Scientists Defend Censorship and Cancel Culture as 'Recalibrating' American Society

Vincent Thian

It’s become almost trite. An automatic go-to, of sorts. That is, labeling every step “forward” the radical left takes as “Orwellian” — a reference to George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel, “1984.” Or in some cases, Ray Bradbury’s equally chilling “Fahrenheit 451.” Thing is, we’re watching both books unfold before our very eyes on a regular basis and the majority of us do little more than complain about it.

As the left’s grand effort to selectively erase or rewrite parts of history and exaggerate (lie about) others continues, the effort to justify censorship continues as well — all of it for the “common good,” of course.

Today’s offering couldn’t be starker. Under the misguided title, Words Matter: On the Debate over Free Speech, Inclusivity, and Academic Excellence, published on the NIH National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information site, ten prominent scientists holding faculty positions at some of the nation’s most prestigious universities defended censorship and cancel culture within academia.

This declaration pretty much says it all:

We advocate for speech that empowers the next generation of scientists to create a more just and equitable ─ and hence more excellent ─ scientific community.

Silly me. I’ve apparently operated for decades under the false premise that the primary function of scientists is to do science — instead of promoting false notions of “equity” and injustice as an antidote to justice that flies in the face of the left’s Marxist-derived narrative.

The scholars work at top schools, including Berkeley, Cornell, UC Merced, MIT, and UCSD, as College Fix reported. They were also joined by a program director from the National Science Foundation. In an indirect response to criticism that the current “intellectual climate” of higher education is totalitarian and Orwellian, the 10 coauthors began their commentary with a series of rhetorical questions:

What do we value as an academic and a scientific community?

Do our core values include only the pursuit of facts and inventions, to the exclusion of other considerations?

Or do we accept that scientists have a responsibility to serve society beyond simply expanding the knowledge base, and should therefore concern themselves (at least in part) with how their words and actions intersect and impact the human sphere?

My “rhetorical” answers: 1.) You don’t value what the academic and scientific communities have historically valued, by a mile. 2.) No. 3.) You incorrectly assume that you have a “responsibility to serve society” beyond expanding the knowledge base of science and scientific facts. Any other questions?

“The question that we address is whether inclusivity efforts generally constitute unreasonable censorship and political correctness,” they continued, “or whether they are instead manifestations of a long-overdue reckoning about values.” See: “Pretend-justification for jumping aboard the cancel culture and censorship train.”

Relying heavily on faux-academic word-salad groupspeak, the chemists defended the renaming of buildings, the removal of statues, Twitter mobs, censorship, and cancel culture in “modern” American society. And here’s my favorite part: They asserted that “all of the above” should not be viewed as censorship or cancel culture, but rather as “recalibration” and the “manifestation[s] of consequences culture.”

Again, see: “1984,” “Fahrenheit 451.”

The term ‘cancel culture’ has lately been twisted into an epithet that is used to discredit progressive policies. The practice of creating social distance from controversial or objectionable statements and actions is as old as society itself.

[Cancellation] is a way of calling out behavior seen as prejudiced or regressive. Almost all elements of society have adopted the strategy and tactics of ‘call-out culture’ perhaps best exemplified by the ‘#MeToo’ movement that worked to expose long-ignored misogyny.

The consistent fly in the left’s hypocritical argument is their condescending belief that they and they alone are the arbiters of “good” and “bad” — or “evil” — in every aspect of American society. Their word is absolute and it must not be challenged. Those who do so must be summarily ridiculed, dismissed out of hand, often accompanied by leftist-designated labels, or completely destroyed. Ironically, liberals live in glass houses without mirrors. 

“Scientists have an obligation,” the scientists claimed, “to consider how the totality of their words and activities impacts the full range of stakeholders in the scientific enterprise: colleagues, trainees, institutions, and society.”

We ask those who argue in favor of unbridled free speech to appreciate that science, politics, and prejudices (old and new) are never really disconnected. We advocate for speech that empowers the next generation of scientists to create a more just and equitable ─ and hence more excellent ─ scientific community.

Uh-huh. Just like the left’s definition of inclusion.