Two weeks ago, coffee chain Strange Brew found themselves in hot water when their company was threatened with boycotts and harassment online following the termination of one of the chain's employees. The employee had eaten a pastry during her shift and had forgotten to pay for the product before leaving. Upon realizing her mistake, she apologized and vowed to return to reimburse the company, but by that point it was too late and she was fired from her position. After the word got out about her termination, the mob rallied to her defense in an effort to punish Strange Brew for their actions and make right the wrongs done to the employee by hurting the company in the only place it matters to them— their wallets.
From a strictly economic perspective, there is no issue. Every company is forced to make complex decisions and the forces of the free market will adjust accordingly as a consequence. Consumers vote with their dollars, rewarding business models which enrich society as a whole and punishing those that do not, which is how an economy left to its own devices is supposed to work. Unfortunately, we are not confronting a strictly economic issue. Instead we are waging war in American culture, and it is being weaponized.
Cancel culture, as it has come to be known, is the cancerous idea which gives the mob the right to bludgeon an individual, business, piece of media and a host of other aspects into political submission for expressing a contrary opinion or seemingly dangerous thought. What immediately follows is expulsion from polite society and a total ruination of the victim, and unfortunately the mob is succeeding in their mission. They are coming for all of us. We need to re-empower the pariahs of cancel culture and restore the level playing field in the arena of ideas.
Cancel culture at its very core is a mobilization effort wielded as a political club in order to suppress the views of the canceled victim. This is the fundamental controversy associated with cancel culture. It is an un-American idea which denies an equal voice inside of the cultural sphere opposed to letting ideas speak on their own merit. Danielle Kurtzleben at NPR writes, "What one person might see as being canceled for controversial statements, another might see as being held accountable for offensive or harmful views." Either way, the issue is problematic. Culture holds individuals to unrealistic standards as angels and threatens social condemnation should these impossible standards not be maintained. Culture assigns a predominant opinion to society and any deviation is other-ized and must be obliterated for the common good.
But that raises another question, what grave sins did these societal villains commit to make them worthy of being destroyed? Gina Carano for example, former star on the hit Disney+ show "The Mandalorian," committed the ultimate crime of being a conservative in Hollywood. Two days after the 2020 presidential election, Carano tweeted about a need for voter reform in the coming elections, so we do not have a contentious result. Carano called for laws against voter fraud, filmed counting of the votes and requiring voter ID, which are mainstream conservative principles.
As a result, according to Peter Suciu of Forbes, The Walt Disney Co. pulled her upcoming series, fired her from all future production of "The Mandalorian," the action figures of her character Cara Dune were recalled by Hasbro and Lucasfilm has pulled the press she did for the series. All of this because she refused to apologize for her beliefs. Gina Carano showed a tremendous amount of courage by standing up for her beliefs instead of bowing to the mob and sacrificing her principles for popularity in order to salvage as much societal credit as possible.
Carano is simply one of many examples, but a particularly extreme one demonstrates even in death people cannot escape cancellation. Dr. Seuss, a prolific children's author beloved by millions, had six of his books dubbed as offensive because, according to Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth A. Harris of the New York Times, the books "portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong." Among these six dangerous titles are terrifying pieces of racist indoctrination such as "If I Ran the Zoo," and "And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street." Alter and Harris continue by quoting a children's book scholar who says this banning of Seuss' books will cause people to rethink the legacy of Dr. Seuss, and that is a good thing.
Destroying all historical significance of another person in the past all for the sake of sparing the sensibilities of people in a modern context is a slippery slope which will spell disaster for the American culture. Instead we must re-institute the principles of debate by not condemning those with whom we disagree, lest we all may be canceled and forced to grovel to the whims of the relentless mob.