Their accusations are their confessions.
Remember that. It’s how we need to consider the many and varied arguments we hear daily from conservative critics. It’s a common tactic. It’s what Freud called “projection”, where you identify your own faults, and ‘project’ them on to others, accusing them of the things you yourself are guilty of.
It was used to devastating effect by the previous U.S. president. Any time he was suspected (usually justifiably) of some form of corruption or malpractice, he would wrap up the suspicion in some new terminology (which Scott Adams called a “linguistic killshot“) and fling it back against the opposition as a direct accusation.
And we need to be clear that this is exactly what the term ‘cancel culture’ is. It’s an attempt by the people most likely to censor and silent opponents to accuse their opponents of exactly that sort of behaviour. It’s effective because it’s targeted at the audience least likely to stifle opposition, and therefore most sensitive to the criticism.
But remember: their accusations are their confessions.
The people accusing us of ‘cancel culture’ because we have decided to call an end to hateful and abusive behaviour are themselves the most likely to belittle, censor and silence opponents. That’s how they keep their power.
Despite their constant cries of censorship, conservatives dominate social media. Despite their accusations of left-leaning bias in newsrooms and on college campuses, conservatives exert a disproportional influence on both. Their cries of censorship in social media are baseless. And lets not forget the preponderance of conservative thought in organizations as varied as religious institutions, the police, military, schools of business and corporate boardrooms.
They would like us to believe that “we’re just the same, you and I.” They would like us to believe that if we were in the same position, we would do the same thing, that we would preserve our privilege, that we would take advantage of the weak, that we despise the poor and the marginalized just as much as they do. And their ‘proof’, they say, is cancel culture.
Except – no. The very same action, taken in the defense of the marginalized, is not the same as that action taken with the intent to oppress one. And this can be seen in the nature and character of the defense, how it is directed toward the action, and not the person, how it leaves even the attacker no weaker than when he started.
Their acts of silencing and oppression have no beginning and, it seems, no end…
- like when the state of Mississippi banned Sesame Street, calling it “too controversial” because it had black actors
- like when @ForAmerica attacked the Macy’s Day Parade for “blindsiding parents” because it dared to show two girls kiss
- like when conservative ‘free speech’ website Parler starts banning accounts for posting left wing ideas
- like when a conservative government bans universities from teaching gender studies
- like when Republicans in Georgia pass laws promoting voter suppression
You know and I know I could make this list longer and longer without much effort (but with more effort than it might seem, because conservatives has also flooded Google search with these accusations, making their own transgressions harder to find).
Every time a conservative complains about censorship or ‘cancel culture’ we need to remind ourselves, and to say to them,
“You are the one complaining about cancel culture because you are the one who uses silencing and suppression as political tools to advance your own interests and maintain your own power.
“You are complaining about cancel culture because the people you have always silenced are beginning to have a voice, and they are beginning to say, we won’t be silent any more.
“And when you say the people working against racism and misogyny and oppression are silencing you, that tells us exactly who – and what – you are.”
“Your accusations are your confessions.”