To do or to say something insufficiently progressive these days risks the wrath of what’s being called “cancel-culture.” A mostly young and mostly online gaggle of so-called “social justice warriors” will attempt to silence anyone they deem to hold views sufficiently problematic or insufficiently “woke.”
So far, the list of cancel-culture’s casualties includes editors who publish controversial op-eds, campus speakers whose views were labeled “unsafe,” professors who quote from egregious classical literature, and researchers who published their politically incorrect findings.
Though those behind cancel-culture would be on the far-left side of the ideological and political spectrum, the effect of what they are doing is the very opposite of liberal. Free speech and open debate, long-claimed values of classic liberalism, are stifled, not by a political oppression that so many feared, but by mob-like tactics.
On Tuesday, a number of high-profile thinkers (153 to be exact), many of whom would sit on the left of the spectrum, expressed their collective concern over cancel-culture. In a letter published by Harper’s magazine, this group of authors, journalists, academics, and artists warn of cancel-culture’s “intolerant climate” and reaffirm the value of open and civil debate.
The group includes some of the brightest stars in the progressive firmament: Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, left-wing linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky, author of The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood, feminist Gloria Steinem, Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie, New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg, Malcolm Gladwell, and even John MacArthur (not that John MacArthur, this one).
The letter condemns “intolerance of opposing views,” the far left’s “vogue for public shaming and ostracism,” and its “tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”
Of all of the signatories, J.K. Rowling, knows this tendency firsthand. This longtime progressive superstar has faced an avalanche of accusations and criticisms, and a campaign to cancel her work. The reason? She fears that radical transgender ideology threatens the existence and protection of women, and she’s been willing to express these very feminist views out loud.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and G. Shane Morris