Cancel Culture

Cancel Culture Comes for Will Wilkinson

The Niskanen Center fired a senior staffer for tweeting an offensive joke about Mike Pence, and hypocrisies abound.

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Will Wilkinson is a vice president at the left-leaning Niskanen Center, a contributing writer at The New York Times, and someone who has frequently quarreled with me about so-called cancel culture. (I think it's generally bad when people are fired, expelled, or dragged on social media for saying stupid or poorly phrased things they quickly come to regret; Wilkinson has suggested to me that I've made too much of this problem.)

On Wednesday, Wilkinson tweeted, "If Biden really wanted unity, he'd lynch Mike Pence."

Lynching humor is virtually never a good idea, and this joke was especially badly executed. (Wilkinson said he was making a joke not at the former vice president's expense, but in reference to the Capitol rioters who had expressed a similar sentiment. The joke being that this time it was the far right calling for violence against a Republican official rather than the left.)

Nevertheless, widespread outrage—some of it stoked by conservative news sites like The Federalist and The Daily Caller—ensued on social media. Wilkinson apologized, describing his tweet as a lapse in judgment.

"It was sharp sarcasm, but looked like a call for violence," said Wilkinson. "That's always wrong, even as a joke."

Nevertheless, the Niskanen Center fired Wilkinson and made it clear that they did so explicitly because of the tweet. "The Niskanen Center appreciates and encourages interesting and provocative online discourse," wrote Niskanen President Jerry Taylor in a statement. "However we draw the line at statements that are, or can in any way be interpreted as, condoning or promoting violence."

The New York Times, too, may take action. "Advocating violence of any form, even in jest, is unacceptable and against the standards of The New York Times," a Times spokesperson told Fox News. "We're reassessing our relationship with Will Wilkinson."

And thus a noted doubter of cancel culture has been canceled for a problematic tweet—ironic, but also regrettable, in my view. Both the Niskanen Center and The New York Times are private organizations and free to associate with whomever they wish, of course; a think tank that intends to influence public policy by lobbying legislators may find it inconvenient to employ someone who threatened violence against Mike Pence, even in jest. And decisions about hiring and firing are rarely as simple as they appear to outside observers with an ax to grind, so there may well be more going on here—though the statement from Taylor seems to eliminate much of that ambiguity in this case.

The term cancel culture, in recent years, has metastasized and is now deployed in a wide variety of situations, some of which strain the boundaries of the term to breaking. Rep. Jim Jordan (R–Ohio), for instance, described the second impeachment of President Donald Trump for his role in the Capitol riots as an example of Democrats trying to "cancel" the president. This is nonsense.

But Wilkinson's case is a classic, textbook cancellation: excessively harsh, drastic disciplinary action in response to one dumb tweet that would otherwise likely have been forgotten in a matter of days.

This affair has produced several hypocrisies. First, if the Niskanen Center "draws the line at statements that are, or can in any way be interpreted as, condoning or promoting violence," then it would have to fire its president. Taylor has arguably used Twitter in a manner that suggests he condones violence. He rooted for antifa to punch out Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who waved their guns at protesters encountered on their private street. "If I were in that march, and these racist lunatics were waiving [sic] guns at me, I'd like to think I'd rush them and beat their brains in," said Taylor. "And I wouldn't apologize for it for one goddam [sic] second."

Unlike Wilkinson's tweet, there's little reason to assume this was meant in jest. And unlike Wilkinson, Taylor is the president of the organization and sets the tone for what is permissible. If the boss can tweet an unapologetic call to "beat their brains in," his employees might very well think that edgy humor is okay. Perhaps that's why Taylor deleted his statement regarding Wilkinson's firing—he realized that it impugned him as well. (Neither Taylor nor a spokesperson for the Niskanen Center responded to a request for comment. Wilkinson declined to comment.)

Another hypocrisy concerns the conservative news outlets that wrote about Wilkinson in the first place. Both The Federalist and The Daily Caller complain constantly about cancel culture, and favorably cover those who criticize it. They are often right to do so. (In fact, I have been quoted in The Federalist, The Daily Caller, and even a Niskanen Center report, about the perils of cancellation.) But when the time came to show the exact sort of mercy they otherwise would have called for had the subject been a victim of left-wing activists or the mainstream media, these elements of the right poured gasoline on this fire without any hesitation.

If you only criticize cancel culture when it's your side being canceled, then you aren't really attacking the concept—you're just playing defense for your team. That's why it's important to speak out on behalf of those facing social media mob justice, even when the victim is not a member of one's own ideological coalition.

Indeed, given that I am primarily known for criticizing cancel culture, Wilkinson—who once tweeted "Cancel culture, lol" and also suggested I branch out to "slightly more important stories"—may be the closest thing I have to an ideological foe. In that spirit, I oppose his firing, and encourage his employers to reconsider.

NEXT: President Biden’s Unity Has a High Price Tag

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  1. White Knight got banned then used Tulpas trick to hide it because he is embarrassed.

    But he got caught.

    1. Should I be fired if I posted this on 22 January 2017, “If Trump really wanted unity, he’d lynch Barack Obama.”? That is all you really need to ask yourself when you consider if this is an example of cancel culture.

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    2. Maybe Will Wilkinson can add some spaces to his name and get his old job back.

      1. Bill Bilkinson sounds like a good pseudonym.

        1. William Williamkinson is clunky.

          1. I’m thinking a good nom de plume for Wilkinson might be Four Quart.

            If he decides to become a rapper, that might work for him too!

      2. Back when I was a kid Bill Wilkinson was the leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Must be a relative.

    3. You posted this long before I read this post, or visited the comments.

      Rent free, your head. And the nicest part is that you cannot evict me because Trump and Biden have both issued Executive Orders forbidding it.

      1. White Knight got banned then used Tulpas trick to hide it because he is embarrassed.

        But he got caught

      2. “Rent free, your head”

        You named yourself “White Knight” because Tulpa mad you mad.

        1. lol I forgot about that lolol

        2. I was his disciple once, but I learned that the great man has clay feet. It was a sad day.

          1. “I was his disciple once”

            “Rent free, your head”

            YOU GOT BANNED AHAHAHAHAHAH

          2. When did he get banned? You have. Don’t believe he has been.

            1. correct

            2. Didn’t say he was.

              1. AHAHAHAAHAH YOU GOT BANNED AND THEN TRIED TO HIDE IT BY USING TULPAS TRICK AFTER NAMING YOURSELF WHITE KNIGHT BECAUSE TULPA MADE YOU MAD

                AHAHAHAAHHAHAHJ

                1. that’s because he knows Tulpa owns him

          3. What do you expect? All men, great and otherwise, have feet of clay.

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    5. Who cares?

    6. Why did he get banned?

  2. Hypocrisy among out political and media “elite”? Stop the presses!!!!!!

    1. I don’t see any equivalency between cancel culture and the example provided in the article. Questioning the BLM narrative or the transgender movement and being fired is an example of cancel culture. Advocating violence, even hidden behind the claims that it is just a joke, and getting fired is NOT cancel culture.

        1. fuck off White Knight

        2. Using the wrong pronouns are considered as equivalent to advocating violence by the people at VOX.

          1. There’s a lot of bullshit in there, for sure, but there’s also several Trump comments that are “Advocating violence, even hidden behind the claims that it is just a joke” I guess you want to cancel Trump now?

            1. It’s vox, it’s smeared in bullshit.

            2. AAHAHAHAHA you got banned

              White Knght you got banned ahahahah then stole Tulpas trick to hide it and got caught

          2. That’s just what dumb/dummies believe.

          3. Words are violence, and shoes on the desk is the worst possible thing you can do.

        3. AHAHAHA WHITE KNIGHT IS SO EMBARRASSED ABOUT GETTING BANNED AND THEN GETTING CAUGHT LYING THAT HE BURNED HIS QUEEN AMALTHEA SOCK TRYING TO HIDE FROM IT AAHAHAHAHAJAJ

        4. What a steaming pile of lefty shit.

          1. Sorry to trigger you, snowflake.

            1. CRY MORE ABOUT GETTING BANNED AHAJAJAJAJAJAJ

      1. Mmmm, I think it’s rather thin to say he was “advocating violence”. Taking his words at face-value, he was advocating THE GOVERNMENT punish Pence. That is no more advocating violence than if he tweeted in favor of the death penalty, or of a troop buildup in Afghanistan.
        If we don’t take his words at face-value, and instead investigate their actual meaning, he was remarking on the wide spectrum of people who don’t like Mike Pence.
        Either way, he is clear.

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  3. When the alt-right makes death or rape “jokes”, they are taken as serious threats. When the left makes a similar “joke” and is promptly fired, they are oppressed by cancel culture? Is that the argument you are trying to make?

    1. Not the argument he was making. I suggest you actually read the article to discover his point.

      1. While it is not an accurate synopsis of Rico’s ‘argument’ it is a better representation of reality.

        As such it is a rhetorical question.

        Did you mean to miss that part?

        1. Don’t bother answering. Negative or affirmative does not really matter. Willful or natural, obtuse is still obtuse.

      2. His point is that if the Idea of Cancel Culture is Morally Wrong, then it’s Wrong regardless who it’s done to

  4. So this guy goes around starting fires until one day he accidentally sets himself on fire, and we should feel bad that he got burned?

    Fuck this guy, I hope he never works again.

    1. Congrats. This is exactly the line of thinking that drives cancel culture. You don’t hate the game. You hate the other team.

      1. No guy, I’m quite certain “play with fire get burned” is NOT what drives cancel culture.

        1. How many people has Wilkinson participated in cancelling? I don’t know. But if it’s not something he joins in, then you can’t really say he was playing with fire.
          In any case, the metaphor needs extending. He may be playing with fire, but when you are playing with fire in a place that is already on fire, maybe everyone needs to start trying to put out the big fire.

          1. “then you can’t really say he was playing with fire.”

            He said the VP should be lynched you fucking retard.

            EVEN AS A JOKE that’s playing with fire.

            1. What he said is *really* offensive to me, so I love the cancel culture in this instance!

              1. AHAHAHAHA you got banned White Night ahahahah then you stole Tulpas trick to hide it and got caught

              2. I’m sorry you’re triggered White Knight but if you feel that way you should probably see a therapist.

                Meanwhile, threatening the VP is still playing with fire even though it triggers you.

          2. He was all on board with Google firing James Damore (“I would have canned him in a second for hurting team morale and the company’s PR”).

            1. Well, there you go.

      2. fuck off sarcasmic

      3. One side will play by the rules while asking for the rules to be removed.

        The other side will make the rules, then cry when they are forced to live by them, and ask for even more draconian rules in response.

        1. There’s rules?

          1. It’s more what you call guidelines than actual rules.

      4. If it’s the only game, you gotta play it…

    2. I don’t feel bad for him personally. That doesn’t mean I should celebrate it. I want this shit to stop, not to get revenge.

      1. I want this shit to stop, not to get revenge.

        It will never stop as long as it’s one-sided.

        1. Correct.

          But wringing your hands and urging everyone to be better is so much easier than actually fighting for something.

        2. Honestly, it won’t stop until the “Twitter do yo’ thang”-tards end up suffering consequences for stirring up online lynch mobs.

          1. Put it this way–I didn’t support that idiot, resentful, status-chasing geek of a reporter at the Des Moines Register getting fired after smearing the Iowa State student who ended up getting a bunch of beer money after appearing on GameDay and donated the money to charity, as a racist, and then causing a bunch of bad publicity for the paper. He should have been chastised, educated as to why a bunch of edgy tweets from when this student was an emotionally immature teenager weren’t relevant to the story, and then put on the shittiest beat possible for a few weeks as punishment.

            I also don’t support Wilkinson getting fired. The guy is an asshole and the perfect representative of the cucktard globalists at Niskanen. The only thing that should have happened, at the worst, is a short suspension and some re-training on how to use social media–especially, “think before you hit ‘send'”.

  5. Holding one side to the rules it sanctimoniously proclaims and holds as a threat against everyone who dissents is hypocrisy. Got it.

    1. When you decry those rules, yes it is.

      1. No it really isn’t. “These rules suck and are wrong but they apply to everyone” isn’t hypocrisy unless one is desperate for equivocation.

        1. These rules and I am happy to see them applied is exactly hypocrisy.

          1. AHAHAHAHA you got banned White Knight ahahahah then you stole Tulpas trick to hide it and got caught

          2. No, it isn’t. Disagreeing with a law and still following it isn’t hypocrisy either.

            If the right was trying to invent new rules to cancel people you’d have a point. They aren’t. They are forcing those on the left to play by their own set of standards.

          3. So what you’re saying is that if you obey laws you don’t like, you’re a hypocrite?

            Oh, never mind, you’re a lefty, “it’s okay when we do it” goes without saying for you.

          4. No, it still isn’t retard.

      2. Actually it isn’t. But thanks for showing your ignorance.

      3. QA is advocating for disparate treatment.

    2. If you are a principled opponent of cancel culture, then you oppose anyone’s being canceled.

      1. fuck off Queen Amalthea

      2. AHAHAHA WHITE KNIGHT IS SO EMBARRASSED ABOUT GETTING BANNED AND THEN GETTING CAUGHT LYING THAT HE BURNED HIS QUEEN AMALTHEA SOCK TRYING TO HIDE FROM IT AAHAHAHAHAJAJ

      3. If you aren’t a total idiot you realize one sided warfare always ends badly for one side.

        1. If you are a mature adult, you realize the value of having scruples and principles.

          1. fuck off Queen Amalthea stop using socks to avoid your ban

          2. You dont have principles, you have preening.

  6. It isn’t cancel culture until they lose their twitbook accounts.
    Losing his job was most likely due the the deep financial impact of the mighty Communist Chinese Virus; but definitely not due to the politics associated with the Communist Chinese Virus.
    I have it from several unnamed, anonymous, fictional sources.

  7. “and hypocrisies”

    I’ll care when progs do.

    1. Typical hypocrite response.

      1. fuck off White Knight

      2. AHAHAHA WHITE KNIGHT IS SO EMBARRASSED ABOUT GETTING BANNED AND THEN GETTING CAUGHT LYING THAT HE BURNED HIS QUEEN AMALTHEA SOCK TRYING TO HIDE FROM IT AAHAHAHAHAJAJ

        CRY MORE ABOUT GETTING BANNED AHAJAJAJAJAJAJ

  8. Wilkinson makes for a particularly unsympathetic victim. I can say that he shouldn’t have been fired while still laughing my balls off at his sorry ass.

  9. The Niskanen Center fired a senior staffer for tweeting an offensive joke

    Ok I like jokes

    “If Biden really wanted unity, he’d lynch Mike Pence.”

    Mmm funny.

    1. I do not know about you, but I feel unsafe.

      1. I challenge Robby to replace “Mike Pence” in that joke with the word “himself” and then Tweet it.

  10. To paraphrase Thatcher, the problem with social justice warriors is that you eventually run out of other people to ruin.

    https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/138248-the-problem-with-socialism-is-that-you-eventually-run-out

    1. That’s why I support accelerationism. Besides, I keep my opinions to myself unless I’m posting pseudo-anonymously online.

      1. My real name is Big Daddy.

        1. What social media platforms are you on, Big Daddy? When I search “big daddy”, I just get links to Xvideos, Pornhub, and that terrible Adam Sandler movie.

        2. My real name is Harley Winestain.

  11. It was a dumb joke. More stupid than offensive (or funny). I’m sure it made sense in his head, but when you have to connect the several dots that only exist in your mind to explain the joke to people, skip it altogether – it’s not worth telling.

    I find it much more humorous, in an ironic sense, that he had previously taken the ‘Cancel Culture is no big deal’ side of the argument. Only to be a victim of it. I don’t think he should have been fired, especially after he apologized and explained. But I do enjoy the schadenfreude a bit.

    1. If Biden really wanted unity, he’d lynch Minadin.

  12. “Will Wilkinson is a vice president at the left-leaning Niskanen Center”

    And a Reason contributor, assuming this is the same person.

    Have you noticed how common it is for Reason contributors to eventually reveal themselves as garden variety progressives? That reinforces my point that the way forward for libertarianism is to find common ground with Democrats.

    1. Cato, back in the day? My, how he’s changed over the years.

      Another example of the fact that the nastiest partisans are the converts.

      1. Canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, teaching federal employees about their white privilege, and allowing trans-women to participate in female athletics are all key parts of the libertarian philosophy of maximum individual liberty.

      2. If you stay in D.C. long enough, it corrupts you. See the editors on this site as well.

        The biggest fake libertarians here are the ones who come from deep blue areas of the country. You can always tell where they live by their comments here.

      3. Niskanen was the result of liberaltarians breaking off from Cato to form their own organization.

        1. There’s a little more to the story than that. A struggle for control of Cato Institute was precipitated when Bill Niskanen died and the remaining shareholders (Ed Crane and Charles & David Koch) disputed what was to happen to the shares he held. The eventual settlement led to Ed Crane being replaced at Cato by John Allison, and a lot of people left with him. The Niskanen name is a memorial to the hard feelings that resulted and still resonate.

      4. Wilkinson hasn’t changed one bit. He’s always been exactly the same asshole he is right now.

    2. I imagine everyone to the left of Ghengis Khan looks like a garden variety progressive from where you’re coming from.

      1. fuck off White Knight

      2. AHAHAHA WHITE KNIGHT IS SO EMBARRASSED ABOUT GETTING BANNED AND THEN GETTING CAUGHT LYING THAT HE BURNED HIS QUEEN AMALTHEA SOCK TRYING TO HIDE FROM IT AAHAHAHAHAJAJ

        CRY MORE ABOUT GETTING BANNED AHAJAJAJAJAJAJ

      3. Ghengis Khan wasn’t a politician nor a right-winger, you mendacious cunt. And considering he and his successors conquered and controlled more land than any other civilization in history, you should really re-think your metaphors there.

    3. I remember this guy now!

      Apparently tedious is not something you ever outgrow. Now I’m conflicted. I didn’t mind his firing because of the principle that them’s the rules, but now I’m glad he was fired because he’s a dishonest twit who deserves far worse.

    4. The last article by Will Wilkinson at Reason was 2008.

  13. It is absolutely an example of Cancel Culture, and few people deserve it so much as Will Wilkinson.

    May every other Leftist stew in similar hypocrisy.

    1. “It is absolutely an example of Cancel Culture”

      Nope.

  14. “But Wilkinson’s case is a classic, textbook cancelation”

    I’m not aware that any respectable person or organization has ever protested the firing of someone (at a DC public policy activist organization) who publicly advocated the killing (and even worse, lynching) of the Vice President of the US.

    And in sharp contrast, the overwhelming majority (i.e. >99%) of those who have been kicked off Twitter in recent weeks NEVER publicly called for the killing of anyone.

    Many Trump supporters who simply went to DC on inauguration day were fired by their employers.

    But since very large corporations run by left wing Democrats have fired people and cancelled business contracts with Trump supporters (solely because they were/are Trump supporters), its time for Trump supporters to begin firing Biden supporters and cancelling contracts with Biden supporters (starting with Twitter, Facebook and anyone displaying a BLM or Biden sign).

    Since the left has chosen to cancel and destroy all freedom loving Americans, its time for freedom loving Americans to actively cancel and destroy left wing activists and Biden supporters.

    Besides, that’s the only way left wingers and other Biden supporters will begin to recognize and reject their own cancel culture activists.

    I’ve stopped doing business with anyone who displays a BLM or Biden sign, and/or who has trashed Trump. I now drive 15 minutes to another grocery store because the left wing grocery store chain (that has a store 200 yards from my house) publicly endorsed BLM.

    1. Left wing Socialists/Democrats are just like school bullies, who never recognize the harm they’ve caused others until a bigger bully comes along and beats them up.

    2. You love cancel culture, got it.

      1. Isn’t it a case of freedom of association when you do it?

      2. fuck off White Knight

      3. AHAHAHA WHITE KNIGHT IS SO EMBARRASSED ABOUT GETTING BANNED AND THEN GETTING CAUGHT LYING THAT HE BURNED HIS QUEEN AMALTHEA SOCK TRYING TO HIDE FROM IT AAHAHAHAHAJAJ

        CRY MORE ABOUT GETTING BANNED AHAJAJAJAJAJAJ

      4. What was your belief about AWS kicking Parler off their platform again, despite a contract?

    3. Agree. I’m currently trying to figure out how to not support Amazon and Google. And get my wife to do so. Not as easy as it seems. I got off Facebook years ago and have never done Twitter because they are obviously a cancer devouring the culture.

      1. Getting off the Internet in general and building fellowship directly with people seems to be the best defense against social media cancer.

        1. Which is why the elites have such a boner for establishing a post-industrial “Great Reset” where everyone works and communicates from home, and everything you “own” is actually rented.

          It’s a lot easier to control people when they aren’t talking face-to-face, and have no actual possessions that they feel compelled to defend.

      2. Twitter isn’t the cancer, leftism is.

        1. I went looking for a twitter account that I thought I had just to be one of those counted as leaving. I guess I was always smart enough to see twitter for the waste of electrons that it is.

      3. Alibris seems to be good for books. eBay and Etsy have other stuff but the shipping is slower. Walmart has online ordering and same-day delivery of food and items (not that much better than Amazon, but not Amazon.) Walgreens and Target can do same-day curbside pickup, delivery or shipping.
        It’s doable. Amazon is not a complete necessity yet.

  15. As much as I’d like to crow that turnabout is fair play, nobody should be fired for a stupid joke.

    This needs to stop.

    1. Its going to get much worse, and the only way to stop this is to begin treating left wing Democrats the same way they’ve been treating honest hard working freedom loving Americans.

      1. I hate this principle but the only way to beat it is to relentlessly apply it.

        1. fuck off White Knight

        2. AHAHAHAHA you got banned White Night ahahahah then you stole Tulpas trick to hide it and got caught

    2. nobody should be fired for a stupid joke.

      Wilkinson has soft-pedaled Cancel Culture for a long time so in this case I have to disagree. Let his monster have him.

    3. Are you kidding me? This an an excellent for Will to start his own neo-liberal Washington think tank! He should view this as an opportunity to grow instead of complaining about “cancel culture”.

      1. Ok, that was funny.

    4. nobody should be fired for a stupid joke.

      The Left eats it own. I have been warning people for years and years. When you soft-pedal Marxist ideology, it is pathetic to be shocked when they ship you off to the gulag for wrongthink.

      Hey, Wilkinson! Say hello to Al Franken for us, you shitstain!

    5. As much as I’d like to crow that turnabout is fair play, nobody should be fired for a stupid joke.

      No, but Wilkinson should be fired just for being Wilkinson. Take your victories where you find them.

      I’m guessing he wasn’t so much fired for the joke, more likely his colleagues figured out what a wanker he is, and took the first available opportunity to dump him.

      I’ll admit it would have been more satisfying if he’d been punched in the face, but same as they say, man proposes but god disposes…

  16. An eye for an eye soon leaves everybody blind. If you refuse to play the eye for an eye game, it leaves just you blind. Is that what you’re advocating?

    It’s simple game theory – you punish the defector by defecting yourself until he learns not to defect. IT’S SCIENCE!!!

  17. That third tweet you link to is a proposed explanation for cancel culture. Normative judgments on phenomena don’t preclude descriptive explanations. It would be good if you grappled with possible explanations more to understand how to solve the problem. But maybe actually solving problems isn’t your goal . . . .

    1. You do know it’s Robby Soave you are trying to reason with, right?

  18. Jokes about lynching. He was fired for being an idiot.

    1. Why isn’t that obvious to these casual observers? Judgment, temperament, and intelligence are all suspect when someone says something so stupid. The thing itself is a rather broad hint about the character of the individual.

      Absent social media, would any of these morons say such things out loud and in person? With some notable exceptions, I think not.

  19. Well that’s ironic — and sad. Mr. Wilkinson can go a long way at rehabilitating himself by publicly calling out the dangers of cancel-culture and coming to the defense of those whose politics he opposes.

    Will he?

    1. Oh and Robby, you are by far the tallest midget at Reason! 😉

  20. Just the fact that he’s out there indiscriminately bloviating on social media tells me all I need to know. It’s a bit much to expect any sort of ideological, moral or ethical consistency, standards, etc. when you’re just happy to continue slinging more shit (‘funny’ or otherwise) at your fellow oppo primates. Clearly this sort of behavior was much easier to justify when Trump was on the scene, but not so much now sans their favorite demagogue.

    1. And doing it against Pence, who’s the most receding, milquetoast, inoffensive personality that one could possible imagine, makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

  21. It’s difficult for me to get my blood up with Comrade Beria gets a bullet in the head after being found guilty of crimes against the people by a hastily convened court of his political rivals.

    Also, the left (yes, the Niskanen center, the New York Times are well included in that) have made their bed on this issue. They set impossible standards for everyone else, so they have to act when those standards are clearly violated within their own ranks.

    Perhaps when more (proverbial) bodies begin to pile up, everyone will agree to a truce and go back to their corners and again, start acting like adults.

    I weep not for Wilkinson.

    1. It’s cute how Robby says Niskanen is ‘left leaning’ while Federalist and Daily Caller are ‘conservative.’

      Robby may not exactly be twerking it, but he’s sharing the same dance floor.

    1. All non leftists need to start being the monsters they say we are, because they’ll treat us as such whether they just imagine how we’d act or if we actually do act.
      Going to be rough either way.
      But not doing what they accuse you of intending to do isn’t going to save you.

    2. The actual charges are all some variety of trespassing.

  22. First, if the Niskanen Center “draws the line at statements that are, or can in any way be interpreted as, condoning or promoting violence,” then it would have to fire its president. Taylor has arguably used Twitter in a manner that suggests he condones violence.

    Will’s mistake was making his mistake in a month left wingers are pretending to oppose violence.

    If you only criticize cancel culture when it’s your side being canceled, then you aren’t really attacking the concept

    Untrue. Ensuring the left’s weapons are used against the left is the only way to advance their elimination. Pretending this isn’t true is a staple of libertarian-left preening but this is in fact well understood.

    1. Robby misses another point. Those of us that have been on this cultural beat for several years now while most of Reason either snoozed, or openly mocked the people who warned of this shit coming, WERE railing against cancel culture when it was happening to people who were nominally ideological opponents. Why do you think so many real libertarians have linked arms with various members of the left, including feminists.

      When I stood up for a feminist that got unpersoned on social media, that IS standing up “for the other side”.

      1. Yes, we should all remember the Reason and proggie position was that this is just a few campus crazies and anyone predicting it to expand is unhinged.

        It’s revealing these defenders of left wing lunatics are consistently wrong. But each time that is proven they retrench their own arguments to the nearest not-yet-absolutely-proven-wrong position from which to continue claiming we are unhinged for accurately predicting the last outcome. One of these days they’ll be right about one single thing and they’ll crow for years while forgetting the 2,487 times they were dead wrong.

      2. You’ve got to be kidding. Reason has covered cancel culture forever.

          1. White Knight, who calls himself “White Knight” because Tulpa made him mad, got banned then used Tulpas trick to hide it because he is embarrassed.

            But he got caught and is hiding behind his “Queen Amalthea” sock because he got told to sit down and shut up

        1. “I was his disciple once”

          “Rent free, your head”

          YOU GOT BANNED AHAHAHAHAHAH

        2. I realize you’re stupid but

          “You’ve got to be kidding. Reason has covered cancel culture forever.”

          You missed the point stupid.

        3. Forever?

          Can you remotely claim to have been around long enough to say that, even in a hyperbolic manner?

          My screen name has not changed once since I’ve been commenting here, can you say the same?

        4. You’ve got to be kidding. Reason has covered cancel culture forever.

          Maybe someday you’ll be smart enough to understand a criticism of they way they cover something is not disproven by the fact that they do cover it.

          But I doubt it since you show no sign of learning anything.

        5. In an interview, Nick Gillespie mocked the so-called “intellectual Dark web” (a loose collection of thinkers and intellectuals from across the political spectrum) who were at the forefront, ringing the alarm bells.

          Repeated ‘to be sures’ are added to commentary on some of the individuals associated with this ‘movement’ were peppered in articles about them.

          To be sures are constantly added to articles which intersected with the New Racialism coming out of our institutions– where you have to be racist to be anti-racist.

          Continuous defenses of “muh corporashuns” when regardless of your feelings on the specific right of a given institution to moderate its own platform, there are clearly scary precedents being set that don’t bode well for the future.

          Lackadaisical condemnations of the awfulness that has been coming out of the academies and infecting every mainstream institution, again because ‘muh corporashuns’ seems to take precedent over any values of free speech.

          Snippy comments about platforms like “Gab” being mere right-wing troll farms while missing the bigger, scarier picture where interdependent corporations move in concert to deplatform or black out entire web platforms, not just individual users.

          Specific writers not even knowing what the definition of censorship is, waffling and equivocating that what’s going on isn’t really censorship because the government isn’t doing it, and the person who was deperseoned can still whisper his personal thoughts in his backyard at night, so no harm done.

          If you want to see a real libertarian outfit take this shit on… and take it HEAD the fuck on, I recommend this publication.

          It’s early 2021 and Big Tech censorship has already escalated to unprecedented levels. As more and more accounts are shut down or silenced, many social-media users have decamped to alternative platforms in search of a less censorious environment. One such platform was Parler – until, earlier this month, when it was barred from the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store and, crucially, from Amazon Web Servers. These firms told Parler it had not yet done enough to tackle objectionable content on its app.

          1. Gillespie mocks everything.

            1. I miss Virginia Postrel. Reason was worth reading when she was at the helm.

        6. Reason contributor, Brendan O’Neill

          America is saved. The republic has been rescued. The healing of the nation can begin now that authoritarian populism has been defeated and ‘the adults’ are back in charge. That’s the narrative swirling around the inauguration of Joe Biden today. It couldn’t be more wrong. The Biden-supporting woke elites pose a graver threat to the American republic, to its visionary founding ideals, than Donald Trump did. Behind the facade of today’s restoration of normalcy, the New World trembles.

        7. Andrew Doyle on Big Tech Censorsip.

          These guys are the heroes of pushing back against this cultural plague.

          We ignore Big Tech censorship at our peril
          The glee of seeing Trump banned has blinded left-wingers to the threat posed by Silicon Valley.

          The greatest trick of authoritarians is to convince their subjects to rejoice in their own subjugation. Over the past week we have seen self-proclaimed ‘leftists’ cheering on multi-billion dollar corporations as they ratchet up their policies on censorship and their determination to control the parameters of acceptable thought and speech. The strength of feeling against Donald Trump – entirely understandable, of course – has meant that his permanent ban from all major social-media platforms is being treated as a victory for progressive values. The instinctive sense of satisfaction that comes from seeing one’s enemy silenced has blinded many to the broader picture. These are the imbeciles that stare at the finger as the wise man points at the moon.

          That’s how you write an article defending free speech.

          1. Libertarians are too lackadaisical about the power of money and its use in government. They just assume that because it is private it then can not govern you. Perhaps that’s because they live in a world of “we the people” constitutionalism that they are blinded to the possibilities of big money and big government.

            Oh the solution is limit government! But there always runs the risk of someone with lots of money dangling it in front of the governor of limited means, whispering “all you have to do is *whisper*whisper*whisper*.”

            When all that is politically expedient to worship is money and power, no surprise need there be when governor becomes paid client of wealthy men.

            So then, who is your government? Truly?

          2. Agreed. Another example is the Greeneald piece below, where he says Bezos was caving to cancel culture when Amazon deplatformed Parker, when the real reason has more to do with him being part of an oligarchy seeking to establish a new old boys club that keeps upstarts away from their turf.

          3. Also known as the sanction of the victim. What the libertarians who defend the specific right of a given institution to moderate its own platform do not acknowledge is that Big Tech is now a government proxy, a third party imposing restrictions on free speech with the government’s blessing under Section 230.

        8. Also, “Cancel culture” as it’s discussed is a shard… a bludgeon used in service of the Critical Theories scourge that’s come out of the academies.

          When someone has a picture come up on an old twitter feed where they wore a sombrero to a Halloween party, that public flogging and ‘canceling’ that comes out of that is a tool that’s ostensibly being used to fight against the intersectional power structures that are perceived to exist in society.

          People getting offended is as old as time itself. It’s HOW and WHAT we’re getting offended by, and the ferocity of that offense display that’s changed.

          And it’s all based on the Critical Theories shit that’s infected every level of polite society. Reason didn’t just miss the boat on this subject, they never even got to the fucking port.

          1. Their operating principle of no enemies to the left prohibits them from addressing Critical Theory or any other aspects of the Frankfurt School. Except to dismiss it all as nothing more than John Birch style paranoia.

          1. Wow. Great work there Paul. We can only hope maybe somebody at Reason reads your comments.

          2. Got it. You want histrionics when condemning cancel culture. Calm discussion isn’t to your taste.

      3. There’s a lot more shit coming that some of us warned about while Reason either snoozed or just screeched Orange Man Bad. In fact it’s playing out right now.

    2. “Pretending this isn’t true is a staple of libertarian-left preening but this is in fact well understood.”

      +1000

  23. I suppose it’s too late to call this a Christmas present.

    Is this an example of what they call Social Justice?

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  25. Haven’t we discussed this a thousand time?

    The surest way to eliminate a bad rule is enforce it fully. You try criticizing it all you want, but that does not mean you give it’s proponents a pass when they violate it.

    That’s just stupid. but Robby is as Robby does.

    1. SleepyJoe and his entire family didn’t wear a mask on federal property the day after he signed an executive order requiring it. What should his punishment be?

      1. Fined and wrestled to the ground by a fat security guard and kicked off the property and charged for trespassing.

        1. Since the security guard in the above situation was black, maybe we can make Joe’s security guard black, too, in listen in horrified bemusement as the insane, racist, idiocies that proceed from his mouth.

  26. 2021 isn’t all bad

    Reason or the Libertarian Party should hire Will so they can get cancelled too.

  27. Lynching humor is virtually never a good idea, and this joke was especially badly executed.

    Pun intended?

  28. I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about this.

    On one hand, if cancel culture is wrong, it’s wrong even for someone like Willkinson.

    On the other hand, if a Wilkinson doesn’t get cancelled, what ever changes? If the advocates of cancel culture never run the risk of cancellation, what incentive do they ever have to reconsider the idea? If there’s never a “You tomorrow”, “Me todays” can go on forever.

    1. And Robespierre might have approached things differently had he known, but frankly I doubt it.

      We hold people to the standards they would impose on others not because they are right, but because it is just.

    2. On one hand, if cancel culture is wrong, it’s wrong even for someone like Willkinson.

      No. Wilkinson is a bitch and this is objectively just and hilarious.

      1. I’d prefer Wilkinson to be lynched but “cancelled” is the next best thing. Well the next best thing after stripping his US citizenship and deporting him back to Canada with a suitcase full of prohibited firearms, illegal drugs, kiddie porn, Mohammed portraits and multiple copies of The Turner Diaries in both English and French translation.

  29. ‘But when the time came to show the exact sort of mercy they otherwise would have called for had the subject been a victim of left-wing activists or the mainstream media, these elements of the right poured gasoline on this fire without any hesitation.”

    Don’t hate the player, hate the stupid fucking game and rules you created.

    Wilkinson should have his bank accounts closed and all insurance contracts cancelled.

  30. Censorship for the WIN!!!!!!!!!!!! /s

    1. Nobody is stopping Wilkinson from building his own platform.

      1. Fair enough; My biggest fear is Gov-Guns being allowed to play this curs-id game. As long as freedom exists people can find ways around the real P.O.S. out there playing these disgusting games.

        May they all diminish under the exact same h*llhole they’ve created.

    1. Sorry, that article is classic Gleens, and while his stopped clock may occasionally be correct, I’ll never find common cause with him.

      When I pressed further on whether he really believed that Wilkinson’s tweet was an earnest call for assassination or whether he was just demanding that perceived “cancel culture” standards be applied equally, he responded: “I did not take a position either way on the matter. Wilkinson is perfectly capable of explaining the tweet and his intended meaning, since he wrote it. Clearly, given the content, the least one can expect is that he should give that explanation.”

      Either way, intentional or not, Hoffman’s distorted interpretation of Wilkinson’s tweet…

      (emphasis added)

      Another word for distorted being ‘plain reading.’

      1. Don’t disagree on that point. But overall I found the article more interesting than Robbie’s.

        1. Agreed. It is sad commentary when a devoted leftist is eating your lunch on issues of liberty.

          But Reason has been kinder gentler statism for longer than the Trump administration. He just forced them to open the closet door.

    2. Neither Wilkinson nor his tweet are particularly interesting.

      Greenwald is absolutely right here.

  31. If you’ve never sent a Cent to The Niskanen Center, have you cancelled Will Wilkinson already?

  32. Hey Robby, kind of ironic someone at Reason is screaming about cancel culture. Is this the website that fired Shikha Dalmia? She gave every indication she got canned because of her outspoken criticism of Trump and all that he stood for, and how that didn’t fly with donors. I thought it was telling she got fired right after the article here listing how every writer would vote…and she was the one who said she would vote for Biden because it was most important that Trump lost.

    Funny that.

    1. She got fired because once Trump was gone she was no longer needed, her job was done, and she frankly could not be trusted to refrain from going after Biden with the same fervor.

      Loose cannons are only allowed when it is OrangeMan who is on deck.

    2. Reason was totally in the bag for Trump. That’s why Sullum wrote 50 screeds extolling his virtues in the last month. And ENB praising the mostly peaceful insurrectionists taking selfies at the capitol. Still not sure why they got rid of David Harsayni.

  33. Hey Robby, kind of ironic someone at Reason is screaming about cancel culture. Is this the website that fired Shikha Dalmia? She gave every indication she got canned because of her outspoken criticism of Trump and all that he stood for. I thought it was telling she got fired right after the article here listing how every writer would vote…and she was the one who said she would vote for Biden because it was most important that Trump lost.

    Funny that.

    1. https://nypost.com/2021/01/21/antifa-militants-smash-up-first-starbucks-in-anti-biden-protest/
      Antifa militants chanted “f—k” President Biden during a rampage through Seattle after the inauguration — and smashed up the historic site of the very first Starbucks.

    2. She gave every indication she got canned because of her outspoken criticism of Trump and all that he stood for.

      Yeah, if it’s one thing that the other Reason writers have been known for the last five years, it’s constantly defending Trump.

  34. “But when the time came to show the exact sort of mercy they otherwise would have called for had the subject been a victim of left-wing activists or the mainstream media, these elements of the right poured gasoline on this fire without any hesitation.”

    Make the adversary play by his own book of rules. Saul Alinsky was big on that.

    This is doubly true if the rule was invented by your adversary to go after you, but rationalized as some neutral principle by which they affect to be bound.

    Hold them to it, ask why, if they’re so principled, they don’t invoke their principles against their own people.

    This can have one of two good effects – exposing their double standards, or encouraging left-wing infighting. Win/win.

  35. Let’s cancel Cancel Culture, so we can get back to canceling Colin Kaepernick and other uppity Negroes.

    1. Who?

  36. ctrl+f Damore – 1 in the comments
    ctrl+f Richwine – 0

    Robby is a cunt.

    1. I think the very first public lynching by cancel culture was that poor girl who made a joke on Facebook or Twitter and got on a plane. By the time she landed, her comment was viral, in the news, and she had lost her job. Who was that? Reason actually covered that story.

  37. The left is laughable. “When we cancel someone on the right, it’s justified. But when one of our own get canceled, it’s a travesty.” The people complaining that Wilkinson has been sacked gladly lit the pyres that burned people on the right for far less than calling for the lynching of the Vice President. If they really think ‘cancel culture’ is so bad, they would call for an end to the farcical impeachment, the reinstatement of Trump’s Twitter account, and Parler’s renewed presence on the web, Google Play, and the Apple App Store. But they won’t. They like cancellation – so long as it is not pointed at them.

  38. Governments can’t be funded without the threat of violence so everyone who advocates for taxation is advocating for violence. There sure are a lot of bad people in this world.

  39. They will eventually eat their own.

    1. Witch burning is underrated.

  40. No doubt the Daily Caller was more upset over this joke than it was the actual lynch mob actually sent at Mike Pence. Since we’re listing hypocrisies and absurdities.

    Not only should people be forgiven for the occasional slip up (a principle we all understand intuitively except when it comes to social media, a machine designed to ruin human psychology), but it was perfectly apt political speech.l highlighting the combination of absurdity and real violence that characterizes our era.

    And if you ever assumed rightwingers were the bigger men when it came to finding offense at every little thing, you’re stupid and haven’t been paying attention.

    1. Do you act like a hysterical woman 24/7 or is that just a schtick for Reason?

      1. I thought gay men were all bitchy women.

      2. Personalities are just stories we tell ourselves.

        1. Genders are just stories we tell the world

  41. the combination of absurdity and real violence that characterizes our era.

    For instance, an average weekend in the radical right-wing hellscape of Portland.

  42. Will Wilkinson was always a weak writer.

  43. It was clearly a joke about how the left and the right have both been unhappy with Mike Pence. Canceling Wilkinson is an insult to the intelligence of their readers.

    1. Leave the joke writing to the joke writers.

  44. Rep. Jim Jordan (R–Ohio), for instance, described the second impeachment of President Donald Trump for his role in the Capitol riots as an example of Democrats trying to “cancel” the president. This is nonsense.

    Actually, it is cancel culture. The reason to do this is to make sure he doesn’t run for anything again. That’s an attempt to cancel straight up.

    1. They must diminish Trump in order to legitimize Biden.

      That is why Sullum has such a hard on for all this.

  45. Based on current standards, both Mr. Wilkinson’s and the President of Niskanen’s statements sound like impeachable offenses to me.

  46. I want to say it’s karma but it’s really a fucking disgrace. It’s not even a bad joke, but a writer probably shouldn’t post it on social media — but somebody should.

    No honest person can claim he was truly advocating violence. Nothing he did warrants his firing or any punishment at all.

  47. Proggies turning on proggies? Shocked I tells ya.

    They cannot survive their own hoops of hire the set up for others.

  48. Meanwhile, in sedition news…
    An ethics watchdog organization is alleging that two Republican members of Congress gave “explicit support” to at least one organizer behind the rally that later led to a riot at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6.

    Ali Alexander, one of the activists behind the Capitol rally, previously credited Biggs and Gosar with helping him plan a pressure campaign to halt the certification of Electoral College results, according to The Washington Post. Alexander “received explicit support from Representatives Gosar and Biggs,” the Campaign for Accountability said in a Friday news release.
    MAGA…. MY JOB INFO

  49. Nah, fuck him. He got what he wanted and its good and hard. I’m out of sympathy for Progtard fuckchops that are getting a taste of their own medicine.

  50. Cancel culture is mean and petty and, with the exception of some extreme and egregious instances, simply wrong.
    Those on the right who think they can end it by using it against its proponents are playing poker with a pair of fours against an opponent holding four aces. And playing with house money.
    You’re not going to out cancel-culture the left. They have too much power and dominance in our culture. You may get a occasional win but only occasionally. In the end, you’re going home with nothing. You think the left cares about Wilkinson?
    Besides, it’s just wrong.

  51. Yeah well they’re a private company. Right?

    Robby displaying the kind of false equivalency that’s becoming quite popular by this publication, usually for the sake of appearing “neutral” or to show that the right wing is equally culpable.

    In fact, it is perfectly and morally acceptable for a thinktank to fire one of its contributors for suggesting that the vice president should be lynched. It would be no different than Reason dismissing one of its writers for tweeting that “I want to disembowel Robby Soave as his girlfriend watches” unironically. Even if Robby accepts his sincere apologies, that is not a conduct a serious publication should be perceived as tolerating.

    We don’t operate out of a vacuum where every standard can be applied in equal terms. We can judge each incidents on it own merits and factors. A comedian who makes RACIAL (not racist) jokes as part of a performance should not be fired. A celebrity who hums along a rap lyric with N word should not be fired. A political commentator that makes assassination fantasies is fair game to be fired, depending on the context.

    1. You don’t really think Wilkinson meant it? That Pence should really be lynched? It was a bad joke. He deleted it, apologized for it. That’s sufficient for me.
      As far as I know, he has no history of prior “offenses.” This was a one off.
      Who wants to be judged on their worst days? On their worst moment? All of us want to be judged “in full”, our entire character.
      If one wants to get him because he’s a liberal and play gotcha’ then fine. But that’s not a game anyone wins.

      1. If I tweeted “lynch Barack Obama” I would be fired from any company in this country. Whether I meant it would be irrelevant. Lin Wood was rightfully booted off twitter (or at least I heard he was) for suggesting an execution on Pence. This is different than the usual militant rhetoric like “let’s take our country back”

        I wouldn’t be upset if this thinktank decided against firing him, and the underlying rationale was applied elsewhere consistently. But that’s not how it is. The leftwing mob will demand any “offenders” to be fired or erased while twisting like pretzels to protect one of their own who commits the same sin. Cancel culture is problem precisely because it’s driven by a MOB. They do not adhere to rules.

        So yes, we’re not going to subject ourselves to false choices. If the mob wants to erase, censor, and criminally charge anyone for “political violence” for the most mundane expression, then we’re not going to take the high road and let off someone who wished lynching on the vice president.

        And the notion that the only way to combat cancel culture is to never fire anyone for any offensive conduct is silly and impractical anyways.

        1. But he didn’t tweet “Lynch Obama”. He didn’t even tweet “Lynch Pence”. And I didn’t say that *any* and *every* statement can be made with no consequences at all. In fact I explicitly said the opposite. Viz., there are instances where “canceling” a person is justified. This simply isn’t one of them.
          You are saying: “He’s one of them” and therefore warrants punishment. If he was “one of yours” then he wouldn’t? So what is the standard?
          What exactly are we trying to do with this fanaticism? Stop it? or get revenge on the people who created it? Because doing the same thing the left is doing – when they dominate the culture – is a losing strategy. You are simply not going to defeat the left in this battle by this sort of mutual assured destruction strategy where both sides blow each other up. You have a handful of weapons; they have thousands.

          1. “Because doing the same thing the left is doing – when they dominate the culture – is a losing strategy.”

            So logically the winning strategy is to let them cancel whoever they want and we abide by some self imposed rule? Check out Tony’s response, that is that delusional mob that we have to deal with.

            People support things like socialism and wars in the abstract. But if taxes went up on them or they were drafted, they’ll change their tunes. If companies actually had to abide by the standards of the cancel culture mob, the mob will get cancelled left and right, because violent incitement (antifa, BLM) and actual follow through comes mostly from that rank. If the taste of their own medicine is bitter enough, they may stop.

            If you lost your job because over a bad joke you made 10 years ago, you wouldn’t take the company to task if they don’t fire someone else for making that same mistake? Don’t kid yourself.

            Some redneck has the right to yell racial slurs at me in a COD game without the government busting his ass. I also have the right to call him a cracker and tell him to fuck off. I’m not going to say “Oh well he has 1A rights” and slink off like some loser.

            And we’re not the ones trying to cancel (white) people out of existence because they’re culturally appropriating sushi or flashing the OK sign. The left wages eternal culture war based on identity politics and we’re compelled to respond. It’s not some “tit for tat” struggle for power in a vacuum.

            1. Okay, forget about whether it’s right or wrong; just think about it strategically (since that’s your purpose): You think the left is going to be restrained, is going to consider stopping their canceling, by the Wilkinson example?
              What is going to happen here to defeat the left on this question? Wilkinson’s a white liberal; he’s not someone that they are concerned about losing.

        2. Cancel culture is what the right does. It tries to cancel you for not being white, male, heterosexual, or Christian. That’s its raison d’etre.

          Of course they’re mad if conservatives have to play by the same rules they impose on everyone else. That’s the opposite of what they want.

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  55. “If you only criticize cancel culture when it’s your side being canceled, then you aren’t really attacking the concept—you’re just playing defense for your team. That’s why it’s important to speak out on behalf of those facing social media mob justice, even when the victim is not a member of one’s own ideological coalition.”

    If somebody walks up to you and punches you in the face, maybe you don’t punch back because you don’t believe that violence solves anything. But suppose they punch you in the face again. And then a few more times. At some point you have to choose between being beaten unconscious for your ideals, or fighting back.

    That’s where we are with cancel culture. The practice has become widespread because of actions taken by the left in recent years. Appeals to progressives’ nobler natures to put a stop to it have been … less than successful. There is no sign that they would ever stop without being shown that what they unleashed will come back to bite them.

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  57. Bill Bilkinson sounds like a good pseudonym.

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