Though there’s no shortage of commentary from the political Left insisting that “cancel culture” is an invention of angry conservatives, the facts tell a different story. Here at National Review, we dedicate much of our work to ensuring that our readers are always up to date on the latest efforts to censor and censure controversial people and ideas — and we need your help so we can keep that work going.
This calendar year alone, we’ve witnessed almost too many examples to count of prominent figures being “canceled.” Disney star Gina Carano was fired after being criticized for having shared a controversial social-media post. A prominent New York Times journalist — arguably the paper’s leading reporter on the COVID-19 pandemic — was forced to resign after a student accused him of having responded to a question about a racial slur by restating the slur itself.
Seemingly immune to irony, the host of The Bachelor “stepped back” from his position on the show after he came under fire for having suggested that, perhaps, we should hesitate before excommunicating from polite society anyone who has attended a gathering with a costume theme that many of us now find objectionable.
The phenomenon of “cancel culture” isn’t isolated to cases of public figures drawing criticism for controversial comments. Lately, the problem du jour has been books. Without any warning, Amazon ceased selling When Harry Became Sally, a scholarly book by Ryan T. Anderson critiquing the Left’s radical approach to sex, gender identity, and sex-reassignment procedures. Under pressure from senators, the group asserted it would no longer sell books that call those with gender dysphoria “mentally ill” — though Anderson’s book does no such thing.
A few weeks later, progressives zeroed in on Theodor Seuss Geisel, the children’s author better known as Dr. Seuss, after a public-school district removed several of his books from the list for national Read Across America Day. At least one library chain relocated several of Seuss’s titles from the children’s section to the adult’s, afraid that kids might stumble across the books’ allegedly racially insensitive content.
We live in a time when an increasing number of powerful actors in our culture and our politics believe that free speech is dangerous, that ideas are literally violent, and that controversial or “backwards” notions ought to be silenced. Not only that, but these controlling culture warriors believe they should be the ones who get to determine which thoughts are good and which are bad, who gets to speak their mind in the public square, and who can sell their books in whichever marketplace they wish.
In such a climate, the mission and work of National Review are more valuable and necessary than ever. Even as our writers focus on the growing power of cancel culture in society at large, we are fighting a drawn-out, meritless libel lawsuit against us, aimed at forcing us to close our doors.
We need your help to keep the doors open and the lights on, to continue fending off efforts to silence conservative speech — and free speech at large. We’re immensely grateful for whatever you’re able to contribute.