COMMENTARY: ‘Cancel culture’ in hyperdrive | Opinion

During the rioting in the summer and fall of 2020, most Americans were revolted at what happened to George Floyd and yet shocked at the ensuing violence and mayhem occurring for months afterward.

In addition to the billions of dollars in property destroyed, dozens of lives lost and the start of massive crime waves, this became the most sustained period of “cancel culture.”

Most Americans quickly learned that just remaining silent with their opinions about ideas like “defund the police” was not enough. The progressive shout of “silence is violence” became ubiquitous, and outward shows of support for Black Lives Matter was demanded. This happened with major sports, corporate and entertainment figures, but also with most holding jobs within a major corporation.

In the aftermath, the clear majority believed “cancel culture” was wrong regardless of the political disagreement. Ironically, though the overwhelming majority was in backlash against cancel culture by 2021, many critical institutions have moved into cancel culture hyperdrive. It must be stopped now before it becomes socially and even legally impossible to stop it. Let me explain.

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First, any argument that the backlash is solely limited to conservatives and therefore not the majority stance has been destroyed by the polls. According to The Hill in 2021: “An overwhelming majority of voters said cancel culture has gone too far, a new Hill-HarrisX poll finds. Seventy-one percent of registered voters said they strongly or somewhat believe that cancel culture has gone too far. By contrast, 29% of respondents said they believe a little or not at all. ” Lest anyone still think this is partisan, the article continues, “Seventy-six percent of Republicans, 70% of Democrats, and 68% of independents said they either strongly or somewhat agree cancel culture has gone too far.” A number of polls, in both America and Europe, show the same results, and it has only become a stronger backlash as time goes on.

Unfortunately, the backlash has seemingly made no difference to many societal and government institutions. As cancel culture has become more despised by the average person, these bodies have moved from allowing cancel culture to now defending and promoting it as good.

Academic leaders from almost 100 UK universities have recently been told that cancel culture has “benefits.” According to MSN, “The Open University has devised a training program titled Union Black, backed by £ 500,000 of Santander investment, which offers teaching staff lessons including ‘white people have a responsibility to solve the problem of racism’” and academics are “taught about the advantages of ‘cancelling’ people and institutions. “

This course includes the assertion: “In relation to racial / social justice, cancel culture has been shown to realize benefits.” It encourages “promoting collective action … through social pressure” and “mobilizing public opinion and sharing collective expressions of moral outrage.”

As MSN notes, canceling (in this context) is the “act of making an individual a pariah – often through social media pressure and sometimes to the point of people losing their jobs.”

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Promotion of cancel culture is not limited to academia, but also making dangerous strides in institutions like the legal profession. Progressives are now targeting lawyers who represent the “wrong” cause for disbarment. From the left-leaning Vanity Fair: “A new legal group linked to Democratic Party insiders is aimed at disbarring the lawyers who (represented) Donald Trump’s election fraud (claims) … a project that’s targeting the lesser-known lawyers that did Trump’s bidding. ”

This group is making bar complaints against any lawyer who brought election challenges in court for Trump. Junior attorneys, and even Texas Attorney General Paxton, who brought claims of Pennsylvania violating Article II of the Constitution by not following state legislative election mandates. His claim was only dismissed on a procedural “standing” issue, like so many others, before the substance could be litigated. Many lawyers are now concerned that representing an unpopular and “canceled” client could mean their own cancellation.

The insidious aspect of cancel culture is with the terrorizing of the majority into silence through making examples of individuals. All watch as a professor or student says something relatively benign and reasonable but not politically correct, and then loses everything through collective mob action. The rest of the majority cower in fear of retribution for even defending the canceled and stigmatized individual. This is happening with lawyers picking the wrong client and / or cause and with anyone holding conservative beliefs. Eventually, when all are silenced, cancel culture becomes the law with “hate speech” and similar legislation. At that point the lights will have gone out on freedom.

It is time the majority speak loud and clear that cancel culture will not be tolerated. As Jesus told us in John 8:32: “then you will know the Truth, and the Truth set you free.” To remain free we must be able to speak truth without the terror of being canceled. Even more important, we must support others in the crosshairs and make clear as the majority we won’t be silenced.

Bill Connor, a retired Army Infantry colonel, author and Orangeburg attorney, has deployed multiple times to the Middle East. Connor was the senior US military adviser to Afghan forces in Helmand Province, where he received the Bronze Star. A Citadel graduate with a JD from USC, he is also a Distinguished Graduate of the US Army War College, earning his of strategic studies. He is the author of the book “Articles from War.”

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