One evening this week, I was rereading Lord Byron’s great poem “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage,” and came upon a startlingly accurate description of Cancel Culture. Writing in the early 1800s, Byron describes a civilization that has ceased to search for truth but weighs everything in “custom’s falsest scale”:
“Opinion an omnipotence, whose veil
Mantles the earth with darkness, until right
And wrong are accidents, and men grow pale
Lest their own judgments should become too bright,
And their free thoughts be crimes, and earth have too much light.”
Now, yes, I know I can’t enlist Byron — who used to refer to the more conservative William Wordsworth as ‘Turdsworth’ — as a spokesman for conservatism. But in this moment when the left insists that all disagreement with their orthodoxies equals bigotry and evil, when speaking simple truths like “a man is not a woman” can cost you your reputation or your job, who can fail to recognize a world in which “men grow pale lest their own judgments should become too bright and their free thoughts be crimes”?
This week alone, the left renewed its attempts to vilify the Oscar-nominated film Joker as somehow racist, which it’s not. When a Bible that was used to swear in commanders of the new Space Force was blessed in a ceremony at Washington National Cathedral, an anti-religious group called the blessing a “shocking and repulsive display of only the most vile, exclusivist, fundamentalist Christian supremacy, dominance, triumphalism and exceptionalism.” Even Stephen King, one of our great storytellers and a reliable anti-Trump leftist, was attacked when he said he would “never consider diversity in matters of art” but would only judge it by its quality.
These attacks are relentless and can often be costly. Writer Chadwick Moore, a gay former liberal, says he has been repeatedly banned from Facebook for not towing the homo-leftist line. His latest thirty day expulsion was for posting an article he wrote entitled “Rednecks Are the Least Racist People in America,” based on his own experiences bolstered by research by Thomas Sowell and historian Colin Woodard.
And much worse. In Australia, a young gay conservative who protested Drag Queen Story Hour at a library in Brisbane, committed suicide after being viciously defamed by the so-called LGBTQ Community.
Conservatives tend to treat the fight against such leftist bullying as a side skirmish compared to such major battles as who wins the 12th district in Ohio. They may roll their eyes and tweet their tweets — but at the same time, they teach themselves to watch their words lest they lose their social media platforms or their sponsors or their jobs.
Which, of course, is the whole point. In order to funnel power away from the individual and into the central government, the left is selling a utopian fantasy based on utterly false ideas of human nature and human enterprise. The greatest danger to that fantasy is any expression of the simple truth. Silencing that expression is what political correctness and Cancel Culture are for.
And any conservative who thinks the political fight to save the country from leftism can be won without confronting those devices is an idiot. The fight against Cancel Culture is not a side skirmish. It’s not even a major battle. It’s the war.
In the first two weeks of this year, President Trump eradicated a major terrorist, faced down the evil regime in Iran, made a new trade deal with China and had the new NAFTA-style deal ratified in a bi-partisan vote — all while the economy soared to new heights and low- and middle- class workers of all races saw their wages finally begin to rise. Indeed, lower income households have seen their net worth increase by 47 percent since the president took office.
And yet, the RealClear Politics polling average has Trump’s approval rating at 44.3 percent. About half the people want to see him impeached and removed from office.
Well, why not? Trump is himself the victim-in-chief of Cancel Culture. He is repeatedly and relentlessly portrayed as racist, sexist and otherwise phobic by a news media that gives him 93% negative coverage, according to the Media Research Center. The stone lie that he said there were “very fine people” among white supremacists continues to be shamelessly repeated — this week by the New York Times’ Charles Blow. And Democrat candidate after candidate declares the American economy serves only the rich, unchallenged by their poodle press.
If we cave in to leftist bullying, if the relentless political correctness of social media and the press goes unchallenged and Cancel Culture thrives because “men grow pale lest their own judgments should become too bright, and their free thoughts be crimes,” then the American public will ultimately follow a leftist fantasy straight into leftist reality, which is another name for hell.