In doing research for my forthcoming book The Silencing of the Lambs: The Ominous Rise of Cancel Culture and How We Overcome It (due out March 1), I compiled a list of secular voices speaking out against cancel culture. In other words, this was not just a matter of Christian conservatives speaking up. This was a matter of people with very different worldviews and convictions speaking up as well.
Among those quoted in The Silencing of the Lambs were Bill Maher, an outspoken, liberal atheist; Barri Weiss, former New York Times journalist and herself a lesbian feminist; Sarah Silverman, an irreverent, Jewish comedian; Nick Cave, an Australian singer and songwriter; Alec Baldwin, the famously anti-Trump actor; J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series; and others. This is quite a formidable (and rapidly growing) list.
To quote Baldwin, “Cancel culture is like a forest fire in constant need of fuel. Functioning objectively. No prejudice. No code. Just destroy. The deserving and the undeserving alike.”
Or, in the words of Cave, “As far as I can see, cancel culture is mercy’s antithesis. Political correctness has grown to become the unhappiest religion in the world.”
Or, as expressed by Weiss, “We’re used to criticism. Criticism is kosher in the work that we do. Criticism is great. What cancel culture is about is not criticism. It is about punishment. It is about making a person radioactive. It is about taking away their job.”
That’s why so many from the left and right, are pushing back. Weiss even compared cancel culture to “social murder.” Those are very strong words.
One of the most recent to add his voice is Dana White, head of the UFC, a multi-billion dollar mixed martial arts organization. But you may have missed what he had to say last month because it was lost in the midst of the whole Joe Rogan, Spotify controversy.
Now, I would quote White verbatim in full, except that I really can’t.
That’s because White’s language is famously salty. (Put another way, White would have to modify his speech if he was to teach a Sunday school class.)
White is also famously fearless and will speak his mind with freedom and little filtering. You never have to wonder about his intent.
When it comes to comments last month, Newsweek explains that, “Earlier this month, hundreds of medical experts signed an open letter calling on Spotify to moderate misinformation on its platform, particularly on its biggest podcast which is hosted by Rogan.” (Note that White and Rogan are longtime friends and that Rogan does color commentary for major UFC events.)
“The letter said: ‘Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals.’”
This letter was largely in response to Rogan’s viral video with Dr. Robert Malone, himself a virologist who raised major concerns about the COVID vaccinations.
When asked about the letter, White first questioned how many of the “medical experts” (numbering over 250) were actually practicing doctors, a question others had raised as well, based on researching the bios of the signers.
As for cancelling Rogan, he replied, “You're not canceling Rogan. And the thing is with Rogan, he's a brilliant guy, he does his homework, and he knows what he's talking about.”
He continued, “And guess what? This is [expletive] America, and you can have your own opinion about these things, and you can voice 'em.
“That's what this [expletive] country was built on.”
As for those who don’t like what he had to say, White’s response was loud and clear, although I’ll have to leave out the heart of the quote (too many expletives). In short, after calling them “whiny,” he said this: “Too bad.”
The fact is that this is America, and our nation was built on fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of speech. And when such a fundamental freedom gets threatened, you can be assured that there will be a pushback – and not just from Christian conservatives concerned about their religious liberties, but from people like Dana White, whom no one would brand a Christian conservative.
That’s because this is much bigger than the world of religion. This is about pushing back against the thought police. This is about resisting intellectual tyranny. This is about saying no to oppressive overreach, be it from the government or Big Tech or the entertainment industry or the world of education or the society at large.
This is America. And as Americans, we’re not going to have it.
Let the pushback continue!