One of the main functions of the Spanish Inquisition was to give those in power an opportunity to denounce and shut down their political enemies. Today’s version of the Inquisition is “cancel culture,” designed by Democrats to shut down their Republican opponents.
The New York Post described the Left’s newest weapon as “the phenomenon of promoting the ‘canceling’ of people, brands and even shows and movies due to what some consider to be offensive or problematic remarks or ideologies.” Offensive to whom? In the case of cancel culture, the “whom” is made up of left-wing activists with little regard for free speech. Alan Dershowitz describes cancel culture as the greatest challenge and threat to free speech since the rise of McCarthyism.
Some of the more notorious examples of canceling are: Disney announced that they are censoring their own classic films such as “Dumbo” and “The Aristocats” because of alleged racist imagery. The Left attempted to cancel Dr. Seuss over allegedly harmful stereotypes depicted in his books. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was canceled for making what were perceived as anti-trans comments.
“For most of human history,” says Steven A. Hassan in Psychology Today, “shunning, ex-communication, and public humiliation have been used for social conformity.” What is different today? “This phenomenon has exploded due to social media’s amplifying powers,” says Dino Sossi in theconversation.com. Thanks to social media, anyone can be canceled in a matter of hours. “Social media has given rise to a particularly virulent form of mob justice that is degrading our mental health,” writes Lily Silverton in Vogue. “One of the biggest mental health risks of online cancelling is the ‘pile on’ – the fact that within minutes a person could be verbally attacked by thousands of people. For anyone watching, there’s the feeling you could easily be next.”
You can be fired from your job and lose the ability to earn a living simply because someone decides to call you out. In such a case, as Professor Dershowitz has pointed out, it resembles the blacklisting that occurred during the McCarthy period. “Cancelling is not actually about morality; it is about dominance,” says Silverton. “It’s not an attempt to help you be a better person or see a genuine error. It’s an attempt to control you.”
The Left has fired back at critics of cancel culture by attempting to divert blame to the Right. “Republicans have for a long time used the phrase ‘cancel culture’ to criticize the left,” said Danielle Kurtzleben at npr.com. “A new phenomenon has emerged: the weaponization of cancel culture by the right,” according to Aja Romano at vox.com. The absurdity of blaming the Right is what the Democrats are really good at—accusing you of what they are doing.
Another defense is offered by Kurtzleben: “What one person might see as being canceled for controversial statements,” she said, “another might see as being held accountable for offensive or harmful views.” In other words, cancel culture is being held up as a productive tool.
According to Pew Research Center, “There are plenty of debates over whether it’s a way to hold people accountable, or a tactic to punish others unjustly, or a mix of both.” To allege that cancel culture is a justifiable technique for holding people accountable is to argue that being burned at the stake during the Spanish Inquisition was a useful social practice. Whether you are taking away someone’s livelihood or burning them at the stake, the intent is unquestionably punitive.
Comparing cancel culture with the Spanish Inquisition is not difficult to do. Seattle has inaugurated a racial inquisition aimed at canceling a specific type of people. White people. The city’s Office of Civil Rights is holding a segregated training session for white city employees that will train them to “undo their whiteness” and affirm their “complicity in racism.” Sadly, Seattle did not invent the racial inquisition.
Schools across the country, reports Tucker Carlson, are forcing adolescent children to confess that they are flawed if they happen to be white. Students are given a privilege test that identifies them for being white or rich or having an intact family. If this is not an inquisition, what is?
The privilege test is a manifestation of identity politics described by Scott Greer in No Campus for White Men as “bordering on an outright hatred for white people, especially white men.” Greer has exposed similar racial indoctrination training forced by many colleges on white freshmen. An example is the “Whiteness” conference at the University of Michigan designed to help white students confess their alleged privilege. The purpose, says Greer, is to make whites feel badly about their skin color.
Destroying a person’s ability to function just because you dislike their politics or their skin color is something that we ought to condemn. When the inquisition becomes part of American life, it will be a victory for Marxist revolutionaries and a fatal loss for Americans.