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COMMENTARY

CANCEL CULTURE:

The Weaponization of Political Correctness
By S. G. Smith

PC Against You and Me

As we have drifted into 2020 with all of our modern crises, we are confronted with a new phrase. We now have cancel culture. Congressman Dan Crenshaw has also referred to outrage culture, which has led to domestic violence; and this cancel culture seems to be the “weaponization” of political correctness (PC), serving as another avenue to fulfill one’s sense of outrage.

Despite how one attempts to gauge our political climate, social media plays a tremendous role in advancing the good, the bad, and the ugly in society today. This new environment of almost immediate social connection comes with a downside. As much as people may manifest brilliance or even genius, people are also given to spreading falsehood and destructive lies. In this way, for good or ill, social media has contributed to amplifying the collective impact and consequences of human interaction. These consequences may manifest overnight. The more people become “plugged in,” the greater this amplifying effect becomes. Welcome to the Borg… No thanks! 

Recent History

Not so long ago, there was a Muslim uprising referred to as the Arab Spring. Many North African leaders were ousted from leadership. The surprising thing about this uprising was how social media was involved. Young Muslims with internet connectedness were seemingly able to influence an uprising with unprecedented rapidity. Perhaps the phenomenon of internet blitzkrieg has come of age.

Additionally, we suffer from the same kind of thing with identity theft. If current advertisements are to be believed, we now have a class of criminal hackers who can steal our lives and property out from under us if they obtain our personal information. The need for “in-person” identification, notaries, and witnesses seem to be no longer required. So, are we really doing better if we have created efficient information systems that can be used to steal from people and destroy them overnight?

Rather than continue purchasing some form of internet protection, I would prefer to do things the old way… face to face. This may seem inconvenient for many, but the “old ways” seem less inconvenient than being economically destroyed through fraud or becoming professionally canceled.

The Fast and the Furious

Information moved much slower in the past. Perhaps slow was sometimes a good thing. Slow can mean you have time to think about what is really going on.

Admittedly, some things require a more immediate response. If for some reason you have only 10 minutes left to live, help arriving 15 minutes later would just be too late. Yet are we to conclude that faster is always better? Have you ever reacted too soon or found yourself wishing you had waited before you spoke or acted? Right timing seems to certainly be preferable to being either too quick or too slow. Yet can we always know when that is? …. Probably not!

Returning to our original theme, we understand that cancel culture, as weaponized PC, is just another form of verbal abuse. I recall an interesting phrase used years ago referring to someone doing violence to the truth. It causes me to ponder that perhaps every pernicious lie is somehow an act of violence.

Today we have become accustomed to falsehoods and fake news. Truth is becoming a rare commodity. From ancient times, truth was always associated with life, while lies were associated with death. So, where are we headed?

Ironically, in its advocacy of what is right and true, the cancel culture club rejects any analysis of their so-called truth. Their truth is absolute dogma, and anyone who questions their narrative of reality is to be ignored… rejected… or canceled! Rational debate is not a virtue with this group.

Sadly, the cancel culture cult suppresses not only rational analysis but freedom of speech as a whole. This new weaponized PC results in vicious confrontations. One is not respected and simply reproved when questioning a PC narrative; they are attacked! Gone is the day when the magnanimous liberal soul would defend to the death your right to freely speak. On the contrary, today, if you do not endorse the PC perspective, you will be subjected to death from a thousand slanderous insults. This has adversely impacted both social media and the modern college campus. People are being targeted and vilified, leaving others with a negative impression of “canceled” victims. This has damaged the reputations, careers, and future job opportunities for those who have fallen prey to cancel culture assaults.

Is this still freedom of speech, or libel and slander? Freedom of speech presupposes an effort to convey truth. Cancel culture is killing freedom of speech. Let us hope this current state of affairs will itself become canceled.

Sins of the Tongue

In the final analysis, this conflict is simply the result of unrestrained sin. The Bible (should you have any regard for that book) clearly condemns gossip, slander, backbiting, and every form of malignity. I believe the core for much of this unfortunate activity is found in the development and continuation of unresolved bitterness.

Bitterness is a choice. It is a choice we may make in the light of undesirable circumstances that arise in life. The solutions here will not be found in drugs, alcohol, prescription medications, better nutrition, or protests. Legal reforms or mandates can’t ultimately treat this illness. Only true repentance and forgiveness can break the cycle of bitterness and the spiritual rage which results. As the Bible correctly observes, our bitterness will defile others, as well as ourselves. We are seeing it today in the streets of America, as well as the world.

A Closing Parable

I once heard a parable about an old preacher who had been victimized by the gossip of a rather indiscreet woman. As the story goes, the woman became convicted of her error and went to ask forgiveness for her indiscretion and what she could do to rectify the problem. The sagely preacher handed her a feather pillow and requested that she tear it open. As this exchange occurred outside in the open, the torn pillow released the feathers, which were quickly carried away in the breeze. Our sage asked the woman to go and collect all the feathers. She remarked that this would be essentially impossible. The preacher then explained that it is much the same with secret gossip or malignity. Slander leaves our lips, and we have little control where the winds of gossip will carry them. Untold damage or unintended consequences will likely be the result. Is it any wonder that one of God’s primary directives is “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”?

We should take care of how we assess and confirm the truth. My initial lecture in physics usually began with the importance of empirical, rational, and revelatory criteria in establishing scientific truth. First, is it empirically observable? Second, does the phenomenon fulfill a rational (often mathematical) cause and effect connection to what we already know to be true? And third, are other scientists elsewhere revealing or reporting the same scientific results that you are discovering? This has worked well for scientific progress. Are so-called progressives really advancing cultural progress?

Is the postmodern Marxism of the cancel culture cult leading us toward truth? It is said that the truth will set you free, but we appear to be a nation becoming bound in the gall of bitterness.

Submitted by S. G. Smith, Lubbock, TX

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