Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) didn’t hold back during a recent conversation about cancel culture. In an interview on Fox News, she compared those who promote the societal phenomenon to radical Islamic terrorists in how they deal with opposing ideas.
During an interview with Fox News host Trey Gowdy, the former lawmaker explained the contrast between those who value free expression and those who promote cancel culture. She said:
“When you look at the foundation of our democracy, it is based on this ideal, this principle of freedom, freedom of speech, freedom for every single one of us to be able to share our ideas and debate them, to argue them, to agree or to disagree, to pick and choose in this marketplace of ideas, those that we deem to be right or wrong to be superior or inferior and even for those ideas that may be misleading or dangerous, that in this free marketplace, we have the right to then defeat those ideas with superior ones.”
She continued, noting that cancel culture is the antithesis of the idea of freedom.
“Cancel culture is the opposite of this, it is exactly the opposite of this foundational principle of our democracy,” Gabbard said. “It means that in a cancel culture, you have some people who believe that they are special, that they are superior, that they have the power to be able to shut down those who have ideas and views that are different, who may follow a path that they deem to be the wrong path and will therefore say, ‘No, we’re going to place obstacles in front of you, we’re going to silence certain voices, so that only those who agree with us and the path that we deem to be right as the one that is before you to choose.’”
Gabbard then suggested that the extreme outcome of cancel culture resembles that of radical Islamic terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. “So, let’s look down the path and say, ‘Okay, well, where does this cancel culture lead us?’ You see the final expression of cancel culture in Islamist terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda who basically go and behead those who … they deem to be infidels or heretics in order to silence them in order to protect others from being misled by those heretical ideas and in the eyes of an ISIS or Al Qaeda.”
The former lawmaker then concluded:
“And so when we look at cancel culture here at home, we see those efforts to cancel or silence those that … they don’t want the people to hear from, those who may offer a different idea than the one that those in power want people to see or to hear, or to be exposed to. And so this is, when we look at the foundations of our democracy, this is the danger of where this path leads us. Unless we as individuals stand up against it.”
It will be quite the shock if the left and activist media do not pounce on Gabbard’s comments, claiming she is saying those who promote cancel culture are “literally ISIS.” But her statements are instructive, nonetheless.
Gabbard was obviously not asserting that those on the left who embrace cancel culture are just like violent terrorists. She was simply pointing out similarities between the two. Radical extremists in general are not tolerant of opposing viewpoints being expressed. They typically do not respond to other opinions with conversation and debate; they just shut all disagreement.
The far-left, with their penchant for punishing those with whom they disagree, are engaging in similar, albeit far less deadly, conduct. They will not go so far as to behead someone for disagreeing with them. But as you can see in the case of Gina Carano, they are comfortable with attacking their livelihoods. They will not hesitate to get people fired, or to otherwise financially harm them, if they happen to have made questionable remarks in the past, or if they even so much as read particular types of content. (See: Mumford and Sons Band Member Winston Marshall Makes the Biggest Mistake You Can In Today’s Climate)
The cancel culture crowd are essentially nothing more than bullies devoid of any real substance. The fact that they respond to political opposition with this type of retaliation shows a remarkable lack of confidence in their principles and ability to sell them. The only way to combat the societal cancer that is cancel culture is the same as with other bullies: You have to fight back.
There will be a time when cancel culture is rendered impotent. When conservatives and others who value the principles of free speech take away the means by which far-leftists attack them, it will result in a siloed, but possibly more freedom-inspiring, culture.
When conservatives build out their own empires made up of institutions the left can’t touch, they will not have to worry about offending the tender-headed mini-fascists on the far-left. If they can’t dominate industries like entertainment, banking, social media, and other important parts of society, their threats will be defanged.
We can already see the beginning of this with social media company Parler moving to a different hosting service. It is visible in The Daily Wire’s endeavor to create an entertainment platform with which the totalitarian left cannot interfere.
The bottom line is that the right will always find a way to subvert the left’s attempts to silence them. But at which point will conservatives move from being on the defense to taking the offense?