Actor Matthew McConaughey has not backed down from his cautious warnings about the political extremes dividing America, especially illiberal leftists.
During an appearance on “Good Morning Britain,” McConaughey expanded on his recent comments to Russell Brand earlier this month when he criticized conservatives for believing in “fake news,” and criticized leftists for treating their opponents with disdain and disrespect.
“You need liberals. What I don’t think we need is the illiberals. And what I don’t think that some liberals see is that they’re often being cannibalized by the illiberals,” McConaughey said. “Now there are extremes on both sides that I think are unfair, that I don’t think are the right place to be. The extreme left and the extreme right completely illegitimize the other side, the liberal and conservative side, which we need in certain places. The two extremes illgeitimze those two sides. Or they exaggerate that side’s stance into an irrational state that makes no sense and that’s not fair when either side does that.”
McConaughey then spoke about cancel culture and what it could mean for our society in the coming future.
“Where the waterline is going to land on this freedom of speech and what we allow and what we don’t and where this cancel culture goes, where that waterline lands is a very interesting place that we are engaged in right now as a society that we’re trying to figure out because we haven’t found the right spot,” he said.
Though McConaughey dislikes heated discourse, he said he still believed in the concept of confrontation, which he argued that cancel culture disallows by dismissing everything about the other side.
“You’ve got to have confrontation to have unity. That’s when a democracy works really well,” he said. “I would argue we don’t have true confrontation right now, confrontation that gives some validation and legitimizes the opposing point of view. We don’t give a legitimacy or validation to an opposing point of view, we make it persona non grata, and that’s unconstitutional.”
McConaughey’s comments about cancel culture echo what comedian Ricky Gervais said recently when he differentiated between canceling someone via mob rule and holding them accountable.
“The misunderstanding about cancel culture is some people think you should be able to say anything you want without consequences and that’s not true because we’re members of society and people are allowed to criticize you,” he said during an episode of the podcast “SmartLess.” “They’re allowed to not buy your things, they’re allowed to burn your DVDs and they’re allowed to turn the telly off. What they’re not allowed to do is to bully other people into not going to see you.”
The creator of U.K.’s “The Office” said that Twitter and social media has largely been the driving force behind this, noting that people can file complaints at rapid speed now and likening it to a kind of “road rage.”
“Some of it’s down to politics. Some of it’s down to social media,” he said. “It’s way too fast. Twenty years ago, if you were offended by someone on television you got a pen and paper and you went, ‘Dear BBC…’ Now you fire off a tweet and that tweet goes on the f***ing news.”