In the article describing “hate speech” tactics,[i] we saw how people are called haters if they oppose the homosexual or transgender agenda. The intent is to shame the opponents into silence, that the activists’ march through American culture can continue unopposed. In this article, we’ll see how the activists try to punish those who actually do stand against them. It touches on these points:
- When people are brave and unfazed by accusations, the activists turn to the personal destruction tactics of cancel culture.
- The effects of cancel culture can be expensive and physically dangerous. The idea is to eliminate the target’s opposition and discourage others.
- Even businesses and politicians are using these tactics.
- Defenses against political cancel culture involve forcing politicians to treat all of us fairly, and to honor our Constitutional rights.
- Defenses against business and social media cancelling involves diversification, greatly multiplying our communications choices.
No compromise is possible for attackers of America’s culture
America started with a strong Christian identity. But thanks, in part, to Christians saying that culture isn’t important,[ii] we no longer have a solid consensus about what our culture should be. Because “the Supreme Court follows the election returns,”[iii] we now have legalized “gay marriage,” even though our society is still fighting about it.[iv] Then there is the matter of transgender behavior, which its proponents expect all of us to unconsciously accept, not merely tolerate. We’re supposed to mindlessly support these things:
- Accept that a man or woman is whatever sex they choose to dress up as.
- Let those individuals use whatever sex-segregated public facility they choose to, just because they say so.
- Address them by whatever pronoun they’re pleased to use, whether it be “Mr,” “Miss,” “Xi,” “They,” or a great number of other odd pronouns.[v]
Or as Professor Karen Blair says, you shouldn’t care whether your potential mate is a man or woman. If you care then you’re adding to social injustice. She says:
Just as sociologists have tracked acceptance of inter-racial relationships as a metric of overall societal acceptance of racial minorities, future fluctuations in the extent to which trans and non-binary individuals are included within the intimate world of dating may help to illuminate progress (or lack thereof) with respect to fully including trans and non-binary individuals within our society. After all, it is one thing to make space for diverse gender identities within our workplaces, schools, washrooms and public spaces, but it is another to fully include and accept gender diversity within our families and romantic relationships. Ultimately, however, this research underscores the consequences of shared societal prejudices that impact our trans friends, partners, family members, and coworkers on a daily basis.[vi]
God condemns homosexual and transgender behavior. We see this both in the Old Testament (Leviticus 20:13) and New Testament (Romans 1:26-27).[vii] Christians can’t be faithful to God and also accept these behaviors in society. In turn, the promoters of homosexuality and transgenderism can’t back down without admitting that they’re living a lie. The resulting standoff is a culture war, and requires a victor. There is no long-term compromise possible. Soon enough one side gets overwhelmed. Remember when the call was to “please just tolerate gays?” The new call is for no dissent from their dogma, and full participation in their coming culture.
A decade ago, homosexualist activists were arguing that legalizing same-sex “marriage” was all about “acceptance” and “love,” and that it would have absolutely no impact on the daily life of most ordinary citizens. Opponents of same-sex “marriage” were routinely mocked with statements like: “How is it any of your business what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedrooms?”, or, “If you don’t support gay marriage, don’t get one.” In other words: why get yourself worked up about something that has nothing to do with you?
However, just as pro-family advocates warned at the time, things haven’t turned out that way.
There are just too many examples of how same-sex “marriage”, and LGBT ideology in general, have impacted the daily lives of every citizen to cite in a single column. We saw this in a dramatic way throughout June – so-called “pride month.” One could scarcely open a website, or walk down the street, without being confronted by rainbow flags or other overt celebrations of licentious sexual practices. Many schools, libraries, and city and state legislatures flew the flag and held “pride” celebrations, while any effort to question the wisdom of using public buildings in this way was immediately shouted down as “homophobia” and bigotry.
However, this total saturation of the public space with pro-LGBT propaganda is merely one of the milder ways that LGBT extremism has inserted itself into everybody’s lives. Far more troubling is the way that the LGBT movement is propagandizing and recruiting children, often right under the noses of their parents. As a result, many well-meaning parents who decided not to speak out against same-sex “marriage” out of a desire to be more tolerant, are finding that they are losing their very children to belief-systems that they do not, in fact, support.[viii]
Christianity is evangelistic by nature. Through its obedience to God, His church illuminates the world with examples of God’s righteousness and mercy.[ix] It is a faith of action, of doing (James 2:14-26). When the church has freedom of action then God uses it to change the world. The homosexual and transgender activists can’t allow this, so they try to shut us up, with accusations of hate speech.[x] If we don’t voluntarily silence ourselves, and let them win unopposed, then they apply muscle to their demands. Cancel culture is their weapon of choice.
Cancel culture is how they silence our objections
The online Cambridge Dictionary has this definition for “cancel culture:”
a way of behaving in a society or group, especially on social media, in which it is common to completely reject and stop supporting someone because they have said or done something that offends you[xi]
The definition has interesting suggestions for using it in conversations:
Cancel culture has its place – it helps to call out and remove problematic people from mainstream culture.
In a cancel culture, we appoint ourselves the arbiters of right and wrong and also the judge and jury, because thanks to social media, we get to dole out punishment.
People participating in cancel culture mean to deprive their victims of social legitimacy and the privileges of community life. If this also inflicts economic loss or physical harm, so much the better. Since they can do these attacks without personal consequence, we see activity like this:
- Ruin someone by digging up a now unfashionable comment. In 1987 the young Navy pilot Niel Golightly wrote an opinion of why women should be kept out of combat roles. In 2020 this comment was discovered and Golightly got targeted. He lost his job for once having had a now politically incorrect opinion.[xiii]
- Punish someone who criticizes your cause. The professor Harald Uhlig criticized “Black Lives Matter” for being unrealistic about police funding. The cancel culture mob searched for things to use against him. Finding some minor incidents, they claimed that these proved how Uhlig was unfit to head a national academic journal. They demanded his firing.[xiv] The intended lesson is to never criticize “Black Lives Matter”.
- Change the culture through vandalizing history. Abraham Lincoln is accused of not having believed “black lives matter.” The mob ginned up support to remove his name from buildings, and statues honoring him are being vandalized and torn down.[xv] George Orwell pointed out, in his novel 1984, that if you can control what the public thinks, or can learn, about its past, then you can steer them into a future of your choice.[xvi] The mob has learned how to cancel history.[xvii] They also found that vandalism pays.
Political activists for homosexual and transgender issues have learned how to apply cancel culture tactics against “problematic people.” A small sample:
- Church ostracized from arts community because of sermon. The Crossing Church in Columbia, MO had an arts outreach ministry, giving money to local artists. But because of a sermon on God vs. transgender behavior, the church is now persona non grata in the arts. Galleries and theaters are pressured to stay away from the church’s assistance, or they themselves will get cancelled.[xviii]
- Feminist-supporting author cancelled for defending biology against transgenderism. Robert Jensen writes books and gives lectures. But his audience dried up once he asserted that biological sex is immutable. Bookstores won’t accept his books, he’s disinvited from speaking engagements, and he’s shouted down at other events. His views are inconvenient to the transgender behavior community.[xix]
- Pizza parlor forced to close after statements about not catering to “gay weddings.” The Memories Pizza parlor was reported to be unwilling to cater to a “gay wedding.” What followed was criticism, threats of vandalism against the business, and death threats against the owners.[xx] They never were actually asked to do that catering, but a reporter decided to create a news story. Despite the First Amendment, and Indiana religious freedom laws, apparently even advertising your Christian beliefs is a capital offense deserving of summary death.
These victims of cancel culture didn’t break any laws. In fact, their views and statements are generally mainstream culture. In a real sense, cancel culture is a form of social terrorism. It is effective, too, even if the results are temporary. The actual or imagined costs of being targeted by mob action – money, injury, vandalism – works to deter others from opposition, or even from offering silent support. This definition of cancel culture rings true:
Cancel culture is a call on organizations to terminate the financial sustenance (e.g., fire employees, stop hiring entertainers for gigs) or means of communication (removing from media platforms) of individuals who have done something objectionable. The objectionable thing may be an expressed opinion, or a statement made or action performed in the past. The act may have been unintentional, the person may have been unaware that it was objectionable, or it may be something that was not widely considered objectionable at the time. Since it is a past act, clearly the intention is not to return to favor by stopping the objectionable thing, it is to permanently punish and shun the transgressor.[xxi]
Businesses get into the cancel culture action
Business managers are human, and sometimes seek to make their businesses act as extensions of their own wants and desires. That’s how you end up with snack cracker ads “encouraging people to rethink what it means to be family,”[xxii] or assertions that “years of manufacturing and selling toothpaste make Colgate uniquely qualified to address questions around gender.” [xxiii] These ads show the world their managers’ political and cultural positions.
Running ads doesn’t interfere with the rights of anyone else, but cancel culture does. On the internet, it’s when a company blocks posts, and suspends the posting rights of people, because the company managers disagree with the posts’ cultural or political content. It’s when they block your company from getting any internet hosting at all, for the same reasons. Everyone else can have their say, but not you.
With Twitter and Facebook acting this way, it has become dangerous to our culture. Consider these reasons.
- Presented as being politically and culturally neutral. Since their content is user-generated, Twitter and Facebook supposedly have a fair slice of American opinion, reasonably reflecting the strengths and diversity of our culture. We know now that they aren’t neutral, but people still think that they are.
- Monopoly position. Twitter and Facebook have each gained a monopoly share in their particular specialty. Few people even realize that there are competitors.
- The go-to place for reaching people. The masses flock to Facebook to keep up with their friends and interesting people. They go to Twitter for timely news. Politicians post there because their constituents are already there. And it’s free to use, no subscription fees. These sites have become de-facto public squares, where people congregate to hear what is going on in their communities and the world. And supposedly, if it isn’t being said there then nobody is saying it at all.
- Hard to displace. It is a truism, that if you’re not paying for the product then you are the product. Twitter and Facebook make tremendous amounts of money from our being there. They get money from companies posting ads and from those buying audience information. A potential competitor would have to suffer years of heavy economic losses in hopes of taking back even a small share of the audience.
- Invisible hand in shaping opinions. People who visit Twitter or Facebook see posts, both deep and trivial, and think that this is the entire scope of American political and cultural discourse. These firms shield their viewers from non-approved content. People are propagandized, not through salesmanship but by omission. They’re being misled and haven’t a clue about it.
Through Twitter and Facebook meddling, America gets all the disadvantages of a one-newspaper town, except that the effects are national. It’s been shown many times that Twitter [xxiv] and Facebook [xxv] block conservative posts, and block proscribed people from posting. There are way too many outrage stories to list here. The important point is that they do interfere with American culture, seeking to influence us to accept the “progressive” way by choking opposing speech.
When companies can lever the opinions of its owners and managers into American culture, we become an oligarchy.[xxvi] The masses are ruled not by representatives but by an elite few. The actions of the people running Twitter and Facebook match those you’d expect of those aspiring to the oligarchy. We used to prosecute such companies for being monopolies.
Then there is the curious case of Apple and Google, which recently blocked the Parler application from their app stores.[xxvii] They effectively prevent people from accessing Parler until that service starts censoring posts Twitter-style. Through their actions, Apple and Google claim the right to censor what people say on forums. Although people can access Parler through a laptop computer, but not having a smartphone app cuts out a huge part of Parler’s potential audience.
Apple gave Parler 24 hours to “remove all objectionable content from your app … as well as any content referring to harm to people or attacks on government facilities now or at any future date.” The company also demanded that Parler submit a written plan “to moderate and filter this content” from the app.[xxviii]
These blocking activities come from cancel culture, for they seek to shut down a nexus of conversation because the companies disagree with the content. It is also monopolistic and anti-competitive,[xxix] but the government seems quite selective about what firms it goes after.
Politicians use cancel culture against their cultural opponents
We generally elect politicians because they’re opinionated. Their beliefs and views of our possible futures are important to us. But when they act on their opinions there are at least two ways where they can go wrong and betray their offices:
- Passing unconstitutional laws. A constitution is a charter for government, stating what acts it can try and the limits of its powers. Despite this, constitutions are exceeded quite frequently. For example, the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause is leveraged by Congress to regulate most everything, even when the regulated activity doesn’t involve interstate commerce.[xxx] It is excused by all with a wink and a shrug.
Americans also have the Bill of Rights, amendments to the U.S. Constitution and, because of the Fourteenth Amendment, applying to all state governments.[xxxi]. These amendments don’t grant rights to the citizens. We don’t have religious freedom, etc., because of these amendments. Rather, these are warnings to, and restrictions on, the government. These are assertions that our rights pre-exist the Constitution, and a government that touches them overreaches its bounds. For example, the Ninth Amendment essentially says “if we’ve missed some of the citizens’ rights, then these, too, can’t be restricted by the government.”[xxxii] Note that these rights restrict the government, while modern activists want rights that expand government to provide new goodies.[xxxiii]
If an unconstitutional law is in place it is hard to get it overturned. Fighting off even the most blatantly wrong law takes lots of money and effort. And if you get a justice who favors that law – doesn’t it seem that only they get these cases? – this protracts the repeal efforts. So, passing an even obviously bad law could hurt many people for an awfully long time. When only those with enormous resources can get justice, then justice is generally denied. But that topic is out-of-scope for this article.
- Playing favorites when enforcing the law. “Nobody is above the law” is often said, but lots of people have charges dropped or overlooked because they “know somebody.” God doesn’t condone government favoritism (Leviticus 19:5), and these officials are “servants of God” (Romans 13:6) whether they like it or not. Some politicians are elected even though they’ve goals to overturn our Constitution.[xxxv] When laws are selectively applied then some citizens become more equal than others. When rioters aren’t arrested and prosecuted,[xxxvi] but their victims are,[xxxvii] then officials are participating in cancel culture.
A politician or bureaucrat practices cancel culture through denying some citizens their constitutional rights, and by treating groups differently depending on their political or cultural leanings. Consider these examples:
- Claims that your religious practices are illegal. Cultural activists create conflicts, inviting a District Attorney or Human Rights Commission to claim that you can’t actually practice your religious beliefs (James 2:14-26). Look how the Masterpiece Cakeshop was sued three times because the owner has Christian principles.[xxxviii] When a Commission, or a state’s attorney, works to disregard the accused’s religious rights, despite the First Amendment, it declares that some citizens have fewer rights than others. It also claims that a civil rights law is superior to the Constitution. These officials are trying to cancel the citizens and also our legal system.
- Create laws to ban your religious practices, and even force you to violate them. The Equality Act of 2020 would “prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation.”[xxxix] Besides its actual provisions, it forces the changes onto the public and invalidates any religious objections. It’s been called the “Criminalizing Christianity Act.” It amounts to a cultural revolution through legislative fiat. It’s blatantly unconstitutional, but if it gets passed in the future then just try to get justice.
It is good and necessary to defend our Christian-based culture
The Christian basis of our founding is still rather alive in America’s culture. If it weren’t then there wouldn’t be these fierce cultural battles. The people practicing cancel culture want to break resistance to their aims of a political coup. They apparently don’t want to wait for our culture to gradually come over to their views. Perhaps they’re afraid of repentant Christianity.
But before renewing an expensive and exhausting defense of our culture, we should review why we want it. Is it worth fighting for? It is, for these reasons:
- The Christian believes that God created us, and that through Jesus redeemed us to be His children. We’re living for His sake.
- God’s tells us what is right and wrong. No other standard will do. From the Bible we learn how to relate to God, to live in righteousness, and to live peaceably with each other.
- Our faith is acted out in daily life. It isn’t a faith of mere meditation, but also of activities and decisions coming from that faith (James 2:14-26).
- Our resulting society must be righteous and God-honoring, or else. God judges all nations, whether ancient Israel, the rest of the ancient world (Daniel 4:27-37; Jeremiah 18:7-10), or any modern nation (Luke 3:14; Acts 12:21-23). God holds all the world to his standards, and woe to them who spurn His reproof.[xli]
A Christian society will endure if its members maintain their standards, and teach their children to do likewise. But if it slacks off its watchkeeping, then people with other ideas will reach our children, training them instead in the humanist, socialist religion.[xlii]
Make our politicians respect our Constitutional rights
A person taking a seat in the U.S. Congress promises to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”[xliii] A similar oath is taken by members of the various state legislative bodies. But when a politician promises to “take back” guns (Second Amendment), or make the “Equality Act” override religious objections (First Amendment), isn’t that oath breaking? And why isn’t it called “dereliction of duty” when government overreach is shown to them and they won’t set things right? These legislators are trying to sneak through overrides of the Constitution without going through the amendment process, and that is wrong.
The people don’t have the tools to directly remove faithless legislators. For example, only Congress can remove its own members through expulsion. The best the people can do about those seats is to ensure that the offending politicians don’t win reelection. But there are still tools available to us. As former Senator Everett Dickson said, “when I feel the heat, I see the light”.[xliv] Heat costs dedication, time, and money. How hot do you want to make your politician? Even hard line progressives tend to love their perks more than their ideology, and will work to appease you.
Then there are politicians who take sides in the culture war and render unequal civic services. For example, how the mayors tell the police to stand aside during Antifa riots in Portland and Minneapolis, and when the district attorneys won’t charge the rioters. They’re not rendering equal justice, but instead discriminating based on politics. Surely there are any number of laws that these officials are breaking, and there are many suits that can be filed. Justice is expensive, very much so. But the choice seems to be either expensive justice or no justice.
One thing that cancel culture warriors do is to dig up dirt on their targets, and then tell everyone about it. In other words, they do investigative reporting. We can, too. The newspaper and on-air reporters tend to hide bad news about the politicians they like.[xlv] This means that other people are going to have to investigate these faithless politicians. It is likely that, once the news is out, they’ll be destroyed by their own friends.
Every remedy mentioned here involves giving lots of time and money, and learning how to work with like-minded people. But we must do these things, and pay the costs, because our politicians fail us. It’s the price of defending our Christian culture. It’s also a witness to our enemies, and the currently uninvolved, of how we value what we still have.
Beating censorship through diversity and anonymity
The internet has millions of sites, such as the one hosting this article. Out of all of them, Twitter and Facebook are considered the American “go to” places for news and announcements. But since they’ve proven to be unfaithful at that, Americans ought to relearn the habit of seeking out multiple news sources. We can’t literally force people off of these services, but through small efforts can start an exodus, which we hope leads to bigger things.
- Stop posting on Twitter and Facebook. If you post worthwhile content on Twitter, your posts only increase its viewership. Likewise, if your social club is hosted by Facebook, it increases their advertising numbers but doesn’t benefit you any. Go ahead and move your internet home to some other service. Wherever you land, your audience will still seek you out. They might even like the relief from sponsored ads.
- Stop reading Twitter or Facebook. There ought to be other, equivalent sources for your news and entertainment. And every defection from Twitter and Facebook drops their revenue stream. If you have sources which only appear on Twitter, such as a politician or a funny writer, ask them to also post their messages elsewhere. You’re now building your own “not Twitter” network.
- Advertise your own “goodbye” movement. Compared to their total viewership, there aren’t that many people getting cancelled by Twitter or Facebook. But if people get the idea that it’s trendy to leave, and start doing it, you will have started a movement.
But diversity doesn’t mean just visiting more web sites. The internet itself is an information bottleneck, a trap. If your communications are only through the internet, being blocked from it would leave you deaf and dumb. There is little solace in having our First Amendment rights if we’ve no place to practice them. There’s safety in having backup plans (Ecclesiastes 11:2). What sorts of alternative communications can there be?
- Printed newspapers. Newspapers have been dying in the internet era. This is partly because they put content on the internet for free, and partly because so many of the papers have the same progressive slant. They’re just not worth reading. Yet small town local news, such as a village town hall, goes unreported for lack of a printed forum. Wouldn’t locals want to buy a weekly paper if it contained local news? How about a paper whose reporting reflects the community’s values, rather than fighting against them? We can only hope…
- Email lists. Email lists are still used in places. Subscribers periodically get an email with news, articles, or comments from other subscribers. They then submit their responses back to the central service. Because the back-and-forth of an argument depends on sequential posts from the central server, a conversation might take days to resolve. The virtue here is that these communications are available “off the web.”
- FidoNet messaging network. Before the modern internet appeared, people could set up a network of communicating computers, using software called FidoNet. This network operated much like an email list does, but did its work using phone calls. It had great flexibility for routing messages, and could work even with part of the network out-of-service. It required an expert to configure, but it worked. It’s almost forgotten today. Want to set up a secretive network? Why not use a forgotten technology?
- The practice of printing and distributing handbills has always been with us. You see them under windshield wipers, slid onto screen doors, and attached to light poles. The whole neighborhood will know that your group has been there. Although how many flyers you can distribute is limited by your manpower, any number of groups can distribute copies of that flyer, wherever they might be. And when your groups coordinate, they’re gaining networking skills. Consider buying a genuine printing press, because using ordinary computer printers cost way more for the volumes of leaflets you’ll generate.
Once you’re a target, seemingly anything can be accessed if your opponents have clout. Who would have expected to lose their privacy in these circumstances?
- Obama got his opponents’ sealed divorce proceedings revealed. During the 2004 campaign for the U.S. Senate, Obama’s campaign people twice got the newspapers to reveal divorce proceedings of his opponents.[xlvi] First came details about his Democratic primary opponent, then those of his Republican general election opponent. Sticking with a winning tactic, President Obama’s reelection campaign of 2012 tried, but failed, to get Mitt Romney’s tax records. Similar attempts are still being made to get President Trump’s tax records. That the courts are willing to reveal sealed records shows that government promises of confidentiality can’t be trusted.
- Donors to Proposition 8 revealed, harassed, and attacked. In 2008, California held an election concerning Proposition 8, which essentially banned “gay marriage.” Many people donated to the campaign trying to pass the measure. After the election, opponents of the measure got the list of campaign donors and published it. This led to donors getting harassed and attacked. [xlvii] Some donors suffered property loss. Others lost their jobs, once news of their donations came out.
- Cell phone tracking identifies rally participants, traces them home. In 2020, people protested at the Michigan state capitol about the coronavirus virus lockdown decrees. After they went home, much cell phone data was harvested by political advocates.[xlviii] This is because many protestors had set their phones to permit location tracking by third parties. Organizations like VoteMap, which works with Democratic political campaigns, got the data and was able to trace these people almost all the way home.
You can sometimes evade becoming a cancel culture target. You’re not required to broadcast your location to everybody. Whether you’re at home or away, if you stay “communications anonymous” then you can’t be singled out for later harassment. Here are ways to reduce, or hide, your own tracks.
- Avoid using your credit card when out and about. When you’re on the road and use your credit card, the company knows where your card has been. By looking at the details, people can make guesses about what you were doing between purchases. There are lots of credit card employees willing to breach their company’s secrecy and spill that data to activists. It’s better if that data doesn’t exist at all. Ask at some gas stations, and you’ll be surprised by how many people are paying with cash.
- Stifle your cell phone. When you let your phone’s location data be collected by others, as in the Michigan rally story, you’re asking that your activities get spied on. You can disable that yourself. Even so, all cell phones constantly seek out the nearest cell phone tower. They’re calling home, and leaving an auditable trail of where they’ve been, whether it is to a rally, to church, or to a restaurant. This tower seeking occurs even when the phone is supposedly turned off. Only removing the battery truly turns the phone off, but many phones don’t have removable batteries. You could leave the phone at home, or you could put the phone in a Faraday bag. This envelope-like wallet blocks all signals into or out of the pouch, preventing the phone from snitching on you. Be aware that if you take the phone out of the pouch it will resume announcing its position until it is put away again. These pouches are cheap ($20 or so) and readily available online – look them up.
- Avoid using a car having GPS or satellite radio. A car with GPS map navigation, or satellite radio, knows where you are. The location is presumably recorded, as with a cell phone. If you want to travel without being tracked, you’ll have to find ways to disable this communication. If you’re carrying a portable device, such as that from Garmin, then disconnect its battery. If the GPS or satellite radio is built in, perhaps you can disconnect the antennas (which might also disable your radio). You could also try adding a GPS jammer to your car, to overwhelm the car’s own GPS antennas.
When you centralize your communications you get easy, one-stop shopping for news, etc. You are also easily controlled. Pay the costs of diversification to preserve your own uncensored communications. By doing this you might even play a part in monopoly busting.
Continue transforming the world for Christ
Jesus says that the Kingdom of God is like yeast, affecting every corner of society (Matthew 13:33). Through our obedience to God, how we live, our relationships, and the standards we insist on, God’s church spreads throughout society and transforms it. We’re not in a lifeboat awaiting salvation, we’re of the Great Commission, making disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19-20). In the face of all trials, continue being the transforming yeast God wants us to be.[xlix]
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