The Birth of Cancel Culture and the Death of Education

If today’s poisonous cancel culture is ever to be remedied, the cause must be understood.

When deliberating the origin, most just point to America’s universities and say, “they did it.”  And, clearly, that’s where the programming occurs, but it doesn’t explain why.  

Selwyn Duke recently noted that vanguard leftists have “indoctrinated the young in schools to transform them into foot soldiers in the leftist campaign of civilizational rape.”  Those foot soldiers are today’s cancel culture warriors.

But why did old-time educators morph into purveyors of cancel culture hate?  How did it happen?

The Vietnam War did it.  Or, more precisely, the campus antiwar activities did. 

Most are familiar with the undergraduate student deferments used to dodge the draft in the 1960s.  Less well known were the ones for graduate school, in place until 1968.  Those led to a 3-fold increase in Ph.D. degrees -- men only -- in the ‘60s compared to the previous decade.  The increases prior to that were a couple percent per decade.

And where are most Ph.D. awardees employed?  At universities.

Since their motivation was to avoid government service, it’s not surprising they would espouse principles not supportive of America.  Their negative views undoubtedly spilled over into their teaching, thereby providing foundational cancel culture training -- Woke Philosophy 101; Introductory Victimology 202; Mobology 303: Advanced Bullying -- identified as such or not.    

Perhaps even more concerning, though, was another draft dodging option -- K-12 teaching deferments.  Guys lacking the academic credentials or financial resources for graduate school could add the education courses necessary to become teachers just to avoid the draft.  Obviously, more students qualified for that dodge than the Ph.D. route.  

How’s that for the wrong motivation to “teach” … to instruct America’s youth?

That gets straight to the point Duke made about “indoctrinated the young in schools.”  And, appallingly, this has been going on now for a half century.

Having anti-America messaging in the classroom at an early age would certainly make the kids more receptive to woke cancel culture programming in college.  Since many draft dodgers probably taught for 30-40 years, that’s a lot of brainwashing of America’s hope for the future.

Not much hope there.  Of course, these were males only; women weren’t eligible for the draft.  Equal rights weren’t totally equal back then.

Nonetheless, woke proselytization -- K-12 through terminal advanced degrees -- likely met all prescribed equal opportunity parameters; i.e., both men and women imparted cancel culture loathing.  However, on the female side, my analysis is more qualitative.  I can’t explain why women were so vested in the cause at the time, despising America and all those who served. 

My introduction to the female “hate America” mentality occurred soon after returning from Vietnam while I was finishing my undergraduate degree.  Enjoying a beer in a college bar, a coed noticed the small American flag on my jacket.  She pointed at it saying if I had any idea what war was all about, I wouldn’t wear it.

Considering I had (still have) a piece of shrapnel in my left lung, I suggested I might know a bit more about war than she did.  Instantly, hatred burned in her eyes -- she visibly despised my very being.  That look has stayed with me 50 years.

How could someone hate me -- in the blink of an eye -- for being drafted and damned near dying in Vietnam?

If that was the only time it happened, I’d write it off as an anomaly, but there were multiple instances that same year.  It even occurred two decades later at the university where I was a faculty member.  I was having a cordial conversation with the head of human resources when she found out I’d been in combat in Vietnam.

Bam!  It was as if I’d spit in her face; rabid rage flashed in her eyes.

Why?     

Regardless, Vietnam draft dodgers and allied haters of those who serve assumed control of U.S. universities decades ago.  They and their trainees vilify America and American patriots, making national pride an alien concept on most college campuses.  The few remaining won’t hold out much longer.

Woke cancel culture is the haters’ venomous creation and developing an antivenin won’t be easy.  

First, freedom-loving Americans must stand their ground and refuse to be cancelled.  The hate-filled woke can only function in mobs; individually they’re cowards.  Confront them and they’ll have no power. 

Fixing America’s education system will be a long war of attrition at best, but knowing the cause is essential to achieving the desired outcome.  And success will come down to basic supply and demand economics -- education consumers not spending their money at grossly anti-America universities.  All have anti-America faculty, but some fewer than others.

It’s the almighty tuition dollars, folks.  You control those payments, so control them!

Photo credit: Viarami via Pixabay

R.W. Trewyn, PhD has been a university faculty member for 42 years, working in central administration the past 26 years.