The attacks come out of nowhere, and the damage they cause can be devastating. Anonymous online mobs are policing our speech, crushing our rights and sometimes even threatening our physical well-being. Cancel culture is a toxic trend that is fueling a society that is fast beingcontrolled by online censorship.
Cancel culture in simple terms is a practice that is powered by a morally absolute mob that exacts vengeance on a perceived transgressor. The punishment is disproportionate to the “crime.”
The silencing of those whose views differ from yours is inherently un-American because it interferes with the free marketplace of ideas.
Yet others view cancel culture favorably, seeing it as an overdue means of holding people publicly accountable for injustices, prejudices and other slights and exploitations that are viewed as unacceptable.
Cancel culture is talked about with increasing frequency in the media because it is a topic that touches business, politics, music, entertainment, and other areas of daily life. Cancel culture creates an environment of fear, knowing that your behaviors, perspectives, actions, or ideas can be seized upon by a group of people whose sole mission is to cause destruction.
The Left tends to downplay the effect of cancel culture and denies that it is really a problem. The Right tends to use cancel culture as a political weapon and decries it as a creation of the “woke” Left.
However, it is important to note that the effect cancel culture can have on an ordinary person who makes a genuine mistake can be life-altering, because cancel culture is inflexible, final and merciless.
One of the biggest problems is that cancel culture does not allow for nuance. Online mobs attack without regard to whether their claims are true, false or exaggerated. Their targets have no warning to prepare a defense and typically find themselves under siege from hordes of anonymous accusers who escalate the matter at lightning speed. The downside for the online mob is practically nonexistent.
Most online attackers are never identified, and subsequently never face any consequences.
These vicious attacks violate the principles of free speech and democracy and are difficult to defend against because they are usually cloaked in anonymity. The fallout from these targeted attacks can be extreme: their targets may be harassed online and in person, can have their personal information published online, and their personal and professional lives invaded, with some targets losing their jobs or losing business. On the other hand, attacks aimed at the rich and famous often have little negative effect except to provide those well-heeled targets with even bigger platforms for their loyal fanbases.
The opposite side of the cancel culture argument regards this phenomenon as an effective way to mete out justice and even the playing field by holding people publicly accountable who never seem to face consequences. The “pro” cancel culture crowd views canceling as the next organic step to boycotting a product or publicly shaming someone for their views or actions.
Those on the Left tend to view canceling someone as a way to hold them accountable. They believe it to be democratic in its essence with regular citizens doing what they can to make sure the rich and powerful take responsibility for their actions. Canceling is also viewed as an effective way to defend those who have been marginalized, such as people from the LGBTQ or trans community.
Those on the Right tend to brush off scandals involving a conservative as the result of a so-called cancel culture campaign. They believe cancel culture is a natural successor to political correctness run amok and activated by the liberal media and leftist elites.
In truth, cancel culture causes more problems than it solves. It can be abused to justify personal agendas and weaponized for political purposes. It is a form of vigilante justice meted out by an anonymous online mob. Be aware.