Scott Tibbs

"Cancel Culture" and MAD

By Scott Tibbs, September 27, 2019

I am not excusing the Right embracing "cancel culture" to take out enemies on the Left (as we have seen with conservatives digging up old tweets by journalists who have been critical of President Trump) but human nature is what it is. You cannot expect the Right to not use the Left's tactics against them. When you raise the black flag, the other side tends to do the same. As Ben Shapiro explained, Truth Revolt was just such a campaign.

The best option is for everyone to chill out. Stop digging up decades-old tweets, blog comments and so forth to bash people over the head with now, and ruin their careers. However, that is not going to happen, and everyone knows it. So the only way forward is for everyone else (especially big corporations) to stop giving in to the outrage mob. Every time a corporation, school district, non-profit organization or whatever else gives the mob what they want and sacks someone for something that happened decades ago, it only encourages the mob to attack more.

One example of a good way forward is Andrew Yang, a Democratic candidate for President. I was very impressed with Yang when he refused to join the outrage mob when a comedian was found to have engaged in racist jokes about Asians. It is sad and depressing that simply being an adult is impressive in today's society, but nonetheless it is good to see. Politically, Yang could certainly have benefited from trying to get a comedian's life destroyed, because that would have driven media coverage and increased his name recognition, as the media loves this kind of conflict. Yang put principle over personal gain, and that is praiseworthy.

Other Leftists should follow Yang's mature example, but what about the Right? There is benefit to the MAD strategy, but the best way forward is to stop being afraid of our own shadow. We can point out hypocrisy and argue the Left should abide by its own standard, but we need to stop giving in and throwing people overboard whenever someone becomes slightly controversial. We saw that this can work when Republicans refused to jettison Donald Trump for all of his actions that have inflamed the Left. There is no reason to not apply this universally.

But the more important reason to oppose "cancel culture" is not as a strategy but out of principle. If we as conservatives are opposed to "cancel culture" on principle, we cannot suddenly become in favor of it when it allows us to collect a Leftist's scalp. We are not "winning" anything when we do that, because the temporary "win" is far outweighed by the fact that we are helping the Left establish "cancel culture" more broadly. That is a strategery that ends in defeat.

Previously: The mob will never be satisfied.

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