Deplatforming Free Speech is Dangerous | Opinion

The following is a lightly edited transcript of remarks made by Mark Davis during a Newsweek debate about cancel culture. You can listen to the podcast here:

People in the marketplace saying, "here's what I like, here's what I don't like, here's what I admire, here's what I resent", and doing so publicly, especially in the crazy world of social media, that's all absolutely fine. Definitions of cancel culture may differ. Let's use the example of a pizza restaurant owner who says, "here's your pizza, and I hate Jews", which would be stone cold, anti-Semitism, I think he would deserve to be called out in the marketplace for that. Maybe people need to wonder if they need to buy pizza from that guy or not. What if the pizza guy has a Trump poster behind the cash register? It's not outright stone-cold anti-Semitism. It's not outright anything except a political figure whom he likes. So, everybody goes nuts and they protest him, and they don't just say, "hey, I don't like Trump", or, "I voted for Biden, so I am not getting my pizza from there". They're suggesting this guy ought to be shut down for that political view. That's the bar for cancel culture that I've set, which I don't think any freedom loving person should embrace on a case-by-case basis.

Deborah Appleman Says Cancel Culture Affects Teaching
Deborah Appleman writes that "cancel culture" is impacting the texts that teachers can select for their students to study in school. Stock image. Getty/iStock

What happened to Paul Robeson was objectively terrible. What happened to Colin Kaepernick is debatable. The people who support the stance he took say that he's been horribly victimized. The people who were mortified by the stance he took, say he deserved what he got. That's a debate that you can have. I know that these definitions will vary from person to person, but I would think that we should all be able to identify examples where someone has been victimized, who should not have been in an overall way where they were denied the opportunity to speak at all. Catching consequences for saying bold things. Hey, in the modern world you're going to catch hell if you say X, Y, or Z. I think that proves that the system works. But when people say, "because I disagree with what you said, you should lose your platform for saying it", that's a dangerous road. The point where you start telling other private companies that they should divest or they shouldn't exist, what kind of fascist nonsense is that? I wouldn't tell a liberal company to turn around to my point of view. So please.

Mark Davis is a syndicated talk show host for the Salem Media Group on 660AM The Answer in Dallas-Ft. Worth, and a columnist for the Dallas Morning News and Townhall.

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