On Tuesday’s episode of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” the Daily Wire editor-in-chief talks about a freelance writer who published a column in The Washington Post critical of people who are against “Cancel Culture.” Video and partial transcript below:
[There’s a person, Aaron Freedman], writing for The Washington Post, who says “Critics of ‘Cancel Culture’ really just hate democracy.” So in other words, if you oppose the Cancel Culture — which [doesn’t attempt to say], I’m not going to go see the show, or I’m not gonna listen to the show, or I’m not gonna listen to this website or something. …
It’s not about that, it’s really more about, “Are you going to go after people’s advertisers and livelihood?” The answer for that on the Left is a resounding “Yes.” They want to do that. Cancel Culture is not about [saying], “You know what, I don’t like what Louis CK did so I’m not going to the show anymore, and maybe other people shouldn’t go to this show.” It’s not about that. It’s about [saying] if you go to Louis CK’s show, I won’t have dinner with you. If you go to Louis CK’s show, this makes you a bad person. If you listen to that Dave Chappelle special — man, no one should listen to Dave Chappelle, and Netflix should be ashamed for even green-lighting [it].
It’s about the lower-downs at Netflix going to their boss and being like, “How could you possibly green-light that Dave Chappelle special?” Probably shouldn’t do it next time. Cancel Culture is about canceling, it’s not about you not wanting to participate in patronage of some artist. Everybody does that all the time. That is merely called … making a decision. We do that every single day. There are certain things I like to watch, certain things you like to watch, and they may not match. Cancel Culture is about the mobilization of fake [Twitter] armies, who don’t actually care about these issues, to bother people in order to ruin their businesses simply because you don’t like what they have to say. But Aaron Freedman says, No, this is called democracy.
There’s some pretty funny aspects of this particular column. He says
But cancel culture is best understood through its critics, from social media pundits such as Ben Shapiro and Claire Lehmann to a growing chorus of mainstream writers like Barry Weiss and Bret Stephens. There you’ll find a familiar line of argument: Once upon a time, Americans tolerated, and even embraced, uncomfortable views and ‘problematic’ people. But, now, when someone is ratioed on Twitter or protested at a panel discussion or booed during a comedy set, it supposedly offers evidence that people are afraid of ideas that challenge them. In casting out those they disagree with, cancel culture’s critics argue, the public is excluding the very ideas it needs most.
Strip away this intellectual gauze and the critics of cancel culture have a pretty simple argument, as Yascha Monk recently endorsed in the Atlantic: ‘If everyone always agrees with you, you’re doing it wrong.’ In other words, don’t trust your own opinions! Unless you reflexively heed those who you dislike, no matter how good reason you have for shunning them, you’re doomed to live as an intellectual sheep.
This sentiment is more than just petty contrarianism. Apply it in the real world, and it becomes clear that contempt for cancel culture is little more than contempt for democracy.
So just to get this straight, according to this columnist for The Washington Post, if I take the position [that] you shouldn’t be so sure of your own opinion, and you should listen to other people’s opinions, that’s called contempt for democracy. If I say that you should patronize whatever business you want, but it is an act of bad to try and destroy somebody’s livelihood based on you disagreeing with them, that is contempt for democracy. Democracy, you see, can only work if you try to mobilize people to destroy your neighbor’s business. That’s how democracy is supposed to work, according to this columnist for The Washington Post.
By the way, I would venture to guess that many of the mainstream Democratic presidential candidates agree with this. This columnist says, “While our society rightly values protest and free expression, the critics of cancel culture turn this virtue into a vise, contemptuously dismissing those who collectively express their disapproval.”
No, if you want to collectively express your disapproval, I have — by the way, if you go to my lectures, I have overtly thanked protesters who come to my protest, who come to my lectures and said they’re expressing their freedom of speech. They may be wrong, I may think they’re stupid, but they’re expressing their freedom of speech, good for them. That’s not the problem. The problem is when you fake an outrage wave and then go after someone to ruin their career. Protest as much as you want, say you don’t want people listening to my show as much as you want, [but] going after advertisers who have nothing to do with the show other than they want access to audiences. [Going] after my audience and call them a bunch of alt-right white supremacists, [and] suggest I should be taken off the air, that’s a different thing. That’s Cancel Culture, and that’s what so many people are kicking back against.
That’s where Trump’s culture warrior status really benefits him, because all the Democrats had to do was not be crazy, and they just couldn’t do it. The ones who are not as crazy, like Joe Biden, who’s slightly less crazy than most of the other Democrats, are weak. So you got the crazy and you got the weak, and those are the people we are supposed to throw Trump over for? Why, because Trump doesn’t understand his way around the White House and blunders a lot, and stumbles into things like a bull in a china shop and says bad stuff on occasion?
I’m sorry, but no. I’m not turning over the levers of the most powerful government in the history of the world to people who actively want to destroy every priority I believe in because you have some qualms about President Trump saying bad stuff on Twitter.