It Isn’t Cancel Culture. It’s Capitalism and Personal Responsibility
In the wake of the assault on the Capitol on January 6, far-right media, social media, and Republican politicians are facing blowback from society and receiving much deserved blame.
The consequences of promoting conspiracy theories and giving a platform to those who incited the insurrection has often been referred to as “cancel culture” from far-right politicians and media. However, it was their actions that caused businesses to pull back on advertising, rethink financial deals, and retract opportunities.
Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley, who was the first Senator to announce that he planned to object to the certification of the Electoral College vote, recently had a book deal canceled by Simon & Schuster for his role in inciting the insurrection. In cancelling the book deal, Simon & Schuster stated that they “cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom.”
After the announcements from Simon & Schuster, Hawley wrote that “it’s time to stand up against the muzzling of America” and that “the cancel culture agenda will only succeed if we let it.”
Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz recently complained that “the cancel culture” was being “emboldened.” Gaetz was referring to an instance in which Wajahat Ali, a senior fellow at the Western States Center, asked why Fox News host Sean Hannity was still permitted to be on Twitter given that Hannity spread lies about election fraud. Ali’s question was in response to a tweet from Hannity calling people to join him and other right-wing personalities on Parler because Twitter was being hostile to right-wing users.
New York Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik has complained that she was “cancelled” when the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School announced that they had asked her to step aside from the senior advisory committee. In his statement, Doug Elmendorf, dean of the Kennedy School, said that Stefanik “made public assertions about voter fraud in November’s presidential election that have no basis in evidence, and she has made public statements about court actions related to the election that are incorrect.”
Many Trump supporters and Republicans became furious when the far-right social media app Parler was removed from both the Apple and Google app stores and then when Amazon followed suit and took Parler off its cloud services. Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich called these actions “a cancel culture mob.”
These companies point to the fact that the Parler platform was used to help organize the insurrection that took place at the Capitol as well as help spread lies about the election being stolen.
In the world of capitalism (once championed by Republicans and conservatives), Apple, Google, Amazon, and Twitter among others decided that it was no longer good business to support Parler or aid in spreading conspiracy theories so they made the decision to no longer allow Parler to use their services, or Trump to tweet in violation of Twitter’s terms of service.
Those on the right that are complaining about being “cancelled” need to realize that it’s capitalism in action. In a capitalistic society it’s the free markets and a businesses risk tolerance that drive decision making. If the market dictates that individuals and platforms are not good business then it’s the business’s right and duty to make a change if they want to continue to grow and prosper.
Furthermore, those on the right and in the Republican Party are now being held accountable for their actions and words, something that the GOP and the right have strayed from because up until 2016 personable accountability had been a cornerstone of the Republican Party.
In his 2000 presidential campaign, George W. Bush said, “I believe we need to encourage personal responsibility so people are accountable for their actions.”
In 2012 the GOP platform mentioned the phrase “personal responsibility” at least three times. In each of those instances it was in the context of individuals owning up to their choices and actions. Ironically, in 2016 the phrase was eliminated from the platform.
Those people and companies being called out for their actions in spreading false information that led to insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 need to realize that they are not being “cancelled.” Rather they need to understand that they are finally being held personally accountable and that it’s capitalism leading to the loss of opportunity.