What is the point of the left’s campaign of cancel culture attacks on figures like Joe Rogan? Is it to hold public figures accountable and create a more just, humane, and responsible society? Or is it to strike down the opposition and shove heterodox views and those that preach them out of the public sphere to protect an unpopular regime?
Undoubtedly it is the latter, one for which there is no excuses.
In the former case, where the goal is to push people toward being better, there is a valid defense. Liberty isn’t licentiousness, after all, so there is a very strong case to be made that so long as the goal is to help people see the light and badger them into being better, attacks on people who say reprehensible things (not that that’s what Joe was doing) could be justified. By making it clear that certain things are wrong, perhaps we can contain evil.
Hence why shutting down the teaching of CRT in kindergarten classes is generally viewed as acceptable by the opponents of cancel culture; the goal isn’t to “cancel” teachers, it’s to ensure that kids are learning the right things and to protect the noble American spirit attacked by CRT. In other words, it’s about the outcome, a valuable social goal of maintaining a cohesive society, not about being vindictive and cruelly going after people.
But the cancel culture campaign isn’t about that. Much as it might be dressed up as teaching a racist society to not be racist (or, in the place of racism, insert any other disliked “ism”), the goal is obviously to go after those who preach a message that the cancel culture warriors dislike. They don’t really care about racism, or at least not in the way they claim. Rather, their goal is to attack those that they dislike.
The disingenuous attack on Rogan is case in point of that. Anyone who has listed to Rogan can tell he’s not a racist, much less the far-right reactionary the cancel culture loons pretend that he is. Yet he’s being labeled as one and attacked for a few out-of-context clips from his show.
Why? Because the left brooks no dissent and is vindictive. Its purpose in attacking Rogan isn’t to teach people that saying the word that must not be named is wrong, nor is it to protect America generally from a dangerous ideology such as CRT. It goes without question that everyone in America already knows that racism is wrong and, so far as can be discerned from listening to his podcast, Rogan has no ideology; he’s there to learn and asks questions.
What they want is to tear down greatness, to destroy someone simply for existing and questioning the Orthodoxy. That’s what’s almost always behind cancel culture attacks and is what must be fought against.
The right to speak the truth as you see it, the right to ask about and bring up heterodox opinions, that’s an important one and an integral part of the American idea. Without it, freedom of speech is dead, as is our ability to progress, learn, and become better.
There’s a place in our nation for holding people accountable and challenging others to learn. But disingenuous attacks meant to destroy individuals for their “wrongthink,” that sort of thing must be stopped. Yes, it’s a tough line to draw, and one that makes many uncomfortable because the line of what’s right and what’s wrong seems grey. But it’s an important one to draw, as it’s what protect our ability to learn and grow while stopping absurd, vindictive attacks.