November 28, 2020

Gen Z Conservative

The thoughts of a young conservative on political issues relevant to all ages

cancel culture is toxic

Cancel Culture is Toxic and Is Eroding Civil Society

My Take on Why America’s Cancel Culture is Toxic

One at least seemingly recent development in American politics is the cancel culture, which is a close cousin of the virtue signaling on college campuses. For those of you that don’t know, “canceling” someone is when you dig up past offensive or non-conforming ideas that person has expressed and then use those past ideas to discredit them in the present.

Both the right and left use it, with liberal angst over Mitt Romney’s 47% comment, Mike Bloomberg’s statements about inner-city crime, and Ralph Northam’s blackface all being prime example of “canceling.” No matter which side it comes from, cancel culture is toxic.

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Why is that? Why is cancel culture toxic? Because America’s leftist-dominated cancel culture makes having a respectful political discussion near impossible. If you are worried that your opponents will smear you with past statements you’ve made that likely don’t represent your current political ideology, then you’re likely not going to engage in civil discourse with them. And as the hate-filled leftists have dominated our media sources, they have a practical monopoly over what allegations are even brought up, shielding their own, like Biden has been shielded from rape accusations, while digitally assassinating the character of conservative pundits.

So, because our cancel culture is toxic, instead of engaging in political debates, it’s far more likely that people try to smear the other side first so that they can’t spread vicious rumors. That’s a terrible cycle that’s destroying American politics. If we are going to have productive conversations and engage in bipartisan reform, then we need to recognize that cancel culture is toxic and then act as quickly and forcefully as possible to “cancel” it (pun intended).




Until then, I have the feeling that nothing will happen in American politics; debate will continue to be stifled and the most effective and competent will continue to be cut down by accusations that they did something in their past that should make them irrelevant today.

In some cases, yes, past statements do matter for Democrats. Elizabeth Warren’s many lies are a great example of that. But, in my opinion at least, that because those lies show a terrible character flaw, not because of whatever opinions were expressed in them. Cancel culture is toxic, so we should try to avoid it, but if the other side’s current faults are on display in past statements, then I think it’s fair to bring those statements up. It’s only when the statements are irrelevant to the figure’s current conduct that bringing them up is contributing to the evil cancel culture.

Going back to the original examples, does anyone on the right really think Bloomberg and Northam are evil racists? No. Nothing they’ve done would justify that viewpoint. Rather, we just want to destroy their political careers so that we can install a Republican. It’s not about objective standards; it’s all just about political power.

That’s a problem for America. Our political system is different in that it’s supposed to be based on republican ideals and virtue, not European-style power politics. Men like John Marshall and George Washington are our national heroes, not men like Otto von Bismarck. Be like the Founding Fathers; they would have seen that cancel culture is toxic and refused to engage in it, whereas the Europeans would not have.

To see that difference, read two books: The 48 Laws of Power and The Federalist Papers. The 48 Laws of Power, with its focus on manipulation and scheming, is a book suited to European politics. The Federalist Papers, which focus on America’s founding ideals, is how one should think about acting politically in America.

The cancel culture is toxic and goes against what America stands for. We need to stop using “cancelling” and start using actual political arguments to win elections.

Doing so will change America for the better. Right now, I think too many people on both the right and left are caught up in trying to “own” or “wreck” the other side (conservatives are better at it, by the way). While it can be more fun and temporarily more satisfying to do so, it is not productive. You will not manage to change anyone’s mind by “wrecking” them in front of an audience.

All you will do is anger them, temporarily humiliate them, make them bitter, and create lasting resentment against your side. And, as Patrick Henry said, it’s wrong to hold back opinions. So you shouldn’t and you shouldn’t try to get the other side to do so. Instead, stand for the free exchange of ideas.




On the other hand, if you are always aware that cancel culture is toxic and act with that in mind, you might have less fun “wrecking the libs” or “owning a lib,” but you will have more success in changing minds. And Republicans need to strive to change minds; we are losing the culture war because we are letting the left capture the minds of the youth. The solution to that is not to try to humiliate those young leftists. It is to talk to them and show them the obvious truths that we conservatives understand: Big Government leads to corruption, socialism is evil and regressive, communism killed millions of people, and progressivism does not lead to good outcomes.

Explaining those facts to them while also explaining why cancel culture is toxic might not change every leftist mind. But it might change some minds. And that should be our goal. Without winning the hearts and minds of young voters, conservatives will not win elections. Let’s change their minds and start winning elections again.

By: Gen Z Conservative


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