Richard Hanania's Newsletter
Clown Car
Cancel Culture Comes for the Left
Cancel Culture Comes for the Left
Clown Car: 10/13/23

One day later than usual, Inez joins me to talk about the war in Israel and its political fallout so far. We are mostly in agreement on Israel being in the right in how it is defending itself, as it looks like they are undertaking a plan of action consistent with what I recommended the other day.

Closer to home, it appears that cancel culture is coming for the left, as individuals lose their jobs for being too pro-Hamas or anti-Israel. Inez stresses that she doesn’t oppose there being consequences for speech, and I basically agree, reiterating some points I made a few years ago while writing about the attempted cancellation of Steven Pinker. Those leftists who said “freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences” were right after all!

The problem with the left isn’t mainly that they cancel people; it’s that they want negative consequences for speech that is true and important for the world to hear. Cancelling people for being “anti-colonial” or pro-BLM is fine, as this is all part of freedom of association. The line of course should be government policy, where we should aim for neutrality to the greatest extent possible. To be fair, the pro-Israel stance on the right can be very over the top, but I can live with it as something deeply embedded in our civil culture.

We also discuss my trolling of white nationalists, and recent anger among some conservatives that it took an attack on a foreign country to get our establishment to take a stand against the kind of pernicious nonsense that is being preached on university campuses. This leads to a debate on the extent to which Western society benefits from people who dissent from our dominant narratives.

There’s so much more than could be said about these topics. It truly feels like we’re going back to the mid-2000s, when conservatives leveraged their rhetorical advantage on foreign policy to push back against leftists on a wide variety of fronts. Having its roots in the alt right, MAGA at one point seemed like it might challenge the militant pro-Israel posture dominant among conservatives, but it’s only managed to reinforce it. The causes behind our current moment are the same as those of the previous one. Many elites are anti-white, and it’s easier to criticize them for being anti-Semitic. At the same time, conservatives now don’t shy away from calling out anti-white hatred, so maybe the pushback will be more explicit and useful this time.

Note: Some of you have previously asked for me to use the option to create an automated transcript. The main problem seems to be that it doesn’t differentiate the speakers, so you don’t know who is saying what. At the same time, if you’re confused you can just click on the part of the discussion you’re interested in and hear the recording. I hope they fix this.

Comments on this episode are for paid subscribers

Richard Hanania's Newsletter

Clown Car

Discussion of politics and current events, with a special focus on the 2024 election.

Listen on

Substack App
Apple Podcasts
RSS Feed

Appears in episode

Richard Hanania
Inez Stepman