Cancel Culture

On Cancel Culture and Civil Liberties

Cancel Culture is on the rise, it needs to stop if we are to preserve a free society.


There have been a series of recent incidents in which individuals who offended one or more members of the far left have been "canceled," i.e., social media mobs have attacked them until they lost their livelihoods. On a scale of egregiousness, let's say it ranges from James Bennett of the New York Times, forced to resign for publishing a controversial op-ed by a U.S. Senator,  as a "1" to Emmanuel Cafferty, a Mexican-American blue collar worker who lost his "dream job" after a Twitter witch-hunter falsely accused him of flashing a white power gesture at a BLM rally, as a "10."

I suspect the vast majority of us, on all points of the political spectrum, don't want to live in a society where Twitter Stasi are constantly looking for wrongthink to report to one's employer; and in the long-run, cancel culture is bound to move from private channels to the government. So the following paragraphs with which I concluded my 2003 book, You Can't Say That! were not exactly about "cancel culture" which wasn't a thing then, but are close enough to be quite relevant:

Finally, if civil liberties are to be preserved Americans will need to both develop thicker skin, and to expect other to be reasonably thick-skinned. A society that has a legal system that expects such thick skin is likely to get it. On the other hand, if the legal system gives people a legal remedy for insult, they are more likely to feel insulted. This is true for two reasons. First, as economists point out, if you subsidize something, you get more of it. If the legal remedies of antidiscrimination law, particularly monetary remedies, subsidize feelings of outrage and insult, we will get more feelings of outrage and insult, a net social loss. Economists have also noted the psychological endowment effect: once people are endowed with a right, they lose far more utility once that right is interfered with than if it had never been granted at all.

Unfortunately, Americans increasingly increasingly coddle and even reward the hypersensitive, perversely encouraging more people to be hypersensitive. In one notorious incident, a Washington, D.C. official, was forced to resign for using the word "niggardly" at a meeting because the word sounded like a racial epithet, even though it is not (it's a synonym, of Scandinavian origin, for "miserly"). It should hardly be surprising, then, that people are suing and winning damages when offended at work, when excluded by a private club or turned down as a roommate, or for being fired from a church-run school after refusing to obey church doctrine.

Yet preserving liberalism, and the civil liberties that go with it, requires a certain level of virtue by the citizenry. Among those necessary virtues is tolerance of those who intentionally or unintentionally offend, and sometimes, when civil liberties are implicated, who blatantly discriminate. A society that puts equality—in terms of the enforcement of draconian enforcement of antidiscrimination laws to alleviate every slight—ahead of civil liberties will end up with neither equality nor civil liberties. The violation of civil liberties to achieve equality will eat away at all constitutional restraints on the government, and the additional power garnered by the government, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests. In these days of the Oprahization of public discourse, with even presidential candidates swearing that they feel the public's pain, asking for a measure of fortitude in the face of offense and discrimination is asking a lot. Yet, in the end, it is a small price to pay for preserving civil liberties.

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  1. I agree with you 99%, which may be a record.

  2. Most recent cancellation, the step mom of the cop who shot Rayshard Brooks was fired from her job. Her crime, being the step mom of the mom of the cop who shot Rayshard Brooks, the drunk black man at an Atlanta Wendy’s who resisted arrest after he failed his breathalizer test, tussled with two cops and stole a tazer and pointed it at the cop who shot him after he did it.

    1. And the national police unions ought to organize a national boycott against the company. Their argument would be simple: mothers don’t get arrested for what their sons do.

      What people aren’t thinking about is that neither this cop nor the ones in Minneapolis are going to get convicted and then things are going to get really nasty.

      1. 4chan has already predicted a Category 4 level chimpout.

        1. That’s actually funny.

          1. I’ve watched the riots on streams. Many of the black protestors were complaining about how they should be looting white stores and burning white homes instead of the stores near “black” neighborhoods. These riots look to be like a preview of the pogroms to come – if hate is not called out on either side, how can there be peace? Israel will be safer than America in the next few decades for people with light skin.

            1. The riots never move out of the black neighborhoods…and haven’t since they started in the 1960s. Can you please show me a black riot that spread? Hispanics or asians neighborhoods defend their turf as well.

            2. Nah, I don’t think so; The fundamental fact is that, while by some measures we’re approaching a society where no ethnic/racial group is the majority, whites are going to be by far the plurality for a long while to come, and blacks will continue to be a minority.

              If it comes to THAT, it doesn’t go well for the blacks.

              1. Are you sure that you’re not Glenn Reynolds using a pseudonym? Your passive-aggressive style and general worldview sound awfully familiar.

              2. Keep abortion legal…black America needs those those stats of 40% of abortions being for for 13% of the populace, if they are ever going to keep their minority status.

        2. I hope so. If they want a race war, they should know that every other group is going to be shooting at them. Asians and Hispanics HATE blacks. They might claim otherwise to try to get some privileges with regard to whitey, but that’s about it.

        3. Rev Al Kirkland should go get a room and have a lovefest

    2. Why can’t white people just follow Jesus’ example and turn the other cheek when confronted by black people?

      1. Because throughout all of history, getting nailed to a cross only worked out for him.

        1. It’s supposed to have worked out pretty well for the guy on the cross to one side of him, too.

    3. The article I saw (UK publication, I think) said she was fired for what she did (but didn’t say), not because of something her stepson did.

      1. Yes. It’s not at all clear what the reason was, or what she did at work.

        Given that she seems to be an admirer of Marjorie Taylor Greene it doesn’t seem implausible that she is not the best choice for an HR position.

        No doubt, there were complaints against her, but whether they were valid or not we don’t know.

      2. said she was fired for what she did (but didn’t say), not because of something her stepson did

        Knock me over with a feather — they came up with a pretext instead of owning up to it? I’ve never heard of such a thing.

    4. The worst part about it is most of our police, even when they screw up and go overboard are just trying to do their jobs. Obviously in hindsight the cop who shot Rayshard Brooks should have just let him run away, impound his car and pick him up later.

      The cop that killed Floyd didn’t pick him out at random, it was a legitimate arrest, but he was an arrogant completely callous asshole, and while I don’t think he intended to kill Floyd he obviously wasn’t too concerned if he did.

      I have 3 proposals to fix the police, one is take the unions out of the disciplinary process for misconduct. Two, make the police force at least 50% female, I don’t think women make good firemen, but they make good if not better police. Three, when an officer uses their gun, take them off the street for good, officer shootings are relatively rare, so it won’t then the ranks much, make them meter maids, or office personal, but they are done carrying a gun on the streets as an officer no matter how justified the shooting is.

      1. Kazinski, when didn’t he intend to kill Floyd? Except for intent to kill, what do you suppose is another explanation for continuing to kneel on the neck of a handcuffed man for almost 2 minutes after hearing he had no pulse?

      2. “one is take the unions out of the disciplinary process for misconduct.”

        Just get rid of them altogether. The only reason we have public sector unions is to launder tax dollars back into the campaigns of urban political machines.

        “Two, make the police force at least 50% female, I don’t think women make good firemen, but they make good if not better police.”

        What, did you have in mind, a draft, or just a very discriminatory pay scale?

        ” Three, when an officer uses their gun, take them off the street for good,”

        25-30% of cops report having fired their guns at least once, but that’s averaging between Mayberry RFD and Watts, and doesn’t account for cops who’ve shot it more than once. So you’d be talking some serious attrition.

    5. You left out the detail that he was shot in the back after he aimed the taser, but starting to run away.

  3. I agree with the sentiment, but hope the left keeps on pushing. They have already overplayed their hand and the more the envelope gets pushed the better. We all know those on the left are not going to suddenly have an epiphany that cancel culture is really bad. It is going to have to be a hard earned lesson for them. And that is going to involve lots of retribution in the form of turning tables. I wish it didn’t have t come to this, but alas that is where we are at.

    1. Cancel culture, snowfakes and their safe spaces, and all their made-up outrage are like the bomb-throwing nihilists of the late 1800s early 1900s. They are too delicate to throw actual explosives, but cultural bombs is just as good today.

      All they have is outrage at not getting a participation trophy, and all they do is throw public tantrums and revel in upsetting everybody else.

      1. They’re really not that brave, particularly if you take them on as individuals. I say this from experience — where we’re so used to being outnumbered that merely being outnumbered 10-1 seems like good odds, they are terrified of only having a 10-1 advantage.


        1. A Pyrrhic victory for most of those counter-protestors. What happens when the media and Twitter dox them? What happens if a fight breaks out and the police charge them with assault? What happens when their employers and inundated with hate mail and the decision is made to cut them loose? The risk of opposing the mob is too great for a lot of people. Can we even have a discussion about crime statistics without the slur of “racist” being thrown?

        2. I read your link, Ed, and found it interesting.

          Sounds these militia assholes are trying to intimidate demonstrators, which you seem to approve of.

          No complaints from Bernstein or any of the usual suspects about that being “cancel culture,” or interfering with civil rights.

    2. It’s too late. It won’t end unless conservatives become the monsters liberals accuse them of being.

      1. Why and how would liberal accusations cause conservatives to become monsters?

        1. Not accusations. Liberal actions.

          1. Liberal actions cause conservatives to become monsters? Hmm. I’d like to hear your opinion about Blacks who have claimed that societal racism has caused them to behave in negative ways.

            1. Whatever goodwill blacks had following the civil rights movement, their atrocious behavior since then has ruined it.

              1. What “atrocious behavior” are you talking about? You like to use very general terms as if everyone knows what you mean, but I don’t.

                1. Take a look at any socioeconomic indicators. They’re overrepresented in all of the social ills.

              2. Oh, and one more thing. If you’re going to use that sort of “logic,” what’s your response to someone who says that the way whites have conducted themselves with respect to minorities throughout our history has “ruined” any attempt at making amends?

                1. That would be the argument of an ethnic nationalist seeking the separation of the races. And I think the guy you’re asking is a WN, so he’d be happy with that.

    3. I’m thinking more in terms of Mutual Assured Destruction.

      During the Cold War, the Soviet leaders knew what would happen to them if they attacked us, so they didn’t. According to the movies, Mafia families all agree to leave the parents, children and spouses out of their disputes. And Justice Antonin Scalia wrote (in the RAV case) that the government “has no such authority to license one side of a debate to fight freestyle, while requiring the other to follow Marquis of Queensbury Rules.”

      It’s time for us to fight freestyle too.

      1. I agree with that. The problem is, most conservatives still believe that liberals are good people, just misguided. This prevents them from seeing their enemies as the enemies they are.

        1. Right, I had a kitten for breakfast just this morning that I killed with my bare hands.

          1. It’s not an innocent kitten that I’m thinking malicious thoughts about.

            1. He’s being an idiot.

        2. Mitt Romney can’t wait to be another gracious loser on the next episode of Meet the Press.

          1. He’s a pathetic weasel. Just like McCain, whom I hope is rotting in hell.

    4. My hope is that we start to see the left cannibalize itself. We’re starting to see some of this with the rallies for black trans lives splitting away from the general rallies for black lives. There is plenty of homophobia, transphobia, and Anti-Semitism to go around in the black community and I can’t wait to see the outcome!

      1. Let’s be honest here. Liberal Jews deserve anything they have coming to them.

        1. You have a think about Jews, don’t you? What would you like to see happen to them?

          1. I don’t wish anything specific on liberal Jews that I don’t wish on liberal gentiles. Jews are just like everyone else, only more so.

          2. neurodoc, you apparently missed his acknowledgment that he was raised Jewish but walked away from it. Which I think explains a lot.

            1. What does it explain?

              1. Since you asked, you have the same hostility toward Judaism (or at least the liberal wing of it) that an embittered ex-wife has toward her ex-husband following an acrimonious divorce. I don’t know what happened to you in your past, but only rarely have I encountered someone whose entire world view was as rage-driven as yours. Someone hurt you bad.

            2. Except, why would you believe anything he says?

      2. The Black community is both homophobic and sexist — they sing about rape. It’s not a sustainable coalition.

  4. Internet mobs are going to get worse, and this is not a problem the free market is going to fix. We need strong laws protecting employees from being canceled. That way, employers can shrug their shoulders and tell the mob, Nothing we can do about it.

    1. Companies are like buffalo in herd. The lion catches one of them, and the rest eat grass still in the sight of them, knowing that for a time, they are safe, since the lions are feeding.

      Seriously, on what planet are the incentives going to be that a company can just say “no” to the mob for an average joe? The incentives are always going to be to placate the mob and hope it blows over.

    2. That won’t help in the slightest. The employees are fired because the employer dreads the social backlash. Making it illegal to fire them will just create a new bureaucracy of SJW lawyers and make the backlash worse.

      1. Actually, we have data on it, and it would help.

        In 1964 Congress passed a law making it illegal for companies to making hiring decisions based on race. A lot of companies argued in court that even though they weren’t racists, their customers were, and their customers would not do business with them unless they discriminated against blacks.

        The answer from the courts was that since the law forbade all employers to discriminate based on race, their bigoted customers would now find black employees with any company they wanted to do business with, so the threat to any one company of facing racist backlash was minimal. And fifty years later, sure enough, that’s what’s happened.

        1. And 50 years later we have de facto racial quotas, because the process IS the punishment, and the only way you have to prove you’re not racist is to have the right numbers.

          1. So, Krychek_2 is actually supporting a de facto quota system for conservatives and Republicans. Huh. Wonder how that will go over in some quarters.

            1. No I’m not. I’m supporting protecting people on a case by case basis as the need arises.

              1. But you cannot do that without some sort of system in place that sets rules.

                1. And the rule is amending Title VII to say that no one may be discriminated against in employment based on their exercise of their free speech rights on their own time (or something to that effect; I’m writing off the top of my head and that could probably be stated more artfully than I just did).

                  If an employee claims to have been fired because of an Internet mob, the same investigative process would kick in as for any other kinds of discrimination: The plaintiff makes out a prima facie case by showing that he engaged in protected activity and was adversely treated; the company then has the opportunity to offer a non-discriminatory reason for why it did what it did, and the plaintiff has the opportunity to attack that reason as being a pretext for unlawful discrimination. See McDonnell Douglas v. Green, 411 U.S. 792.

                  No need for quotas since both leftist speech and rightest speech would be equally protected.

                  1. Just like there are no quotas for Title VII’s rules about sex or racial discrimination? Oh, wait. There are. We just hide them behind all kinds of flowery “disparate impact” language.

                    You still don’t get it. You are proposing a “solution” that is for worse than what it’s trying to solve.

                    1. Meh, it might be worth it, downsides and all.

                    2. Rossami, only yesterday you attributed to me views on the rights of sole proprietors and boycotters when I had not expressed any, and persisted in attributing them to me after I corrected you. Since you make stuff up, I’m really not interested in talking to you at this point.

                    3. I’ve practiced employment law for 30+ years, and “disparate impact” claims are almost non-existent.

                    4. Jonny Scrum-half, I do not practice employment law, but I vaguely remember a Supreme Court case from a number of years ago (I think one of the parties was named Washington) in which the Supreme Court held that disparate impact claims won’t be entertained; that you have to prove discrimination in your specific case. If my memory on that is right, then all this yapping by the right about how awful disparate impact claims are is just that: yapping about a non-existent problem.

                      I think in the early days of anti-discrimination law there was a case, Griggs v. Duke Power Plant, that did allow disparate impact claims, but it was overruled in Washington. Does that ring any bells for you?

                    5. If my memory on that is right, then all this yapping by the right about how awful disparate impact claims are is just that: yapping about a non-existent problem.

                      Yup. Only 269 published opinions discussing disparate impact so far this year. Close enough.

                    6. This reference seems to think it’s a thing.

                      As I said, I don’t think it’s so much a matter of fear of losing lawsuits, as fear of the cost of lawsuits.

                    7. I did not specifically attribute those views to you, I pointed out that they were the obvious and inevitable implication of views you do have. You’re still in denial.

                  2. So companies should be required to employ Nazis, Klansmen, holocaust deniers, ISIS supporters, and employees who write up detailed fantasies about seeing all their coworkers and their families rounded up, tortured, and murdered?

                    I don’t think I agree.

                    1. I would not hire a holocaust denier to teach European history. But neither would I say a Nazi or a Klansman should be unemployable because (1) that makes them more likely to go on welfare or turn to crime in order to survive; and (2) it gives him more free time to advance Nazi ideology and do other bad things. I’d prefer that he be gainfully employed, supporting himself and his family, paying taxes, and otherwise as useful a contributing member of society as his ideology allows him to be.

                      The guy with the detailed murder fantasies is different from other people on your list because he’s actually engaging in speech directed at individual co-workers. I likewise would not fire a Nazi just for being a Nazi, but I would fire him if he starts harassing Jewish co-workers or customers.

                      One of the Phelps siblings of God Hates Fags Westboro Baptist fame has quietly been employed for years as an attorney for the Kansas Department of Corrections. When asked about it, the Department’s public statements have always been that they disagree with her views but she has a First Amendment right to express them on her own time. I’m fine with that approach.

                    2. I would not hire a holocaust denier to teach European history.

                      So… you do support discriminating against some people for exercising their free speech rights?

                      The guy with the detailed murder fantasies is different from other people on your list because he’s actually engaging in speech directed at individual co-workers.

                      So what? It’s still protected by the First Amendment.

                    3. If the exercise of First Amendment rights actually interferes with doing the job, then sure, but most of the time it won’t. Nobody is going to require an employer to hire someone who simply isn’t able or willing to do the job. A young earth creationist shouldn’t be teaching earth science either.

                      And an employee who directs his vitriol at certain specific employees is doing something that impacts on the job itself. If not his, then that of the other employees he’s harassing.

                  3. Krychek – I can’t reply to your comment directed to me, so I’ll reply here. I’ve seen and heard so little about disparate impact since my law-school days I didn’t have a ready answer for you, so I did some quick research, and I don’t see anything that you described. I have some vague recollection that perhaps disparate impact claim of age discrimination are harder to prove than other types of disparate impact, but I didn’t see anything that eliminated that type of claim.

                    However, as I said before I just don’t see it. Maybe the EEOC brings such claims, but they’re just not very common.

                    1. And I went back and looked. The case I was thinking of related to equal protection claims under the 14th Amendment, not Title VII, so my memory was wrong. That’s what I get for getting old.

            2. supporting a de facto quota system for conservatives and Republicans

              I’ll support an explicit one — it’s a lesser evil intended to fight a greater one, not unlike a small forest fire intentionally lit so as to race toward the much bigger one and hopefully extinguish both.

              40% of the country are die-hard Trump supporters — can you name ONE person in a public university who is? Enough said?

          2. Assuming that to be true (which I’m not), that would not apply to protecting people from internet mobs because there is no way to have quotas for people who’ve been or are likely to be targeted by internet mobs.

            1. Oh yea? I don’t think you know what Pandora’s box you would open. Basically, you want protection from the mob for someone who could say something as innocent as “men are men and women are women” (JK Rowling) or wear an OAN t-shirt in an Insta pic (some college coach) or have said “nigger” at some point (a famous chef some years ago).

          3. Which means inevitably keeping on incompetent black employees. I’ve seen this in literally every company I’ve every worked for. And not it includes homosexuals.

            1. Aktenberg78, I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that you don’t care how competent a given black employee is, you don’t want them around. Am I right?

              1. No. Not at all.

              2. How can we determine the competency of an employee or the motivations, racial or otherwise, of an employer when the first assumption is always racial bias? Whites are “convicted” of racist attitudes by the media and the Internet lynch mob before facts are ever known.

                1. Actually, in the real world racial bias is not the “first assumption.” I don’t know where you guys get your victim mentality, but it’s not reflective of my experience representing employers against discrimination lawsuits in a very liberal state.

          4. Do you do any employment-law work? I do, and your statement is completely off-base.

      2. These won’t be SJW lawyers — and do not underestimate the creation of a cadre of lawyers engaged in the lucrative practice of defending our side. That could even extend to changes in law school curriculum….

    3. It is about changing the culture of incentives. Companies just fire random employees who engage in mundane offensive conduct because it is the path of least resistance. It is enough to appease the mob and they go on to the next target. If a company though had to face, say a coalition of other companies who would refuse to do business with them because they engaged in this immoral and unethical conduct, that would change the equation.

      The current social upheaval is sponsored by major corporations because it makes sense. Easier to just say ‘Black Lives Matter’ and throw up an empty statement about how you support diversity. Even good for business in some parts. But do you think Amazon really care that much about this? No, Bezos needs you to mint another trillion dollars for him and that isn’t going to happen if he is getting trashed in the media for months on end. Easier just to make spray paint a new prime special and take the mob’s cash. Works the same way with Big Tech. (Although I think that might be changing soon as the demands for censorship get more onerous and they are losing users because of it. We might actually see them swing more toward the “free speech” side…)

      1. Right. And one of the reasons I don’t think the free market will solve this problem is because the free market created the problem in the first place. Internet mobs only work because businesses have to care about their customers’ opinions.

        1. There was a time when businesses were more balanced and the right had some competing public pressure it could apply. Those have largely faded away. But there was a time in the 80’s and 90’s where if you got the religious right going they could exert a lot of pressure on private businesses. You would end up with some uncomfortable situations where X employee would get fired for being a homosexual, but at least the dynamic largely kept both sides pretty quiet on the “cancel this” front. Now without a counterbalancing force the left just runs amok.

        2. NO! The free market DID NOT create this problem! It is only a problem because government created slavery, Jim Crow, affirmative action, and all the racial quotas we have today, al backed by government law and government courts and government thugs.

          Did it escape your notice that this is a government agency? Whether it is owned by the government, or just regulated to a fare-thee-well as a government-mandated monopoly, the sweet smell of government is all over this employer.

          1. This particular case involved a government agency but the problem is just as bad in private companies.

          2. If you believe the private mob can make corporations cancel people, why do you refuse to believe that back in the day the same effect made corporations not hire or serve blacks?

            There’s plenty of historical records of de facto discrimination without any laws to help it…

            1. Also, it’s not as if Jim Crow was sprung on an unsuspecting public. The politicians who implemented it were explicitly segregationist. The notion that but for government interference, private businesses would have cheerfully integrated themselves is almost as delusional as pretending the secession of Confederate states had nothing to do with slavery.

        3. “And one of the reasons I don’t think the free market will solve this problem is because the free market created the problem in the first place.”

          You’re proposing a solution in search of a problem. It is not internet mobs that we are trying to regulate; it’s their employers. But why do we care about regulating their employers? If it’s at-will employment, it doesn’t matter why the employee was fired. If that’s a market problem, employees will solve it by demanding employment contracts. If they don’t, it isn’t a market problem. Strictly speaking there are no victims when a company just fires an at-will employee, for any reason.

      2. And if we engaged in the same tactics, it would become balance of terror and it would end.

        1. Yes the Right are always going to be nazi fascists. And the Left will always cast themselves as the freedom fighters in the public light.

          Don’t expect the media to ever treat the two sides fairly.

          1. We need our own media, and Faux News ain’t it.

            1. The Left has taught us that if you want to call the shots you have to control the levers of the mainstream institutions. I don’t think the takeaway is “build parallel system.” It is retake the institutions that rightly belong to the people and not the liberal elite.

              1. Starting with Education. That was Reagan’s mistake and 40 years later, we are living with the consequences.

        2. Can I loot the local Best Buy for a new iPad Pro?

      3. Re: the Trumpist Right Wing’s imagined Leftist domination of Big Tech,

        Today’s top-performing Facebook stories are from:

        1. Frankin Graham
        2. Fox News
        3. The Other 98%
        4. Breitbart
        5. Donald J. Trump
        6. Donald Trump for President
        7. Ben Shapiro
        8. Sean Hannity
        9. Franklin Graham
        10. Donald Trump for President

    4. I think this is right. We do need laws protecting employees from being cancelled – and from being fired for arbitrary reasons generally. This means ending the baseline rule of “at will” employment, and requiring that an employer put forth a work-related reason for the termination. Of course, some employers may still bow to the outraged customers, if the outrage is severe enough. But the costs of an employment suit would at least make them think twice.

      The funny thing is, conservatives have only themselves to blame for this form of cancel culture. No, not just because they set the precedent with their various red scares, or their Iraq war hysteria (see the Dixie Chicks et al.). Ultimately, this sort of behavior on the part of employers would not be possible without their decades-long project of weakening workers rights. An employee in a union, or at least with some recourse in the law, is not likely to get cancelled on a whim.

      1. Bullbleep — I’ve personally seen unions abandon employees who “were canceled on a whim.” Including public sector employees.

        1. I don’t know Dr. Ed—you’re going to have to hit us with some anecdotes if your really want to persuade.

          1. Black tradesman was mouthing off and White plumber said “I’ve got a truck, anyone got a chain” and was fired. But two other tradesmen had a fistfight in the middle of a children’s playground and that was OK.

        2. You may have seen it, but it is uncommon. A represented employee is protected by a labor contract which generally requires a bona fide, job related reason for firing.
          Similarly for civil service employees and most state government employees.

        3. I’m sure there are some outliers, but in the aggregate, stronger worker protections means fewer workers getting fired for their off-the-job advocacy/political activities.

        1. we used to have aunt jemima, now we just have aunt teefah smh my head

        2. You catch more buttefies with syrup than you do with vinegar.

    5. The market can solve this problem. It just takes people speaking up and against the worst excesses of “cancel culture”. Companies that engage in knee-jerk firings are going to have a harder time hiring and retaining employees. By contrast, companies that engage in fair process, reflection, take time to evaluate, etc. are going to have a competitive advantage.

      What would a “strong law[] protecting employees from being canceled” even look like, in your view?

    6. Krychek_2, internet mobs would not amount to a hill of beans if publishing were not nearly-monopolized by a few internet media giants. It is the scale of the networks enabled by present internet policies which make the mobs imposing. If instead of having a world-wide audience for jerkishness handed to him on a silver platter, a would-be internet mobster had to mobilize his own audience, he’d be lucky to get 2 followers. Repeal Section 230 and the free market in publishing would absolutely take care of the problem, with a return to private editing.

    7. “…this is not a problem the free market is going to fix.”

      You’re right. I, not being a leftist, am willing to live with that. I recognize that it is not possible to eliminate all problems. I don’t look to the government to make everything “fair.” I look to the government for protection from violent crimes. (E.g., I was — as it turned out, vainly — expecting the government to stop the people who looted and burned businesses not far from where I live.) I would rather take my chances with the free market than have the government dictate to my employer what he should pay me and when he can fire me.

  5. I disagree with you 99%, which unsurprisingly isn’t a record.

    Your advice is 100% anti-American and anti-1A.

    And you are misplacing your outrage.

    People can and should spew whatever that want (with the current legal exceptions like libel, fighting words, exhorting imminent violence, etc.).

    The outrage must be placed on the folks in power: govt and companies.

    I’m disturbed by WaPo’s story about the blackface woman and I’m equally disturbed by her company’s decision to fire her (with the grain of salt since we don’t know if there were other reasons).

    1. Companies and government are both, in different ways, designed to be responsive to public opinion.

      1. Agree 100%.

        However “responsive” does not mean kow-tow to all whims or trends, or to take unreasonable actions.

        We all expect our govts and companies to take measured actions when faced with situations like the blackface lady (and again, WaPo and her company didn’t).

        1. “We all expect our govts and companies to take measured actions when faced with situations like the blackface lady (and again, WaPo and her company didn’t).”

          Weirdly, I feel for all the hate being slung at the WaPo (why? hmmm…. it’s almost like there is a whole Right Wing media echochamber devoted to slagging Trump’s enemies), people seem to forget a pretty important fact as to why the WaPo was covering this story.

          Where was the party? Washington DC.

          Who hosted the party? Noted WaPo cartoonist, Tom Toles.

          Who else attended this Halloween party? An eclectic mix including “journalists and political types from Washington’s power elite[.]”

          What happened when Toles was originally contacted about the story? He lied about the identity of the person. And that’s when they got involved.

          So it’s not like the WaPo was randomly ferreting out information that had no relevance to DC, or the WaPo.

          1. “almost like there is a whole Right Wing media echochamber devoted to slagging Trump’s enemies”

            “Conservatives pounce” in its pure form. A thing is not bad or good unless the right can be blamed.

            1. Luckily, everyone knows that your comments can be safely disregarded since you view politics as not a means for advancing any particular interest or even having any consistent position, but simply an exercise in trolling.

              At least you are honest about it; more than can be said for most.

              1. As many here generally agree with me as agree with you.

                At least I don’t routinely call people “stupid” like you do.

                1. There’s a reason for that.

                2. Actually, Bob, a lot more people here agree with you.

                  Which is WHY I call them stupid. I would bother trying to persuade them, but you know what?

                  You can’t cure stupid.

          2. All those factors would be relevant if the story had been published two years ago when the party actually happened. The decision to come forward now is what makes it a fairly transparent case of motivated outrage.

            1. That’s …. not at all believable, and you know that.

              How many times have we seen stories re-surface of black face from 5, 10, 20 years in the past … or more.

              So can the BS.

              1. They “re-surface” when the event is discovered by someone else. In this case, the authors of the WaPo story were key players in the event actually at the party.

          3. WaPo has become a poor excuse for journalism. It conflates news and opinion in almost every piece it publishes. For that reason I cancelled my subscription.
            It is reaping what it sows.

    2. The way to deal with this is for a systematic campaign against the WaPo’s advertisers. The tactics of the Christian Conservatives of the 1980’s were repulsive — and un-Christian. But it worked and unfortunately that sort of thing is necessary.

      1. WaPo is owned by Jeff Bezos so he doesn’t need advertisers if he just wants a rag to publish his viewpoints. Do you think Reason magazine really needs those fundraisers when Mr. Koch can just write another check? How much of the media is actively supported by the public through subscriptions as opposed to corporate sanctioned ideas being propagated in corporate backed newsprint?

  6. Your position would be far more persuasive if you would recognize that the “cancel culture” exists on the left and the right. In fact, it is basically the President’s entire modus operandi, firing and suing and regulating anyone and everyone who disagrees with him. Also, your repeated posts on this subject never seem to recognize that, for example, until very recently someone who is gay could be fired or “canceled” merely for coming out of the closet. Perhaps being fired or canceled for uttering a homophobic slur is also bad; but some appreciation of the history of discrimination on these issues would make your argument seem a bit more principled.

    1. If you read the book you will find that I point out that the reason groups like gays were able to vastly improve their status in society was precisely because there was no one around to suppress speech and activism on their behalf to freeze the intellectual status quo.

      1. Exactly. And the other thing no one mentions is that a lot of the young gay men dying of AIDS in the 1980s had life insurance policies and they left those quite large benefits to the gay activist organizations.

        1. Imagine a modern organization trying to raise funds to prevent drug abuse among poor whites, prevent suicides in isolated white men, promote traditional marriage, and encourage job training in Appalachia. Liberals like to think of themselves as “bleeding heart” types but I guarantee you that most smugly enjoy seeing poor whites ground into the dirt.

      2. “there was no one around to suppress speech and activism on their behalf to freeze the intellectual status quo”

        Point your Google-compatible device at “Focus On The Family” or “Republican Party platform,” professor.

        That the bigots eventually failed doesn’t mean they didn’t strive to keep bashing gays (and succeed for an extended period).

        1. I don’t think anyone seriously considered assaulting homosexuals, other than perhaps Muslim-Americans. Contrary to contemporary beliefs, marriage is not about “love”. Marriages are about assigning responsibilities to man and woman because male – female sexual relations result in children being born. Homosexuals can have relationships with whoever they desire but those relationships are NOT marriages because children will never result from a homosexual union. The fact that we cannot discuss this openly without fear of being labeled a “bigot” is another example of how liberals and corporations have clamped down on public dialogue.

    2. Your “both sides” mantra is misplaced. First, Trump fires those who worked for him…that’s not the same as placating a cancel culture mob. Second, in going after idiots like Kathy Griffon with rhetoric from the bully pulpit (twitter these days) the right is making the left play by it’s own rules. Where was your problem with the “j’accuse” when Obama was going after the Cambridge Police Dept, or the innocent fellow who shot Trayvon Martin in legitimate self defense?

    3. It most certainly does exist on both left and right, and I favor protecting employees from both kinds of mobs. Saying something pro-Trump shouldn’t get you fired either. (Mocked and laughed at maybe.)

      1. Sure but you all need to give the “orange man” jokes a rest. I’ve had to listen to the same jokes for 4 years! Everyone knows Donald has a weird tan, goofy hairdo, and terrible diet. Bring something else to the comedy club next time.

    4. Yeah, funny how these ardent freedom-of-speech conservatives who see cancel culture as the latest dire threat to the republic never quite found the time to worry about what happened to, say, Colin Kaepernick. De facto blacklisting from the NFL? Whatever. The right losing their nut about his sponsorship deals and calling for boycotts? Well, that’s just the free market. A cynic might think their interest is less about speech than anti-liberalism and anti-leftism.

      1. There is a qualitative difference between the average dude, like this truck driver, and a rich celebrity demanding the attention in the first place.

        1. What’s the difference? If you get fired for expressing an opinion you get fired.

          As for Cafferty, well, how about blaming SDG&E for gross stupidity and cowardice?

          1. The difference? I dunno, a couple mil in the bank makes unemployment a little easier to bear. I don’t know about you though.

            1. Doesn’t make the treatment any more fair, though.

              The millionaire may be better able to absorb the punishment. That doesn’t justify unfair punishment.

              1. But it is a qualitative difference, not to mention the reason why said rich douche-bag is willing to engender controversy on purpose, eh?

      2. Kaepernick lost his NFL job because he went 1-10 as a starting QB, idiot. Then he started the whole kneeling thing because he’s an attention whore. No NFL team wants him because shitty quarterbacks are a dime a dozen.

        1. Right. It had absolutely nothing to do with the kneeling.

          Do you really believe that crap?

          1. Being a shitty quarterback, and not having the skill to make it worth the headache of hiring said shitty quaterback, means that, yes, it has to do with the kneeling and being a shitty quarterback when there are lots of others who are better.

            Lesson? If you are going to be a dipshit, try to only do it when you’re indispensable.

            1. Kaepernick wasn’t a shitty quarterback. He is clearly better than a lot of quarterbacks who have remained employed. And to the extent your argument is that he should have made himself more indispensable before he started his protest (i.e., what you have called being a “dipshit”), why doesn’t the same argument apply to other people who get fired after doing something that their employer (or their employer’s customers) finds objectionable?

              1. I’m not a sports fanatic, but it’s pretty objective that with a 1-10 record Kaperneck was a shitty quarterback. Compared to you or me, he would be fantastic, but not compared to his peers in one of the highest paid and demanding jobs in the world. Even the Washington Compost some still has an article up that he was a total “meh”.

                Being crappy AND being a lightening rod, made his future employment in certain doubt…the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze.

                1. A quarterback’s ability cannot be judged solely based on his team’s won-lost record. Nor can you take one season out of a player’s career and evaluate him solely on that season. Kaepernick was not a superstar, but he was a reasonably competent QB, and at least as good if not better than the starters that several teams were running out in 2017-2019.

                  1. Exactly. He was the starting QB in a Super Bowl and made it back to the NFC Championship Game the following year. The 49ers were horrible the year he went 1-10; he actually threw for 16 TDs and only 4 INTs. I was comparing him to his peers; he was clearly better than most backup QBs and several starting QBs.

          2. To the extent I’ve followed this, I get the impression that the kneeling was intended to immunize him against the consequences of being a lousy quarterback.

            1. Right, Brett.

              Always, always, bad faith.

              Couldn’t possibly have been sincere. Not in Bellmore World.

              1. I would like to buy my wife’s black son a kneeling Kaepernick action figure for Hanukkah. Do you know if they are sold anyplace? Lil’ Tyrone wants to grow up to become a mediocre NFL player who uses race politics to cover for his unimpressive career as quarterback.

          3. Mostly yes.
            If he were playing like Patrick Mahomes, he’d still be playing starting QB.

        2. Well, no, he started the kneeling thing because he read Game of Thrones!

    5. So it’s ok to fire people for saying stupid things on social media because other people were fired in the past for being gay?

      That’s how this bullshit got started.

      1. No. But it’s not OK to claim that gays didn’t have their “speech and activism” suppressed.

        1. 40 years ago, there were a lot of conservatives with a “live and let live” attitude who weren’t pro-gay but very much “leave them alone.”
          The left isn’t like that.

      2. Not what I said. I said that concern for the former would be more principled if it included concern and understanding for the latter.

  7. I have a hard time understanding what you mean by the claim that there was “no one around to suppress the speech and activism” of gay people. There were a lot of people doing just that. Gay people could be fired and discharged from the military, couldn’t marry, and were often assaulted and even killed. Yes, an activist movement changed much of that, but not without attempts by many to suppress that speech and activism. And the very underlying conditions of being fired or discharged, etc., are suppression. That’s my point. You find some isolated instance of a white person saying or doing something that is perceived by some to be racist and suffering a perhaps unjust consequence, and treat that as if it is a bigger moral failure than the underlying racism against black people that pervades our history and culture.

    1. “It’s ok to fuck with people’s lives because other people’s lives got fucked with in the past.”

      Go throw yourself into a running woodchipper feet first, jackass.

    2. Specifically, it was not illegal to advocate for gay rights.

      1. Nothing in your post appeared to be about legality. You were citing cancel culture, social media mobs, and Twitter Stasi. The victims you cite did not do anything illegal either.

        1. The goal of cancel culture is to get its views of what may be expressed enforced through law (as they are already happy to do at state universities when they can get away with it). If you can find any significant number of “cancel culture” types who also don’t support hate speech laws and other coercive measures, I’d be very surprised. This takes their assault on liberal culture from a nuisance to a threat.

          1. While that may be true, most of the harm done by “cancel culture” is done by getting employers, schools, landlords, and so forth to stop serving the victim. If there is, or can be, a remedy to be had at law, it will probably need to take the form of either discrimination law (such as the law in Colorado and several other states banning employment disciplinary actions for most kinds of off-duty conduct) or the old tort of interference with a contractual relationship.

          2. So you have ascribed a pretend goal to a made-up movement. And now what to suggest that said movement is “the left.” Nice work. It is hard to construct a better strawman.

    3. >underlying racism against black people that pervades our history and culture
      Anti-Semitism didn’t stop Larry Page or Sergey Brin. Sure, they would not have been successful in the Soviet Union where anti-Semitism was state policy but in the United States, where tolerance was once practiced, they were able to build a new company for a new communication tool, the Internet. Why can’t black people compete?

      1. “Rabbi,” Larry Page is was born in the United States and he is not Jewish. So no answers in his experience to your bigotry loaded question, “Why can’t black people compete?” But putting facts aside, what is your answer to the question you pose?

        BTW, “rabbi,” have you nothing to say in response to Aktenberg77, who worries so much on behalf of Jews, while claiming to be of Jewish parentage himself?

      2. The Bell Curve will give you the answer to that.

  8. Sheesh David, you may lose tenure if you keep writing like this. The VC will probably get demonetized by Google (assuming you are getting ad revenues from them).

    1. I am waiting for an inflammatory comment from the usual troll. The person who loves to taunt and bully and insult the other people here.

      1. You have to be more specific moff

        1. Nope. I will not be more specific. He is better at throwing insults than I am. In fact, I would rather not throw insults at all. But the usual troll has now made an appearance and used his favorite word to describe anyone who disagrees with him: “bigots.”

          1. *Ahem* Hate speech is NOT free speech, bigot!

  9. I am sorry about the truck driver. Hopefully a kind conservative will hire him, conservatives care about the working class, unlike Jacobin lefties.

    I am not sorry about Bennet, his kind created the whirlwind, they need to reap it, hard. I am not sorry about the lefty woman in the Megan Kelly blackface; play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

    A Thermidorian reaction is only effective when the initial storm is hard enough. Its too scattered right now.

    1. Yes, clearly conservatives care about the working class. That’s why they spent hundreds of millions, if not more, in lobbying money and litigation fees to stop the working class getting health insurance.

      1. Yes, exactly that: They tried very hard to keep the working class from being forced to pay for health insurance they couldn’t afford, instead of getting to decide their own financial priorities.

        It’s a pretty typical left-wing trait to have contempt for the idea that people should be allowed to make their own choices, rather than be forced to do whatever the left thinks is a good idea.

        1. If only the drafters of the ACA had thought of that, and had included some way to make sure health insurance would be affordable? It might have even been in the title…

          Instead, at the moment the rich and the poor are equally free to choose whether or not to spend thousands of dollars per month/year on health insurance.

          1. ” even been in the title”

            Oh, it was in the title. Must be a fact then.

            1. But seriously, you know as well as I do that sensible Romneycare requires three ingredients:
              – a requirement for insurance companies to take all comers
              – a requirement for individuals to buy insurance
              – a subsidy for people who can’t afford to buy health insurance

              It doesn’t work without any one of those three. You can’t selectively quote from the bill and cry outrage. Nor can you lobby to trash one of the limbs and then cry outrage about what’s left.

              And, for the record, if supporting Romneycare (rather than Medicare for all) makes me a leftist, what does that make you?

              1. I can’t speak for Bob specifically, but Trumpists generally consider Romney a leftist, so that question may not elicit the answer one would expect.

                1. @Leo: I know. My point was that that would say more about Bob than about me.

                  1. To you and me that’s obvious. In their through-the-looking-glass world, there’s nothing obvious about it at all.

          2. If only the drafters of the ACA had thought of that, and had included some way to make sure health insurance would be affordable? It might have even been in the title…

            Now do the PATRIOT Act!

            1. I’ve always found that a strange one. To my knowledge the PATRIOT Act doesn’t contain any provisions that even arguably concern patriotism. ACA, on the other hand, would have made healthcare more affordable if it had been allowed to function as intended.

              1. “would have made healthcare more affordable if it had been allowed to function as intended”

                True health insurance reform has never been tried.

                1. Of course true health insurance reform has been tried. In the US, it’s been tried (successfully) in Massachusetts and Hawaii, and if Obamacare hadn’t been lobbied and litigated to death, it would have given the US essentially the same system that half of the OECD countries have, all of which have health insurance at a fraction of the cost/cost to users of the US.

              2. That may or may not be the case. My point is that the fact that they put the word “affordable” in the name doesn’t shed any light on the question.

                1. Indeed, which is why I didn’t claim it did.

        2. And my family’s doctor was driven into retirement by this great health insurance — and this helped me, HOW???

          1. Now you know that your doctor has been overcharging you.

  10. Is it defamatory to call someone a “racist” when they are not? Might be interesting to force a judicial examination of just what constitutes “racism”.

    1. No, it isn’t defamatory. To be considered defamatory, a statement must (falsely) state a fact; e.g., X killed his wife and buried her in the backyard. A statement of opinion — e.g., X is a jerk — cannot be defamatory (because it cannot be proven false).

  11. From a libertarian point of view I don’t know why cancel culture is a problem. There should a be a way in the marketplace of a ideas to have idea products discontinued just like in normal marketplace. The consumer says they don’t want a product, it stops going up on the shelf. Surely the point isn’t that every idea gets equal weight like some sort of communist distribution.

    I suspect it is because a large part of cancel culture, cancels conservative ideas publicly. Its a weird carveout of an idea that you have previously been in favor of, when it applied publicly to leftist ideas, or privately, to decisions made about whether to give someone a career based on ideas they espoused.

    1. “… members of a free society are entitled to decide that some political views are so beyond the pale that the holders of those views should be treated as moral pariahs.” – David Bernstein

      1. And yet, members of society are also entitled to point out that suggesting that basically any ideas on race and other matters to the left of Bernie Sanders are beyond the pale is absurd and authoritarian.

        1. Well yes. To the left of Bernie Sanders is pretty far left, even by non-US standards.

        2. I think we’re saying the same thing, so I really don’t understand the push against cancel culture, unless it is based on who gets “canceled,” which seems like the exact wrong way to look at this.

        3. DB, “point out that suggesting,” is a pretty equivocal way to say whatever it is.

  12. “Cancel Culture is on the rise, it needs to stop if we are to preserve a free society.”

    Why would you think the left wants to preserve a free society?
    Why would you think the right has the balls to try to preserve a free society?

    Get ready for the brave new world.

    1. They will when the food runs out. Look at the people who show up with rifles to government buildings. There are patriots willing to fight. It’ll only take a few more pushes to make them do it.

      1. Yes. Nothing identifies a true patriot better than the willingness to take up arms against the government. Hence all the statues, etc.

        1. “Nothing identifies a true patriot better than the willingness to take up arms against the government.”

          Don’t they study the American Revolution in Holland?

          Patriots is literally the name for the men who rebelled.

          1. It literally isn’t. Revolutionary army. It’s in the title.

            1. “Revolutionary army. ”

              No, it was the Continental Army.

              “Patriots (also known as Revolutionaries, Continentals, Rebels, or American Whigs) were those colonists of the Thirteen Colonies who rejected British rule during the American Revolution and declared the United States of America as an independent nation in July 1776. ” wiki

              1. Yes. Because they won they became the government and retroactively became patriots.

                1. Yes. The winners write the history books. Might = right. What’s your point?

            2. The revolutionaries did indeed literally call themselves Patriots. They also called themselves other things, and were called more things still by others, although the “revolutionary army” is not one I’m familiar with.


              1. They also wrote that it was a self-evident truth that all men were created equal while owning slaves, so clearly they weren’t averse to a bit of spin.

  13. It’s almost as if lax antitrust enforcement isn’t a good idea…

  14. Prof. Bernstein’s message has merit but is presented in a counterproductively one-sided manner (no mention of Colin Kaepernick, decades of Focus on the Family boycotts, recent tweets from the White House, etc.) and published at a blog that has engaged in content-directed censorship, including commenter cancellation.

    Arguments perceived as partisan in this context will be ignored by most audiences at best and counterproductive more often.

    I would accept either a productive, nonpartisan debate or a continuation of the partisan polemics. It’s easy to be flexible when your side is winning.

    1. Yes, look at Focus on the Family and what the left did to them.

      If someone had done that to the SPLC just once, we’d still be hearing about it 25 years later. But no, it happened AGAIN in 2012, this time the perp was a volunteer at a LBGT community center.

      We aren’t shooting your people….

      1. If we’re quoting examples from the last century, I think Rev. Martin Luther King would like a word…

        1. 2012 was 8 years ago — or are you using Common Core math?

          1. The article you linked was from 1996.

      2. There would even be a made up national day of mourning for the SPLC shooting…

        Remember when a Bernie Bros shot up a Republican baseball game almost killing the minority whip (3rd in charge)? No of course not because the media acted like it never happened. Instead we are supposed to believe that some crazy kid down south who shot up a church youth group really did it because of a statue of Robert E Lee in the public square. Which then of course means we have to take down every confederate statue everywhere because of that one time…

        1. I remember it well.

          It’s a staple of right-wing defensiveness whenever the subject of right-wing violence comes up. At this point it doesn’t even mean anything, just one more stupid scream.

          1. It comes up because the media gins up supposed “right wing violence” that doesn’t exist. The reason why people won’t listen to you is two fold. The BS about making stuff up and the BS of pretending real things that happened never did.

            1. I mean Dylann Roof, Robert Gregory Bowers, John Earnest, Patrick Crusius, Robert Alvin Justus, etc. “The BS of pretending real things that happened never did.” Indeed!

              1. Oh, good. Do some jihadists next.

                1. You think jihadists are to the left on the political spectrum?

                  1. Depends on the topic.

                    The left like pretend that jihadists aren’t representative of Islam and if you think they are you’re an Islamophobe, but turn around again and say that Dylan Roof is representative of the right, but then turn around again and say that that James T. Hodkinson isn’t representative of the left. See why I said that?

  15. When King and the civil rights movement were marching and protesting during the day, at night King and other civil rights leaders were on the phone with LBJ and other officials working to get legislation passed, to reform things. Go listen to the calls between the LBJ and King, for example, over the passage of the Voting Rights. They weren’t just demonstrating (courageously); they were working with the system to improve it, to open it up for black Americans to use. King believed in America; he wanted black Americans to be included in it.
    This movement, however well motivated, is simply cruel and mean spirited and revengeful. It’s not interested in building things up, in working within; it wants to destroy and overthrow. How is ruining the life of a 50 year old woman who years ago dressed up in black face really improving the lives of black Americans? It’s not. It’s just cruel revenge, a power trip.

    Power. That seems to be what it’s about. Having power over others and using that power for your own narrow purposes.

    1. Power is what the French Revolution devolved into.

      1. Correct. If there’s no common ground on which to argue, to debate, if there’s no “good faith” belief in each other, then it all comes down to power.
        If you truly believe America (like the ancien regime) and all of its institutions are corrupt and evil and you believe that everyone or anyone defending them are similarly immoral, then you don’t want to compromise with them. Why should you? You’re compromising with evil.
        Similarly, if you think civil liberties – due process, free speech – are simply instruments used by white supremacists to maintain power over these corrupt institutions then why support those liberties? You can’t.
        We’re in quite a mess here. One hopes it’s just a paroxysm of anger, a “woke” fad that will pass. But I’m not sure anymore.

  16. We need to make the Leftists as afraid to be who they are publicly as they have made any of us.

    They need to be afraid to say who they are voting for.

    They need to fear having a bumpersticker on their car.

    They need to think twice about wearing a blue hat.

    They need to regret saying they vote Democrat on social media.

    They need to feel the same pain many of us feel.

    1. If you’re so easily shamed for supporting Trump, that probably suggest that you know, deep inside, that you’re on the wrong side on that one.

      1. What made you think I was referring to some personal emotion shame?

        Is that all you see happening to Trump supporters? Are you blind to the physical, social, and commercial violence being committed by Leftists?

    2. Could I offer you a milkshake in these trying times?

  17. Some local “activists” when digging through Facebook to find something to make the controversy of the day. They did and it was some woman who had posted something about immigration maybe 10 years ago. The screen shots of the comments weren’t that bad, but then again we live in the days of moral panic, so they suited the purpose. The local news asked what they hoped in achieving by getting her fired from her private employer. By the coverage it appeared she was simply an administrative assistant at a small company. The “activist” really didn’t have a response. The reporter pushed the question and said something like “wouldn’t it be against what you are working for if this woman ends up on welfare and food stamps because no one wants to hire her after this?” That got the “activist” mad and he stormed off.

    Highlighted the whole purpose of keeping the mob busy is just to generate controversy. That is the purpose of the exercise. There is nothing else there. It isn’t going to make anyone’s life better. It isn’t going to root out racism. It is just going to keep the controversy rolling for another news cycle.

    1. Do you have a link to that story? Do they identify the activist? I bet that person should feel a little activism themselves.

  18. dont they teach Voltaire anymore?

    1. Twenty years ago, students at UMass Amherst were chanting “Fuck the First Amendment.”

      Does that answer your question?

    2. was he the Italian who discovered electricity?

  19. David,

    Where on your scale does Trump’s effort to silence Bolton fall?

    Where does his threat against protestors in Tulsa fall?

    How do you compare anti-free expression activities engaged in by the President with complaints by random Twitter users?

    1. Sorry, you think it’s just *complaints* that are occurring?
      What does Trump’s appalling behavior have to do with the topic at hand? Does his stupid and reckless comments (with no follow up because he’s an incompetent demagogue) excuse this “cancel” culture?
      If the topic was Trump’s threats and someone said, “What about ‘cancel culture'”? would that be acceptable? You’d point out that that was a diversion, a dodge to get around the issue.

  20. Largely cries of future victimhood, and exhortations for current violence.

    1. You really do need to excuse this, don’t you? You have some sort of mental “victim spreadsheet” that you use where you go over complaints and judge whether they have merit or not. Instead of having a principled opposition to such attacks. This group are true victims; this group can be dismissed.
      You railed away against that Covington boy for “smirking”. But were silent about the black religious group that was calling them “fags” and other names. Yes, “smirking” at the Native American was appalling behavior but people who complain about others having their lives ruined – career destroyed, character attacked – are having fainting spells.
      All you see is groups here and not individual people whose lives are being ruined.

      1. ““smirking” at the Native American was appalling behavior ”

        No it wasn’t. The old guy was yelling at the kid so he just stood there, probably not knowing what to do.

        The bad guy was the old Indian.

      2. Don’t bother Steve. These people hate us and want to see us dead.

        1. Good lord Sam, I don’t want you dead. I don’t even know you.

      3. I’m not excusing anything.

        This comment thread is a mess.

    2. Oh, and racism.

      June.19.2020 at 12:25 pm
      4chan has already predicted a Category 4 level chimpout.

      June.19.2020 at 12:34 pm
      That’s actually funny.

      1. Yes, I laughed at a racist joke. Just like I laughed at The Producers and Blazing Saddles and the Chappelle Show and a ton of other things that are racist in Sarcastro world. Are you working yourself up to a good cancel culture sesh yourself?

        1. I don’t know what it means that you can’t tell the difference between mocking racists and being racist.

          1. I don’t know what it means that you don’t understand that mocking racism is actually racism.

            1. mocking racism is actually racism.

              OK, try me on that one.

  21. Complaints is what the Cafferty incident sounds like to me. What else happened? I mean, I know the company fired him, which as I said is idiotic and cowardly. Even the guy who posted the picture to begin with now admits he probably misinterpreted the gesture. So lay the blame on SDG&E.

    What does Trump’s appalling behavior have to do with the topic at hand? Does his stupid and reckless comments (with no follow up because he’s an incompetent demagogue) excuse this “cancel” culture?
    If the topic was Trump’s threats and someone said, “What about ‘cancel culture’”? would that be acceptable? You’d point out that that was a diversion, a dodge to get around the issue.

    Well, he is following up on the Bolton matter, and there seem to be plenty of militia assholes who are happy to show up at demonstrations to intimidate protestors, or even shoot them or run cars into them. And I’d say Trump’s reckless talk about “rough treatment” only encourages that. Sounds like just more “cancel” stuff to me.

    Anyway, I’m not trying to dodge the issue. I oppose shutting down speakers. I agree in general with Bernstein’s sentiments, but I do think he blinds himself to bad behavior from those on his side, which was sort of my point.

    We have a long history of “cancel culture” in this country, some of it involving actual physical “cancelling” of individuals, so if you want to get worked up about things go ahead, but don’t be too damned virtuous about it.

    1. The above intended as a response to SteveMG’s 1:32 comment.

  22. This is where the fight over confederate statues ends:

    With the destruction of America.

    1. LOL. George Washington was an actual slave owner. Across the world statues have been toppled of people who had a much more tangential relationship to the slave trade than him. If you think Washington is as bad as it gets, you’re in for a big surprise.

      1. Huh? You just proved my point.

        1. Well, one of them, yes. When it comes to the notion that a statue being taken down is “the destruction of America”, you’re on your own.

  23. On Cancel Culture and Civil Liberties

    In your examples, whose civil liberties are being violated? Is the government getting involved? Are you predicting that the government will get involved in the future? I don’t understand.

    1. OK, I reread, you say “cancel culture is bound to move from private channels to the government”. Do you have evidence for that prediction? The courts are pretty good on free speech, aren’t they?

      1. Give ’em time. If they can gut the Second Amendment, why not the First?

  24. It’s almost as if David French had read this comment thread:

    In the juvenile aggro-boy world of the modern right (I refuse to call it conservatism), you position yourself as toughly as possible to take on your enemies. The language of liberty is a cloak mainly for partisan malice.

    1. It’s a good thing there’s no partisan malice on the left.

      1. Are you under the impression David French is “on the left?”

        1. Have you heard French say how dramatically his personal experience of racism changed after he and his wife adopted a little girl from Ethiopia?

          Also, French is decidedly anti-Trump. Doesn’t that put him over “on the left”? I’m sure that Donnie Jr. would say it does, if it doesn’t make French a straight up traitor. And he is the type who wears a face mask just to show he doesn’t like Trump, Sr.!

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