Unpopular opinion: We all engage in cancel culture. It depends on how we define it, of course, but in a rare moment of clarity the editors at Dictionary.com gave a pretty darn good overview of what cancel culture is, at least in American society:
Cancel culture refers to the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. Cancel culture is generally discussed as being performed on social media in the form of group shaming.
Conservatives and free-speech absolutists often rail against cancel culture while unwittingly participating in it regularly. Did you boycott the NFL for being a social justice company? Cancel culture. Are you calling on Congresswoman Liz Cheney and other Republicans who voted for impeachment to step down? Cancel culture. Did you cancel your Netflix subscription over any of the many progressive things they’ve done. Cancel culture. Duh.
Cancel culture works. It applies pressure to our adversaries just as they apply pressure to us. Somewhere along the lines conservatives and libertarians started calling out cancel culture to defend freedom of speech or something. That’s asinine. Our First Amendment rights do not extend to private life. Twitter is not breaking the First Amendment by banning people. You can rightly claim they’re abusing their Section 230 protections, but they’re not attacking the First Amendment per se. They’re attacking free speech as an overarching concept, but in reality there’s no such thing as purely free speech, not in American or anywhere in the world.
All speech comes at a price. Usually it’s small. Maybe we made a friend angry when we told them they were gaining a little weight. Feelings were hurt but the friendship endured so the price was small. If conservatives want to survive the next 2-4 years, we need to be willing to take and inflict more pain than that through cancel culture.
It’s hypocritical to think cancel culture must be opposed. Another way to make that more clear is to say we’re being disingenuous when we say cancel culture must be… canceled. We may not like it when it seems unfair to us, but it’s a tool and very powerful one at that. We need cancel culture if we’re going to save this nation from the radical progressivism that’s spreading across it. Instead of pretending like we think it’s a bad thing while engaging in it somewhat ourselves, conservatives and libertarians need to embrace it. We need to use it.
We need to use it against Amazon, a company that is up there with Google and Facebook as the most destructive to our nation. For years I justified using Amazon because of the value they bring to small businesses who would otherwise never make it by themselves. I also like that they gave access to millions of Americans who are not easily able to head to the store for supplies. But we must find alternatives because the damage Amazon is doing far outweighs the good they provide through convenience.
We need to use cancel culture against Hollywood. If you are a Republican, they hate you. If you are a conservative or right-leaning libertarian, they hate you. If you are a Christian, they hate you. And if you voted for President Trump, they especially hate you. Yet we continue to feed them our dollars and attention because we became entranced by the feeble brand of entertainment they deliver. Unlike Amazon, there are no viable alternatives yet, at least not that deliver the same type of entertainment. For me, I just don’t watch television shows or movies anymore unless I’m with friends or family who rely on it for entertainment. I can’t remember the last time I watched a movie or television show by myself. I watch documentaries, commentaries, and the occasional stand up comedian. But I’ve never seen an episode of The Sopranos. That’s still popular, right?
Many people who I respect have made it one of their missions to cancel cancel culture. I believe they’re making a fatal mistake. Instead of fighting it, we need to show the left how it’s really done. That means we must use the power of our patronage, whether it’s a website click or a visit to a store or a bill we’ve been paying from AT&T for the last 20 years. It’s time to cancel those who hate us and find alternatives that embrace freedom. Cancel culture as defined above specifies group shaming as the primary method, but it needs to be more than that. We need to boycott.
It’s not going to be easy. Just as there are no viable options to fully replace Hollywood, there are no freedom-loving professional sports leagues. The NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL all consider our ideology to be repugnant. There are very few options for us to cancel Google and Apple when it comes to mobile devices, though some are rising. We’ve already seen what they do to cancel us on social networks like Twitter. They’ve effectively killed Parler and I haven’t been able to post anything to Gab in a couple of days.
The pain we’ll have to suffer in order to properly cancel our participation with companies that hate us will dissuade most from even trying. But here’s the thing. If conservatives don’t engage in cancel culture now, we’re going to eventually be fully canceled ourselves.