“cancel culture is meant to silence the people who don’t have protection, who don’t have power, who don’t have a platform”
My appearance on WSJ at Large with Gerry Baker on Fox Business: “Those are the people who are really suffering”
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On Friday, July 24, 2020, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by FOX Business’ Gerry Baker on “WSJ at Large” regarding cancel culture.
The interview was enjoyable for at least a couple of reasons.
First, the interview was 8 minutes, which in network TV time is like forever, so I had a chance to go into deeper discussion than usual.
Second, Baker didn’t take the easy road, he raised issues — for example the claim that people who complain about cancel culture just don’t like being criticized — I hear repeated all the time; so I was able to address accusations raised by my detractors.
Here is an excerpt from the Fox Business story, Fighting back against the cancel culture:
It will take the strength of those being attacked to put an end to the “cancel culture” in our society, according to a university professor who says he was targeted himself.
Cornell University Clinical Law professor William Jacobson told FOX Business’ Gerry Baker on “WSJ at Large” people need to stand up to the pressure from those who try to silence and humiliate them for taking positions that don’t align with the “progressive” agenda.
“What we have to recognize is that you can’t just view things at the surface,” he argued. “The people speaking out don’t necessarily represent the majority of people. And therefore we need to gear our efforts towards emboldening people who are silenced to feel comfortable in speaking up.” ….
Jacobson said he’s been advised by the dean that he has academic freedom and won’t be fired. And he notes that while he’s received no support from the other faculty members, he has gotten backing by many students.
“[Students] have emailed me and said I have a lot of quiet support in the building,” he noted. “But everyone is afraid to speak up.”
So what does he think it will take for those facing the so-called “mob” to push back?
“I don’t have a magic answer to that,” he explained. “But I think shedding a light is the first step. But it’s a real problem in institutions like in academia, which are overwhelmingly controlled by one political ideology — which is liberalism, leftism, whatever you want to call it – -but it’s almost a uniformity of opinion and that’s at the heart of the problem.”
But Jacobson thinks it won’t be easy to reverse the current situation in colleges.
“Until we diversify the ideological foundation of academia, we’re not going to change this cancel culture on campus,” he said.
"I may be the target, but I'm not the victim here, the victim here are students that are bullied into silence and the culture of the law school, which as it relates to BLM is completely repressive."
Cornell U. Law Professor William Jacobson breaks down today's cancel culture. pic.twitter.com/fPHLIMGvY7
— WSJ at Large (@WSJatLarge) July 24, 2020
I was able to make another point about how the victims of cancel culture are not the high profile targest, but the people without protection:
BAKER: People out there who say, this talk of cancel culture is over overdone. You know, you expressed your opinion, you got criticized for it. A lot of people didn’t like it. They told you they didn’t like it. And you’ve still got your job. You’ve still got your academic position. You’re still free to say, we want you on this program and others. And that this whole thing is just, you know, people don’t like what’s going on. And don’t like being told that people don’t agree with their views. Tell us, explain exactly why that’s wrong.
WAJ: Well, it’s very different. This is not merely criticism, what I’ve received. It’s an attempt to get me fired. And the fact that it was unsuccessful so far, doesn’t really mitigate the maliciousness of that attempt. It’s an attempt to interfere in my employment by having people boycott my course, and most important, it’s an interference with students’ education. Why should a student have to make a political decision whether to take my course? If they feel my course is good for their education, they shouldn’t have to cross a virtual picket line.
But even more important. Don’t focus on me. Don’t focus on JK Rowling. Don’t focus on any of the other high profile people who can withstand this sort of pressure.
It’s really, this cancel culture is meant to silence the people who don’t have protection, who don’t have power, who don’t have a platform to appear on their website or on TV. Those are the people who are really suffering and that’s really the, the vice and the negative aspect of cancel culture. There was a poll recently out that something like two thirds of people in the U S and I think almost 80% of conservatives feel that they cannot speak their minds on issues. That’s the really pernicious aspect of it. So cancel culture is a lot more than mere criticism.
"This cancel culture is meant to silence the people who don't have protection, who don't have power."
— WSJ at Large (@WSJatLarge) July 24, 2020
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