If you’re like me, you are still trying to figure out this whole “cancel culture” thing. Ross Douthat’s recent column is helpful.
Here are his ten points:
- “Cancellation, properly understood, refers to an attack on someone’s employment and reputation by a determined collective of critics, based on an opinion or an action that is alleged to be disgraceful or disqualifying.”
- “All cultures cancel; the question is for what, how widely and through what means.
- “Cancellation isn’t exactly about free speech, but a liberal society should theoretically cancel less frequently than its rivals.”
- “The internet has changed the way we cancel, and extended cancellation’s reach.”
- “The internet has also made it harder to figure out whether speech is getting freer or less free.”
- “Celebrities are the easiest people to target, but the hardest people to actually cancel.”
- “Cancel culture is most effective against people who are still rising in their fields, and it influences many people who don’t actually get canceled.”
- “The right and left both cancel; it’s just that today’s right is too weak to do it effectively.”
- “The heat of the cancel-culture debate reflects the intersection of the internet as a medium for cancellation with the increasing power of left-wing moral norms as a justification for cancellation.”
- “If you oppose left-wing cancel culture, appeals to liberalism and free speech aren’t enough.”
See how Douthat unpacks these points here.