain progressive orthodoxy has chilled free speech.
A 2023 survey of nearly 45,000 students found that over 60% fear “damaging their reputations” if they speak their minds and that they “feel uncomfortable…expressing an unpopular opinion” to professors or peers. A similar survey of faculty found that a third of professors describe themselves as self-censoring “often.”
This really hit home with me as a positive reminder to work to sustain friendships despite our disagreements.
One friend in particular, a retired doctor in our Bible study group, is almost my political opposite. He was one of the first to buy a Prius, gets his news from NPR, PBS, CNN, and the infallible New York Times, reviles (but never watches) Fox News, always votes Democrat. He genuinely wants to understand my points of view, and we’ve sat down with coffee several times to discuss our differences civilly. Recently, however, I’ve asked myself if I’m wasting my time with a man whom I otherwise like, but who believes in dozens of self-proclaimed genders, supports the confiscation of guns, and blames Israel for Middle East unrest. I’ve tended lately to want to avoid people, like him, whom I believe are unmoored from reality and common sense. Life’s too short, I tell myself; I have better things to do. But this podcast, especially JK Rowling’s anecdote, has encouraged me to redouble efforts to continue exchanging differing points of view with him. Our friendship means too much.
Courage to speak the truth in love. I will not remain silent any longer.
I live in the deep South; a day does not go by that one of my friends doesn’t say that we are headed for a new Civil War – ahem, excuse me….War of Yankee Aggression – and I assure them that it will never end up there. As of the last few days I’ve stopped telling them that.
Why can't we "cancel" the Cancelers?
Or... Can we?
I have really enjoyed The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling - and I also enjoyed this panel discussion. That said, from my perspective as a moderate conservative/libertarian, the key answer to the question “how did we get here” always gets glossed over when discussed by highly educated and well meaning liberals. At its core, this is simply a failure of courage - and while that always gets touched on, liberals are quick to make excuses for cowardice in the face of the progressive/Woke mob. I believe that the culture war moment we are living through gets all of its oxygen, as have all tyrannical movements in history, from cowardice more than conversion. And, I think it is the excusing of this cowardice and lack of celebration of the courageous, that allows this Woke mob to continue to degrade our society. I have said on many occasions over the last 6 years, only the liberals can save us from the progressives. One of the reasons I have always leaned conservative is due to what I have always seen as the weakness of liberals to confront danger (physical or social) and allow the threat of consequence to cower them - the last 6 years have proven that opinion to be warranted. This moment will end when enough liberals stand up (and yes, pay some price) for the rest of the cowering liberals to believe it is now safe to go outside. That said, to think that those who have given rise to this mob should not pay any price via any public judgment is wrong-headed and will lead to a recurrence - the shame train needs to run both ways.
Why does the Free Press ignore the fact that the politicization of the DOJ and the attack upon the Rule of Law began in earnest with Barack Obama’s DOJ investigating Michael Flynn for talking to the Russian Ambassador even though it was clearly not illegal.
And when is the Free Press going to publicize the composition of BRICS?
Have music producers ruined adolescence? Back when there was a punk scene, even when there was a goth scene, there was decidedly not a trans scene:
Would you rather have a living son or a goth daughter?
Music producers also may have ruined our culture. Did y’all know that the biggest box office smash of 1951 was… opera? And that was no aberration:
So now we have a country that would never go see an opera, teenagers who would rather cut their breasts off than create a real counterculture… but at least Taylor swift has a cool new album, right?
The other day a photo appeared in my feed of Gloria Steinem flanked by Marlo Thomas and the actress Kathy Nijimy celebrating the Ms Mistress' 90th birthday. I wonder how this groundbreaker feels about the erasing of women? She's so used to tributes and accolades when, in fact, she is what I call, one of the "responsibles." This week's tragedy in Tennessee is a glaring example of tribalism at its very worst. The deaths of three children and three staffers in a Christian school was topsy turveyed so now the new righteous advocate for murderers and look for ways to demonize victims.
Wondering if I'm alone in thinking that the discussion would have been more focused and interesting if limited to Professor Christakis. The video of him calmly confronting the mob of deranged children was an example of intellectual bravery barely followed in our craven and debauched universities today. People pay ungodly amounts to send their children to places such as Yale. The money is well spent if the children get exposure to professors such as Christakis. On the other hand, placing them among the lunatics depicted on the tape is akin to child abuse. Given the passage of years, I could only wonder what became of the screeching young harridan who was assailing Christakis. She's now old enough to be a wife and mother. If she is, and hasn't had a transformational awakening, God help us. But it would explain much about the current state of our politics.
You don’t have to even say something “wrong” to be pushed out of your job. You can just be the wrong type of person who does not advance the DEI goals of the organization you work for. The push can be subtle - fewer opportunities, the worst work assignments, ignoring you until some emergency comes up where only you have the experience and expertise to solve the problem - then dumping the problem on you, subtle threats to fire you, etc etc. Too expensive to lay-off but not a good DEI fit so the best solution is to make your life miserable so that you will just leave. Saying the wrong thing is just another excuse to kick you out if you are the “wrong kind of person” because the “right type of person” can say lots of similar things without consequences.
Fear of being labeled a bigot and isolated is the singular driver that enabled censorship and DEI to grow legs at a cultural and corporate level. For every True Believer out there, I believe there's another acting that way to consciously insulate themselves from the mob, and multiples more who are falling in line and "playing the game" to keep their heads down.
People don't give up free speech of their own volition. I chafe at the idea any one person gets to dictate what's offensive, that someone deems an idea offensive then it's violence, and if it's violence it should be stifled. The left has backed itself into a corner where everything is okay, except to say that anything is wrong. Both are cheap cover for fear of anyone saying they're a [fill in the blank]-ist.
Going along with the crowd makes many outwardly indistinguishable from the loudest proponents, and in effect doing their work for them. I always wondered how whole societies could fall for the likes of Naziism or the witch trials; it's starting to make more sense... they just didn't want to risk being on the wrong side.
Fear, not misplaced idealism, is why we're here.
"Inclusion" really means ideological purity in the DEI cult.
The curtailment of speech has pretty well been with us forever. A century ago vulgarity was punished. Holocaust denial was punished since the war ended. Hate speech and “a bad word is as harmful as a punch in the nose” bring us to today. Until we are able to see that offensive speech is inside the mind of the interpreter it will be a challenge to keep the offended from pressing charges.