There is an interesting paradox in today’s politics in that those who are most often the targets of cancel culture are not themselves practitioners of the art.
Americans with right-of-center opinions simply do not switch to shutdown mode when confronted with opposing viewpoints. It is not the way we think, not the way we are wired and not the way we conceive of democratic debate.
But there is another, more pragmatic reason for conservatism’s lack of enthusiasm for censorship and cancelation: We could not pull it off if we had to. Think about it. Our friends on the left own the culture these days — especially the levers of power.
A brief review of the previous observation might keep you up tonight, but the truth is often painful. Indeed, conservative academics were last seen on the backs of milk cartons. Hollywood studios have been known to blacklist or simply fire right-leaning actors.
Public broadcasting has been a subsidiary of the left from the jump. Ditto for network and cable news networks (except Fox News and Newsmax).
More recently, professional sports leagues, Wall Street and a major sector of corporate America have joined in on the woke parade, while Silicon Valley has gone all-in on deplatforming the opposition.
Any conservative who nevertheless insists on a cancel approach would accordingly fail. I guess one could exist solely on Tucker Carlson, Chick-fil-A, Black Rifle coffee, college football, MyPillow bedsheets and Sly Stallone/Vince Vaughn/Dean Cain/Heather Locklear movies, but it would get old after a bit.
And so the question presents itself: How do we counter progressivism’s relentless assault on our sensibilities without the same pitiful democracy-destroying cancel-culture tactics?
A starting point for re-evaluation is charitable giving. Just about all of us possess a sense of pride in our alma maters. We accordingly send annual giving contributions as a tangible sign of support. But why not condition your gift on a philosophically diverse faculty?
Our uber-left colleges and universities have long had it both ways: They happily take your hard-earned money and then use it to subsidize professors and administrators who then systematically indict your parental values. It seems reasonable for the people who pay the bills to insist on at least some diversity of thought in the academy.
An equally important way to take a stand is to redirect your financial support to the many legal foundations in business to protect the First Amendment on campus.
Today, these organizations aim to remind undergraduates that Orwell’s “1984” was written as a cautionary tale about totalitarianism — not as a roadmap for progressives to relieve us of our freedoms.
Yet a third destination for your discretionary dollars is political campaigns. Just look at what a relatively few dollars are accomplishing in (of all places) California – where locked-down, demoralized citizens have collected the 1.5 million signatures required to force a recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Further down-ballot, there is no better place for your contributions than the campaign accounts of parent-candidates running to defeat progressive school board members — those who are far more interested in indoctrinating rather than educating your children.
And then there are the 2022 midterms, otherwise known as the next opportunity to send a message that we want our country back. At least three dozen House seats in marginal districts will be up for grabs.
Of course, there are limits to what can be accomplished in the short term.
None of these actions will get your children back to the classroom, reverse job losses from idled pipelines and oil and gas fields, unfreeze Texas windmills, stop illegal immigrant caravans from reaching our southern border, restore school choice, empower ICE agents, stop the momentum for a $15 minimum wage or delay the re-emergence of John Kerry — but they are a step in the right direction.
Time to get those checkbooks out.
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