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Among those on the Left, I’ve seen a great deal of dismissal over conservative concern over cancel culture, deeming the worry “elitist.” Only comedians and journalists are being canceled, so why is the average conservative so up-in-arms about the widening practice?
It’s an interesting argument, and one I’ve spent the day chewing over. I’m not personally concerned about “getting canceled,” because there’s no way to cancel a conservative writer and homeschooling mother. That doesn’t mean I won’t stop decrying cancel culture, because the mob’s bell could come for any of us. But for many other conservatives working out in the world, “cancellation” is a concern, though it looks far different.
One of my favorite Twitter follows, @PoliticalMath, recently locked his Twitter account. I can’t post his tweets here, because the account is locked, but I will copy and paste one of his last tweets explaining why he won’t be nearly as active on Twitter, and why the only Twitter users able to see his tweets are people who were already following:
Well… this is fun. A couple days after I wrote my piece about how conservatives don’t want to speak up due to severe repercussions in the workplace, my Meetup account got flagged for “abusive behavior”. And now I can’t register for professional events that I need for my job.
This could very well be a coincidence. An amazingly ironic coincidence that falls exactly in line with the actual malice I’ve experienced previously. And guess what: It’s going to work.
If I have to make a choice between talking about politics under a pseudonym and being able to do my job, I’m going to pick my job. Sure would be nice if there was some kind of legislation or regulation out there to protect me. Oh well! Sucks to be me!
Alright, looks like another one of my professional accounts is getting reported for abuse so I’m out. I’ll probably be back after we get our big product out, this is just too much distraction at this point. Have fun, y’all.
This is what “cancellation” looks like for the average Joe: intimidation. He linked to a piece he wrote recently about the topic, where he argues
Last week, David French issued a call to courage, urging conservatives to stand up for their beliefs even at the risk of falling victim to the PC mob. In response I noted that for “regular” folks — those with normal jobs and friends to lose — the risk of speaking out far exceeds the benefit…
Most of us, liberals and conservatives alike, just want to do good work. We don’t want to talk politics at work. We don’t want to alienate people. We don’t want to be the annoying in-law at Thanksgiving, ready with 15 hard-hitting talking points to take down the other side.
To give a more concrete example: What should we do about our companies’ increasingly annoying “diversity” initiatives? Just practically speaking, what would be the forum for that? The company Slack? Random emails to colleagues? Should we stand up at the company meeting to interrupt the HR manager in the middle of her presentation to voice our concerns? Should we object to the company’s Pride events, noting that our Muslim and Christian colleagues tend to get awfully quiet when these things roll around?
There is something about disrupting the workplace in this way that is deeply anti-conservative. We don’t want to pick battles that mark us as trouble employees. The time might come to fight those important battles, and we should make sure we’re fighting the ones we win or the ones we can’t avoid. Otherwise, we’ll be long gone before we get to fight them.
Conservatives aren’t just concerned about cancel culture because of the possibility that the bell may toll for us, but because we know that the bells toll in very different ways for conservatives and liberals. Take, for example,
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) September 18, 2019
Both of these Times writers have apologized for their past racist tweets and kept their jobs. So have others at the Times; there are no consequences for being racist, but only for liberals. Meanwhile, a $1,000 to a political cause that won (Mozilla’s CEO Brendan Eich, Prop 8 in California) can cost you everything. Which is precisely why conservatives won’t let “cancel culture” go unchecked.