Must We Fight Cancel Culture with Cancel Culture?
As of August 2020, we Americans are embroiled in an intensifying cold civil war. Democrats and the left are the aggressors. Cancel culture is a chief weapon. It's not being employed wholesale — yet — but it is being selectively used as a means of instilling fear in the citizenry.
As morally repugnant as cancel culture is, in war, the question is invariably asked: must we fight fire with fire? Must we cancel the left and its allies to stop their Jacobin terror? It's a legitimate question.
Decent Americans are, naturally, repulsed by the tactic — and, increasingly, personally threatened. Go crosswise the "progressives" and their leftist allies, and you could be unemployed, your reputation ruined.
Alexis de Tocqueville observed back in the early 1800s that Americans prize peace and stability. Makes sense, doesn't it? Peace and stability — under liberty — leads to real progress.
Most of us today are not at all different. We want matters settled civilly, through discussion and debate and at ballot boxes. There's no room for intimidation and violence. The Silent Majority awaits the November elections.
Trump's re-election would provide a critical firebreak. But a Trump win won't compel Democrats and the left to go quietly into that good night. They've made it plain that they don't abide election results. They not only conspired, via the Russia hoax, to derail Candidate Trump, but carried over their intrigues to his presidency. They worked in concert with Deep State players. It was a historically unprecedented conspiracy. The final gasp of their failed offensive, Pelosi-led Democrats impeached the president.
Wars are made up of many battles. Wars — cold or hot — have ebbs and flows. Post-elections, leftists will continue their warfare in the streets, culturally, and by targeting even more innocents who dare offend their orthodoxies.
We underestimate the left at our peril. These aren't just campus kids playing dress-up and mommy's basement dwellers. Antifa and BLM are led by hardboiled Marxists on a mission with clear endgames. The left is, indeed, a minority. Yet, the history of the 20th century shows that a driven, disciplined minority, lacking scruples, has the ability to overturn societies and impose its rule. Both Germany and Russia are prime examples. Extremist political minorities' triumphs caused cataclysmic woes to Germans, Russians, and subject peoples.
The left doesn't want peace and stability — unless it's on its terms, which would amount to a statist construct, meaning jackhammering the American foundation; marginalization — if not outright evisceration — of Western values and norms; restrictions on basic rights, like free speech; and imperious rule from D.C.
The left is an ominous force thanks to a mix of cynical calculation, intimidation, and strong-arm tactics. A growing roster of apologists and appeasers attest to the left's success.
So-called progressive Democrats, along with fellow travelers in the MSM, are in the vanguard of apologists. Democrats see short-term political advantage in the violence and disruptions that leftist-agitated mobs are causing. In their conceit, they believe they can ride the tiger. Both will come to rue the day they attempted to do so.
Ted Wheeler, Portland's Democrat mayor, and apologist extraordinaire, has stood by impotently for 70 days plus as his city is wrecked by leftist instigated mobs. Oregon governor Kate Brown could quell the violence and destruction that's descended on Portland by calling out the National Guard to bolster city police — now neutered — and imposing strict dusk-to-dawn curfews. The same in Washington State, where Governor Jay Inslee stands by as Seattle is racked with ongoing violence. There, Mayor Jenny Durkan and the Seattle City Council, which just voted 7-1 to defund the police, shifts blame to President Trump for Inslee's and her failures. Blame-shifting is standard operating procedure for Democrats concerning a range of issues. Nowadays, they do so conspicuously about race.
The appeasers are in corporate America. From fear, mostly, they fawn and pay tribute to the Marxist-run BLM. BLM coffers now overflow with corporate cash. Supposed all-American companies like Wal-Mart and Home Depot pay tribute. The list of businesses paying into BLM's protection racket is drearily long. Lenin and Lucky Luciano laugh in hell.
If the left triumphs, corporate potentates won't escape gulags; some may stare at hangman's nooses as they climb thirteen steps. Or, if the left takes power with a more fascist twist, corporate titans may be the Krupps of the regime, furnishing the dollars and means of tyranny.
Is it ethical, though, to go after the livelihoods and reputations of those who cancel — or support cancelling — those who fail to meet demands for public conformity to leftist aims?
In war, there's precedent and justifications for reprisals.
The Luftwaffe's merciless air attacks on London were met by Allies firebombing German cities. The attack on Pearl Harbor and the barbarity of Imperial Japanese troops were repaid with total war conducted by the U.S. and its allies. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuked, while Tokyo was gutted with incendiary bombs.
In this cold war, would personally targeted reprisals stop cancel culture, or would they feed upward-spiraling cycles of retribution?
The latter, most likely. Just channel the Hatfields and McCoys. Not only that, but the Silent Majority would find targeted retribution morally repugnant, particularly among those whose ethos is informed by their religious beliefs. Ends justify means for power-lusting leftists, not God-fearing Americans.
Yet the fight must be joined to defeat the left and their Democrat enablers. How?
Counteroffensives need to be driven by strategic considerations: to thwart a leftist takeover, systems must be challenged and captured. Resources must be denied. Power bases in establishments must be undercut. Means of doing so are legislative and criminal legal actions and civil litigation.
GOP governors and Republican-dominated legislatures control purse strings. For example, overhauls of public education institutions — K through college — must occur. In higher education, tenure needs to be abolished; pay and benefits reduced for administrators and faculties; "diversity" hiring must occur, meaning including conservative academicians on faculties and in administrations; scuttling useless leftist "study" curricula. The left must be denied academia as a base.
GOP governors and legislators must override localities to ensure police funding and protections for citizens in blue cities. Where necessary, state troopers and the National Guard need to be deployed. Curfews imposed. President Trump must act. Democrat governed localities cannot be permitted to cancel citizens' rights to safety.
Antifa and BLM must fall under RICO laws, where applicable. Both are domestic terror outfits. Domestic terrorist laws need to be pressed. The DOJ and GOP state attorneys general need to prosecute these cabals for the criminals and insurrectionists they are. The more these miscreants end up in federal and state prisons, the better.
Conservatives need to form a "Liberty Defense Corps," which would not only raise money to provide not just legal defense for those wronged by cancel culture, but seek broader legal remedies to prevent organizations from firing those who dare exercise their constitutional rights. Legislation needs to pass federally and in states to broaden definitions of wrongful termination.
These recommendations are incomplete. More is needed. None is easily achieved. Lincoln had the Anaconda Plan during the Civil War. The aim was to strangle the South into submission. It proved an important component in defeating the Rebellion. We're increasingly facing the greatest existential threat to the Republic since the Civil War. Our actions have to rise to the challenge. Are we willing?
J. Robert Smith can be found on Twitter at @JRobertSmith1 and Parler at @JRobertSmith. He also blogs at Flyover.