Monday, September 25, 2023

Jonathan Kay: The main victims of progressive ‘cancel culture’ are progressives themselves

What they truly fear is the symbolic effect of a heretic speaking freely in a space seen as traditionally controlled by dogmatists

In the many op-ed denunciations of cancel culture that get churned out (of which I suppose this is one), a common theme is that we’ve all become too quick to take “offence.” But having spent the last few years interviewing cancel-culture victims, from Steven Galloway to Meghan Murphy to James Damore, I can attest that the real driver of mob-run silencing campaigns isn’t “offence.” It’s a desire to demonstrate power. When a heretic’s agonies (and eventual confessions) play out on a public medium such as Twitter, the spectacle serves to warn other thought criminals. It’s all about offering a show of force “pour encourager les autres” (as Voltaire once put it).

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