This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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How the Cancel Culture has Risen to the Level of Terrorism and What Needs to Be Done
Terrorism is one of those words that became part of normal American discourse on September 11th, 2001. While the word itself has been around for ages, society began using the term every day after radical Islamic terrorists attacked the United States using planes. Terrorism is an evil thing; it is an effort to deprive a person or people of something they have the right to through sheer terror. This is something we have struggled against in the United States and something that we, presumably, will be struggling against for the foreseeable future. However, we are now facing a new manifestation of terrorism: cultural terrorism and we need to address it.
Evolution of Terrorism
Terrorism, as with everything else, had evolved. Initially, terrorism was simply dissidents attacking government buildings to make a point, or members of unions sabotaging equipment to make a strike more devastating. As terrorism was attached to ideology, apologists worked with terrorists to mitigate reputation damage. “The IRA is only attacking British government targets,” “Islamic Terrorism is a response to aggression in the region,” and “The Uni bomber only attacked people because no one was listening to his complaints,” are all responses to violent terrorist attacks that took people’s lives. Millions of Irish did not have to resort to violence to make amends with England. Millions of Muslims live good, law-abiding lives and do not resort to terror. And billions of people around the world do not like their governments, but they use the ballot box, not the detonation box, to make change.
The apologists are one of the reasons we are seeing such a rise in terrorism, both domestic and international. As terrorist methods moved away from fringe groups to major groups, we see more and more ideological terrorism being accepted. The genocide of the Uighur Muslims in China is being basically ignored because no one wants to offend the CCP. The terrorist attacks on women in Saudi Arabia for fighting for women’s rights are ignored (especially by western feminist groups) because “it is a cultural thing for Muslims.” The BLM riots of 2020 are ignored because, “they have a legitimate complaint.” Terrorism is never acceptable as a means of making social change – either revolution or you are just being a coward.
The insidious nature of terrorism comes from anonymity. The reason the Founding Fathers were revolutionaries, not terrorists, is because they put their name on their work. When John Hancock threw millions of dollars of British tea into Boston Harbor, he didn’t hide behind a screen name or an anonymous screen name (though they did dress up as Indians for some reason, he sent a Declaration of Independence to King George himself). Now, it is culturally acceptable for masked “vigilantes” of ideology to attack innocent people and public property to make a point. This was evil when the KKK did it during the American Reformation and it is evil now.
Anonymity and Evil
One of the interesting elements of the social contract we have in a society is that government has a privilege of lawful force. This is a privilege, not a right. Whereas the citizenry has a right of lawful force for self-defense, the government has the privilege of lawful force to protect the property of others. While the Supreme Court can obfuscate on this issue, they have a conflict of interest – they are part of the government that they are trying to give rights to. When Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd, this was not a lawful use of force – once he was subdued, he should have been put in a safe position. One of the conditions of the government lawful force is that there is no anonymity
Anonymity is one of the most devastating tools of cowards. People are much more polite when they are responsible for what they say. If I say “Doug is a coward,” then Doug should know I am the one who said it. However, if I post “Doug is a coward,” under the screen name “Spice warrior 2387” then would I not be just as much of a coward for hiding who I am? We have seen the rise of anonymous trolling online as businesses are making fake accounts to attack their competition. Groups like ReviewTube are fighting against this by making people register to leave reviews, but there are millions of businesses being attacked through the veil of anonymity.
To make matters worse, apologists are trying to justify the “right” of people to be anonymous in an attack. The argument is “how can people speak truth to power if they are going to be held accountable for their words?” The truth is simple: make the value judgement if you are willing to make the risk to sound the alarm; otherwise, we have people making false claims with impunity across the country. We even see people who are known to have lied who are defended by apologists because “its difficult to be rich.”