Anyone who doesn’t have his head in the sand knows that the atmosphere in Anglo-American universities has changed dramatically over the last five years. Although certain topics have always been taboo, the threshold for what’s considered “problematic” has fallen considerably, and the number of scholars winding up cancelled has correspondingly risen. Yet until recently, anyone pointing this out was open to the charge that “the plural of anecdote is not data”. Critics would
The victims of cancel culture are also those who are afraid to speak about something and those who want to hear what they have to say.
I wonder what happens if the dynamic is the right mostly being for free speech for everyone (including the left) and the left being very eager to censor.
I would say that there is some speech that warrants cancellation and it could be that the left or right does that much more often. You wrote an article that spoke about a twitter account using the word "tribal" and facing backlash. This is absurd. We could count this as an example of public pushback. But there are also cases of warranted pushback. There have been cases going around of teachers in public schools teaching the students absurd things. One teacher had taken down the American flag in her classroom but given students the option to "pledge allegiance" to the LBGTQ+ flag. Some could argue that causing this teacher to face consequences is cancel culture. But what do we do to bring attention to indoctrination in our schools if we don't point it out and what a better way to point it out than show evidence of a teacher doing this?
We do have to have standards of decency and some things really should not be said. If a class is having a discussion and someone says they hate a group of people and wish they would die, then that person shouldn't be allowed in the discussion for obvious reasons. But it seems like a lot of the left treat comments like "I don't think transwomen are women" as expressions of hatred and wishing death on people. On the opposite side, the left will actually say pretty vicious things about groups of people, whites and men, and not face consequences. But when people want them to, the left can point to it as cancel culture and call the right hypocrites.