Government Can’t Solve our Cancel Culture Problem

KIEV, UKRAINE - 2020/10/29: In this photo illustration, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seen on a mobile screen as he remotely testifies during the hearing of U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation titled "Does Section 230's Sweeping Immunity Enable Big Tech Bad Behavior?" on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the United States. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Conchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Pavlo Conchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Make no mistake. “Cancel culture” isn’t just a catchy phrase, it’s a serious threat to our republic. Those with a platform, like Congressman Jim Jordan, deserve credit for calling attention to the danger of mob tactics being used to suppress free speech in our country. But while exposing the problem is helpful, the government can’t fix it.

After all, politics isn’t upstream from culture — it’s downstream.

Not only is it impossible to use the force of government to stop Twitter mobs from pressuring businesses to obey their demands, the use of such governmental power to heavily regulate social media could result in disastrous consequences. For instance, can you imagine what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Nancy Pelosi would do if they had full control over online speech?

There is a role for government in this fight, but not in Washington, D.C. Republicans still hold a historically high number of governor’s mansions and state legislatures, and it is state governments who can best use the power of the purse to clearly reject any attempts to curtail the First Amendment.

They can do this in two ways. First, elected officials can hold state-run universities accountable. Canceling speakers and imposing bans on unpopular ideas should come with the risk of losing public funding. Politicians should not stand idle while our nation’s centers of learning become centers of progressive indoctrination.

The second way state governments can combat “cancel culture” is by hitting the main culprits — Big Tech — in the pocketbooks. 

The biggest spender in American commerce is the government. As a result, state and local governments should divest in any Big Tech stock. They must also stop spending our tax dollars on Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, and stop using Amazon Web Services.

Florida is leading the way in this fight. State Rep. Randy Fine recently sent a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis asking him to start the divestment process. But ultimately, this battle will need to be fought not in Washington or in state legislatures but in the culture itself. The most influential political voices in our society no longer reside in politics — or journalism for that matter. The fact is that the most powerful political voices are coming out of Hollywood, professional sports, music, comedy, fashion and other areas of our culture. Taylor Swift can have a larger societal impact with one Tweet than an entire political campaign driving millions of dollars in advertising spending. 

Essentially, this makes athletes, actors, and social media figures the most influential in American society. For better or for worse, they control American culture.

They’re also happy to exercise that power. If we’re going to reverse the “cancel culture,” the rest of  us — the little guys — need to speak out and stand firm. The Left dominates because we let them. We self-censor and even apologize for offending. Laws and politicians can’t fix this problem for us.

First, employers must stop caving to cyber bullies, and celebrities must stop apologizing. There is nothing to be gained from confessing your social-justice misdeeds. These bullies will still hate you no matter what empty platitudes you offer them. Apologizing to the mob simply empowers them. 

Second, conservatives and libertarians must speak out against the left-wing fascists whenever and wherever they speak — including on social media. The growing trend of conservatives proudly deleting their Facebook and Twitter accounts is a self-inflicted wound. I can assure you that Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg will not lose any sleep when we quit their platforms. To the contrary, it’s exactly what they want. Instead, use their platforms against them as much as you can.

All of this is uncomfortable and hard. You will be called hateful, intolerant and bigoted. You will be socially ostracized and even punished by a few, there’s simply no reason for the “silent majority” to remain silent when the future of our nation is at stake. The culture wars won’t be won by politicians, but rather by ordinary Americans who are empowered to speak their minds.

Speak yours, loudly and proudly. 

Adam Guillette is the President of Accuracy in Media.

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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