One of the reasons there is a backlash against “cancel culture” is the outright dishonesty of many of its proponents. The people trolling for “sins” are not offended by foolish things done and said decades ago. They are looking for excuses to bash people who are their enemies right now. What makes it worse is when “conservatives” and “Republicans” jump on the bandwagon.
I logged onto Facebook last week to see this post on my news feed. Tucker Carlson needs to be fired from Fox News, according to Leftist activists. Is it because he said something egregious on his TV show? Nope. It is because he made a joke in his yearbook thirty years ago. Yes, Tucker Carlson was using his yearbook to feces-post thirty years ago, before the Internet made that behavior widespread.
We should not pretend anyone is legitimately “offended” by what Carlson said in 1991. No one is, including the people who are trying to get him fired. This is because people do not like what he says in 2021. That is fine: There are things you can point to on Carlson’s program that are bad. Just be honest and say that, instead of digging through yearbooks that are three decades old.
Beyond the dishonesty, this also represents another reason for the backlash against cancel culture: The mob will try to destroy your life and career over something you said decades ago. Everyone has said terrible things in their past. Do we really want to live in a world where foolish and offensive things we said decades ago will come back just because someone either has an axe to grind or because they feel like proclaiming their own righteousness by ritually denouncing someone for a decades-old offense?
While I expect this from the Left, it is much worse when “conservatives” and “Republicans” jump on the bandwagon – especially when they are also dishonest about it. The Republican National Committee tried to publicly shame Sheldon Whitehouse for allegedly belonging to a “racist” country club. But the facts do not match the attack. The club in question is not a whites-only club. They currently do not have any black members, but blacks are not prohibited from joining. It does not help Republicans to openly lie about such things. It actually hurts the party, and the RNC needs to knock it off.
We should stand against cancel culture. It is an oppressive, hyper-legalist cult that never has any room for grace, mercy or forgiveness. But if we are going to do this, we cannot be hypocrites.