New poll shows 72% of Americans believe cancel culture is “out of control”

by mcardinal

Chris Lange, FISM News


More than two-thirds of American adults say “cancel culture” has gone too far, according to a recent Rasmussen poll.

Responding to the question “Do you think cancel culture has gotten out of control,” 72 percent of survey respondents said “yes,” 15 percent disagreed and 12 percent said they were unsure. Additionally, 75 percent believe that “protecting free speech is more important than protecting people from speech that is offensive,” while 16% disagreed. A breakdown of the survey results indicates that, while both Republicans and Democrats surveyed agree that cancel culture has gone too far, Democrats (27 percent) were more likely than Republicans (9 percent) to say that protecting people from offensive speech is more important than protecting free speech, with politically-unaffiliated respondents coming in at 11 percent.

The study, conducted between Oct. 27-28, 2021, also shows that unfavorability of cancel culture is nearly equally dispersed among Americans of every race, with 71 percent of whites, 73 percent of blacks, and 76 percent of other minorities agreeing that it is out of control. The results further show that older Americans tend to value free speech more than those under 40. 

The phenomenon of cancel culture demands conformity of speech that caters to select groups of people who might take offense to certain words or phrases they consider to be marginalizing. It particularly targets those whose speech either challenges or fails to conform with the tenets of progressive socialism. Such non-conformists are often labeled as “racist” and/or “transphobic.” University of Michigan professor Lisa Nakamura described the concept as a “cultural boycott” of public figures, companies, or concepts whose words or actions have fallen out of favor with society in a 2018 New York Times interview. “People talk about the attention economy — when you deprive someone of your attention, you’re depriving them of a livelihood,” she said.

In recent years, a growing number of celebrities have fallen victim to cancel culture, including “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling, who criticized transgender ideology; comedian and movie star Kevin Hart, who made remarks deemed “anti-gay”; and, more recently, comedian Dave Chappelle, who said “gender is a fact” during a stand-up routine that aired on Netflix.

Joshua’s Outpost writer Michael Price explains the process of cancel culture, whereby “the violator eventually gets fired from their job or canceled altogether from the public sphere.” He refers to cancel culture warriors as modern-day “Pharisees.”  “Our political partisanship has amplified the worst segments of our culture,” he writes. “Small fringe individuals in our society have taken it upon themselves to act as the moral arbiters of what is concerned ‘right and wrong.’ There’s no open voting process on the criteria or the level of egregiousness, no formal court system established, or an appointed impartial judge who will preside over a fair hearing.”

In August 2020, a consortium of scholars and faith leaders issued a joint letter titled “The Philadelphia Statement” in which they warn Americans that their freedoms are in peril if society continues to embrace or accept “cancel culture” “social media mobs,” and “campus free speech policing.”

“Our liberty and our happiness depend upon the maintenance of a public culture in which freedom and civility coexist — where people can disagree robustly, even fiercely, yet treat each other as human beings — and, indeed, as fellow citizens — not mortal enemies,” reads a portion of the statement.

Recently, some public figures have fought back against threats of “cancellation” used as a means to censor free speech. Liberal comedian, political commentator, and late-night-show host Bill Maher delivered a blistering rebuke to the purveyors of cancel culture, particularly younger Americans whom he says must abandon the notion that they possess unique insight into what is acceptable in society. “This is called a purge. It’s a mentality that belongs in Stalin’s Russia,” he told an HBO “Real Time” audience. “How bad does this atmosphere we’re living in have to get before the people who say cancel culture is overblown admit that it is, in fact, an insanity that is swallowing up the world?”

According to Dr. David Jeremiah, pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif., cancel culture is in direct conflict with Christ’s command to “love God and love others” and eliminates the concept of forgiveness. In an article published in the Christian News Journal he says, “Cancel culture is laser-focused on judgment and accusation and punishment…the goal of those who cancel others is to broadcast their sins from pillar to post, and never allow them to be removed or forgotten. Christ’s goal, on the other hand, is love, mercy and grace.”

Jeremiah urges believers to resist cancel culture and, instead, embrace the truths of God’s “wisdom, courage, and compassion.”