To Defeat Cancel Culture, Vote Republican | Opinion

More and more high-profile intellectuals of all political persuasions are rejecting cancel culture. "The free exchange of information and daily becoming more constricted," read a letter in Harper's magazine co-signed by over 150 luminaries, including the controversial linguist Noam Chomsky, the old-school feminist Gloria Steinem and the incisive journalist Bari Weiss. Weiss recently resigned from The New York Times, where she was the object of appalling mistreatment because of her centrist views. The wry firebrand Andrew Sullivan is leaving New York Magazine for similar reasons. To these courageous rebels, I say: bravo! Now vote Republican.

I mean this in all seriousness. Cancel culture is a vile blight upon Western civilization, and speaking out against it takes guts. Powerful enforcers of cancel culture, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), may claim that they only want their opponents "held accountable." Sinister martinets, like Times columnist Charles Blow, may insist that in fact there is no such thing as cancelation. But people at every level of American life have been forced to perform acts of public contrition for such innocuous deeds as wearing conservative T-shirts (Oklahoma State University football coach Mike Gundy) or interviewing Black people who are critical of the Black Lives Matter movement (Intercept reporter Lee Fang). The danger to our civil liberties is real. The foundations of America's republic are under threat.

Unfortunately, there is only one thing that can fix any of this right now, and that is to vote Republican in 2020. All over the ballot, straight down the ticket, red all the way. There is simply no other option if you want to be free to speak and write as you choose. You may try to circumvent the mainstream orthodoxy through independent digital media, as Sullivan hopes to, but the cancel cretins will easily shut down such dissent if they gain political power. You may fiercely oppose some GOP policies—you may want to defend abortion rights or universalize health care—but we will be unable to have those debates at all if we lose our freedom of speech. Republicans will protect that freedom. Democrats will not.

I don't like it any more than you do. I wish there were two robust political parties in this country. I wish that they each offered a different vision for America, but that both were firm in their resistance to the small, nasty and often racialized form of anti-Americanism that has taken hold of our radical Left. But there are not two such parties. There is one party—the Republicans—which opposes cancelation and another—the Democrats—which promises to become the hollowed-out mouthpiece of all the worst that cancel culture has to offer.

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump Drew Angerer/Getty Images

It's not that presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden believes in this stuff. It's that he is obviously losing his grip on a political party which has become terrified to say anything against the new Soviets. The Marxist and former Black Panther Angela Davis says she'll vote Biden not because she agrees with him, but because he can be "most effectively pressured" into granting her demands. Biden himself has repeatedly ventriloquized far-left talking points. Neither he nor any Democratic congressperson has made a strong statement against cancel culture—they've barely even admitted that it exists. No sooner will Biden take office than the most radical element of his base will run roughshod over him and bend him to their will. You think it's bad now—just wait.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump—crass, shambolic, inept Donald Trump—constantly decries cancel culture and has no problem rejecting it in the strongest possible terms. His July 4th speech in front of Mount Rushmore denounced his opponents for "driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees." Trump is backed in this by a growing cohort of Republican senators—Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, for example—whose electoral victories would mean stronger free speech law. Having more Republicans in office would encourage everyone—liberal and conservative—to speak up against the tiny faction that threatens to tyrannize us all.

This shouldn't be a partisan issue. It should be an American issue. But by leaving posts at The New York Times and New York Magazine, brave and good people like Bari Weiss and Andrew Sullivan effectively demonstrate that it is too late to oppose cancel culture from within our most prestigious cultural institutions. Those institutions—the Times, the Pulitzer Center, the Ivy Leagues—have already been thoroughly co-opted by the vicious mobsters of the Cancelation Left. Joe Biden will be co-opted in exactly the same way. Only the Republicans have a shot at turning the tide. They aren't perfect. But they're all we've got.

Spencer Klavan is host of the Young Heretics podcast and assistant editor of the Claremont Review of Books and the American Mind.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.