Students defending cancel culture raise alarms

The online Wall Street Journal opinion section has a feature called "Future View," where the opinions of college students are aired on the issues of the day.  The subject Wednesday was "cancel culture." The WSJ presented five responses from college students, and the results were most concerning.

Two of the five students rightly and roundly condemned cancel culture as poisoning modern discourse, enabling hostility rather than understanding, and fostering Orwellian behaviors such as employing physical force to shut down events in the name of free speech.

The other three responses, however, defended cancel culture.  One student explained it thus: "Opinions are one thing.  It's entirely different to use abusive or threatening language that expresses prejudice on the basis of race, sex, gender or religion."  Apparently, the irony of this statement was lost on the student who expressed it, for cancel culture is itself abusive and threatening to those who are canceled and others of like mind and serves only to expose the prejudice of the canceler.  Just ask the New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer editors who recently lost their jobs by expressing widely held, almost innocuous viewpoints.

A second response in favor of cancel culture compares it to exile, banishment, and shunning, or the natural functioning of social norms.  Again, the young author misses the point entirely, for the concern with cancel culture is, first, that it destroys lives for the most common of everyday sentiments, such as expressing support for a diversity of viewpoints or mentioning that "Buildings Matter Too" to rioters, and, second, the opinions of the cancelers are usually leftist sentiments held by a few but that are amplified by the social media feeding frenzy.  That is not the equivalent of a government punishing someone, for example, for breaking laws such as spying or treason, after legal procedures such as Miranda rights, presumption of innocence, due process, legal representation, trial by jury of peers, etc. have occurred that could lead to exile or banishment.

A third response was somewhat more nuanced, arguing that those whose lives have been canceled should be afforded a path to redemption and forgiveness.  But this again misses the point, for to whom should the offender apologize, and for what offense?  It seems this young person is arguing that adults must grovel before college students like her in order not to be canceled...and why?  Because the young are somehow imbued with the wisdom of the ages?  These are the same college children who spit on the Great Books and the Bible, which truly do contain great wisdom...if one takes but a moment to seek it out.  

It is also worth noting that the two responses condemning cancel culture as intolerant (and doing it rather well) were submitted by male college students, while the three responses defending intolerant cancel culture were written by female students.  For more on this point, feel free to review the unfortunate "woke white woman" disorder that is covered in detail elsewhere, and that appears, sadly, to be increasing its prevalence on campus.

Graphic credit: Pixabay.

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