Is Cancel Culture Being Canceled?

Jun 19, 2024 / Written by: Gary Isbell

Cancel culture, once a dominant force on social media and public discourse, is now showing serious signs of wear.

This trend involves calling out and boycotting individuals or organizations for perceived wrongdoings. It is losing its grip on the collective consciousness.

Public opinion has long understood that grave social evils must be called out and suppressed. However, the left seeks to cancel any and everything that opposes the unbridled liberty to gratify passions and foment class struggle. People have grown weary of this practice.

Public Opinion is Tired of Polarization

Leftists relish polarization, strife and conflict because it is consistent with a philosophy that divides society into the oppressors and the oppressed.

Cancel culture serves as a tool to aid in the destruction of “oppressive” structures like the family, Christian traditions and the free market. Many now recognize that cancel culture often leads to unwarranted attacks and long-lasting damage upon society rather than fostering constructive change. This awareness prompts a rejection of the emotional frenzy that erupts when anyone disagrees with liberal talking points.

Indeed, cancel culture has thrived on creating stark divisions without any reference to a moral compass that defines good and evil, reality and fantasy or objectivity and subjectivity. Everything is relative, and each person defines truth, goodness and beauty. This thinking divides society and makes fact-based, logical and intelligent debates impossible.

Recent studies reveal that constant outrage and divisiveness in the media is causing public fatigue. Most Americans believe that cancel culture leads to a more polarized society.

Logical Debate is Gaining Popularity

Instead of embracing the cancel culture, more people are calling for a rational response to the frenzy. They recognize that irrational boycotts or public shaming cannot resolve complex social issues. This shift is evident in the rise of platforms and forums encouraging open dialogue and constructive criticism based on principles and facts.

For example, podcasts and YouTube channels that explore all aspects of controversial topics are gaining traction. These platforms prioritize understanding and facts over feelings and rash judgments. This trend reflects a move away from cancel culture’s emotional approach based on liberal maxims.

The Leftist Roots of Cancel Culture

Cancel culture is associated with leftist ideologies that celebrate struggle as a means to promote social justice and equality. They also believe the end justifies the means. Such methods cause grave concerns about transparency, fairness and due process. Opposition should be based on moral law and principles rather than canceling tactics that use intimidation and even violence.

The Emotional Appeal

Indeed, leftists are adept at creating emotional scenarios that drive sectors of public opinion to cancel someone or something based on feelings. Taking advantage of social media platforms and utilizing the power of viral content, they craft narratives that resonate emotionally, swiftly mobilizing public sentiment for or against a target. This ability to generate outrage can lead to significant social pressure, sometimes resulting in an individual or organization’s swift “cancellation” or even bankruptcy.

Such emotionally charged campaigns can also lead to pushback. The initial frenzy to cancel something often results in disproportionate and unjust outcomes. As the dust settles, the public might recognize this injustice and even manifest support for the victim.

A chief criticism of cancel culture is its disregard for due process. Individuals are often deemed guilty without being allowed to defend themselves. This approach violates a fundamental premise of justice by not allowing audi alteram partem (letting the other side be heard).

Cancel culture’s aggressive tactics can also alienate potential allies. Instead of fostering a broad coalition to address social issues, cancel culture creates an environment of fear and mistrust.

People are less likely to engage in meaningful discussions or support controversial causes if they fear being canceled. A prime example of this occurs in universities. Higher education is supposed to encourage logical debates using facts, reason and principles a priori. However, one must tow the woke line or be ostracized and persecuted for disagreeing with the mob.

Inconsistent Standards

Cancel culture often applies two weights and two measures. High-profile figures with significant social capital may avoid cancellation, while others with less influence face severe consequences for lesser actions. This inconsistency undermines cancel culture’s credibility and exposes it as a tool for advancing specific agendas rather than promoting universal principles of justice for the common good.

Performative Activism

Cancel Culture encourages activism as an exercise of social posturing to gain status rather than genuine dedication to a cause. Many individuals and organizations cancel others to appear virtuous or socially conscious without making meaningful contributions to the causes they defend. This aspect dilutes the impact of genuine activism and shifts the focus from substantive change to superficial displays of outrage.

All these factors are contributing to cancel culture’s waning influence. Social activists have failed to embrace more constructive forms of accountability that prioritize the practice of virtue, the development of true culture and justice. Instead, they have succeeded in alienating public opinion. While cancel culture functions devoid of God’s law, logic and reason, it is not surprising that it has become another worn-out liberal tool.