Think the ‘Cancel’ Mobs Can’t Get Any Worse? Think Again
America is in the midst of one of the great moral panics in our nation’s history. If we don’t stand up for our nation’s core values, the situation could get even worse – and soon. If you’ve spent any time on social media in the last three weeks, you’ve probably noticed the organized campaigns to get college and even high school students expelled or denied admission based on their political views. You’ve also seen gleeful mobs celebrating as Americans lose their jobs for running afoul of someone’s momentary political obsessions.
In every sector of American society, people are having their careers destroyed to the pitiless baying of the “woke” masses. It’s happening in business. CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman spent 20 years building the fitness brand into a multi-billion dollar company, only to be thrown out of the empire he built for declining to go along with the “racism is a public health crisis” dogma.
It’s happening in journalism. New York Times editor James Bennet, a liberal, was fired for publishing an op-ed by a sitting Republican senator advocating for a military response to nationwide rioting -- a position the majority of Americans agreed with. The same fate befell Philadelphia Inquirer editor Stan Wischowski, who was terminated for approving an article that condemned looting and arson.
It’s even happening to people who didn’t do anything at all. An L.A. Galaxy soccer player was forced to resign because his wife tweeted that rioters should be shot. A lawyer in San Francisco was fired because his wife was rude to a man she thought was spray-painting BLM propaganda on a building that wasn’t his (it was). On Thursday, this Stasi-esque trend reached another level when a company called Equity Prime Mortgage fired the stepmother of the officer charged in the controversial shooting of drunk driver Rashad Brooks after he fought with and fired a taser at police. The stepmother was apparently fired for no reason other than family loyalty.
On Monday, the panic reached what one can only hope will be its peak when a San Diego Gas and Electric employee lost his job for “making a white supremacist hand gesture.” We’ve long since debunked the notion that the OK sign is somehow racist -- that was just a fiction perpetrated by internet trolls -- but in this case, this man lost his livelihood despite the fact he wasn’t even making an OK sign. He was apparently cracking his knuckles as he drove.
What America is going through right now is not merely another, more intense round of “cancel culture.” We’re now in the midst of a full-force, totalitarian remolding of our society, one that seeks to place the petty resentments of an outraged minority of leftist activists above everything else in American life. Because of their willingness to riot, loot, and assault anyone they perceive to be insufficiently sympathetic to their cause, leftists are able to bully ordinary people into submission. As a result, television shows such as “Cops” and “Live PD,” classic films such as “Gone With the Wind,” and iconic brands such as Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Buttersworth, and Uncle Ben’s rice are consigned to the “dustbin of history.”
I used to speak frequently to nervous conservatives who were convinced that if we only allowed the left to tear down Confederate war memorials, they would be satisfied. How quickly events have disproved that wishful thinking. From Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the western pioneers, activists are now coming after cartoon sports mascots and college fight songs. Everything -- from the core of our country’s history to the values and norms undergirding American culture -- must be uprooted to appease the mob.
They are tearing down dozens of statues and facing no consequences whatsoever for vandalizing our public spaces -- including memorials to our nation’s greatest heroes. When private citizens try to do the job the government won’t and protect our culture, our history, and our public property from destruction, local officials step in and remove the statues on behalf of the vandals, lest they injure themselves while imitating Iraqis celebrating the fall of Saddam Hussein.
These people are not seeking change at the margins. They are demanding a total cultural revolution, and cowardly public officials are giving it to them. If you look at this national outpouring of hatred and recrimination with horror verging on despair, I assure you that you are not alone. Tens of millions of Americans feel exactly the same way.
President Trump is doing exactly what an American president should do in a crisis like this. He is working to maintain law and order and prevent cowed local officials from allowing political violence to flare again. He issued an executive order to add to his legacy of reform and address legitimate concerns about law enforcement in this country. He also issued a separate executive order targeting the systemic bias in Silicon Valley’s censorship offices, which has allowed our social media platforms to become echo chambers for left-wing extremism and “cancel culture.”
The only thing that could make the situation worse at this moment would be handing the White House to a doddering and unprincipled establishment politician beholden to the “cancel culture” mob. Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden would immediately delegate de facto control over the vast justice, civil rights, and regulatory apparatus of the federal government to the loudest voices in his coalition: the woke activist class.
At this moment, there is a veritable army of lawyers and bureaucrats who have spent the last three and a half years subsisting on resentment and salivating at the prospect of regaining power. Things are bad enough now, but conditions will become much worse if the “cancel culture” born on social media is augmented with the force of law and given the full attention of Biden appointees imbued with the sweeping powers of the federal bureaucracy.
Dark forces have been unleashed in this country. Even now, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. If we don’t want to find out how much damage it can inflict on the ship of state, we must prevent those forces from taking control of the federal government.