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Cancel culture makes inroads despite pushback

Cancel Culture
Unsplash/Markus Winkler

One would hope that the cancel culture crowd would get the message it's not welcome, but nearly 100 U.K. universities have opened their doors to teaching the "benefits" of canceling people and organizations. 

The Open University created an online training program called Union Black that is offered to academics and students at 90 U.K. universities, where one module teaches, "in relation to racial/social justice, cancel culture has been shown to realize benefits," according to U.K. MSN.com.   

The program encourages “promoting collective action to achieve social justice and cultural change through social pressure,” and “mobilizing public opinion and sharing collective expressions of moral outrage.” As MSN notes, canceling is the “act of making an individual a pariah — often through social media pressure and sometimes to the point of people losing their jobs.”

But promoting cancel culture is not limited to academia, with dangerous strides being made in the legal world.  U.S. progressives are now targeting lawyers who represent the “wrong” cause for disbarment.  Axios reports, "A dark money group with ties to Democratic Party heavyweights will spend millions this year to expose and try to disbar more than 100 lawyers who worked on Donald Trump’s post-election lawsuits."  This group is making bar complaints against any lawyer who brought election challenges in court for Trump.

But it seems American voters on both sides of the aisle disapprove of cancel culture.  The Hill reported on a Hill-HarrisX poll from November 2021 that found 71 percent of registered voters said they strongly or somewhat believe that cancel culture has gone too far.  Lest anyone still thinks this is partisan, the poll found that 76 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of Democrats, and 68 percent of independents either strongly or somewhat agree that cancel culture has gone too far.  

The insidious aspect of cancel culture is tied with the terrorizing of people into silence by making examples of individuals.  Professors or students risk losing everything with collective mob actions for saying something not politically correct.  And the rest of the majority cower in fear of retribution for even defending the canceled and stigmatized individual. This is happening with lawyers picking the wrong client and/or cause, and with people holding conservative beliefs.  If all are silenced, cancel culture becomes the law, and freedom is lost. 

It is time the majority speak loud and clear that cancel culture will not be tolerated. To remain free, we must be able to speak the truth without the fear of being canceled. Even more importantly, we must support others who are in the crosshairs and make clear that the majority won’t be silenced. Ever.

Bill Connor, a retired Army Infantry colonel, author and Orangeburg attorney, has deployed multiple times to the Middle East. Connor was the senior U.S. military adviser to Afghan forces in Helmand Province, where he received the Bronze Star. A Citadel graduate with a JD from USC, he is also a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Army War College, earning his master of strategic studies. He is the author of the book Articles from War.

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