We all have a cancel culture.

Let me guess. You have some opinions on the vaccine, my man?
“So, I have before me a ten-year-old tweet I’d like to discuss.”
  • Calling the target’s speech literal “violence,” or that it makes them feel “unsafe.” Bad actors do this for a specific reason: First Amendment speech protections end at inciting violence. So if Matt Yglesias signing the same letter as the feared wizard lady is transformed into a literal incitement of violence against trans people, and a clear and present danger to the physical safety of Vox’s trans employees, then well, Matt Yglesias simply has to go. Yes, the people who pushed out Yglesias were lying and acting in bad faith. No, they did not care. They just needed another scalp.
  • “Hate speech is not free speech,” or some variant. The First Amendment begs to disagree. When people say this, they’re never targeting some white nationalist ranting about da joooz; rather, they’re always targeting someone holding milquetoast centrist positions, or who inadvertently says something that could be interpreted as prejudiced if you refuse to grant any benefit of the doubt. And on that note:
  • Automatically reverting to the least charitable interpretation of the target’s words. If I say “Macbeth and his wife then sank to the blackest of evil” or something in my English Lit class, and you then complain to the dean that I’m being racist to black people… then that says a hell of a lot more about your maliciousness than mine.
  • Dredging through old social media posts. If you’re getting someone fired for a racist tweet from 2012, you’re not actually getting them fired for their racist tweet from 2012. Something entirely different they said pissed you off, and like hell would you sit there and let them hold a differing viewpoint from your own — so you started searching their accounts for offensive key words to gleefully show the bosses. (Conservatives who are bad people are fond of this trick as well.)
  • Accusations of “cultural appropriation.” No actual Japanese person has ever been offended by Americans liking sushi or wearing a kimono; if anything, they like that part of their culture has been exported. Anyone “bravely” “speaking on their behalf” is motivated entirely by a keen desire to hurt people. Which is, you know, the opposite of helping people. On a similar tack, “only white people are capable of racism;” a rule that does make it a bit tough to explain, say, the Rape of Nanking.
  • Cancelling groups merely for being Jewish, on behalf of the oppressed Palestinians. Not that they’re anti-Semitic, of course. And not that they would ever give a damn about the Muslim Uyghurs of China, who have it 100x worse than the Palestinians even if you believe every last blood libel in every last ragged zine dedicated to the eradication of the globe’s only Jewish state. Imagine kicking out a Chinese-American student group for the crimes of PRC’s genocidal dictator, Xi Jinping — that is precisely what progressive anti-Semites do, and for far less justification.

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Physician in New York

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