This Week in Authoritarian Newspeak
I’m not saying all protests are intelligent, or that they cannot be criticized. The problem is that, like “political correctness,” the term “cancel culture” paints all civil rights activism with a broad brush and shuts down thoughtful discussion. The right rules in part by means of Orwellian Newspeak concepts that masquerade as objective phenomena, but are really just name-calling.
Now, there is a real tendency for large numbers of people on social media to demand that someone be fired, but this can be good or bad; it depends entirely on the specifics of the case. Social media is full of toxicity and abuse, and I think a lot of issues can be addressed without calling for someone to lose their livelihood (though there are cases where public figures should step aside, and it is perfectly legitimate to express this).
For further thoughts, I’d check out this essay in TIME by a Muslim woman in Toronto. And as Paul Krugman recently tweeted, “The rage over ‘cancel culture’ is also, I think, part of this syndrome; some people can’t stand the idea that they should be asked to, say, avoid insulting women or minorities, as if that were a terrible imposition.”
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Tags: authoritarianism, framing, language, protest, race