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Is this cancel culture? Josh Hawley vs. The 1619 Project

Jonny Diamond

February 10, 2021, 10:27am

QUESTION ONE

Please examine the following examples and describe which one is “cancel culture,” and which one is the “marketplace of ideas.” Explain your answer.

A) Private citizens organize via the power of their wallets—i.e. a boycott—in protest of a book they find deeply noxious, putting pressure on a private company to consider the financial ramifications of publishing something many potential customers find loathsome.

B) A state legislature intercedes directly in the state-funded education of its citizens to legislate what history can be taught in schools, bypassing the traditional non-partisan protocols for determining curricula.

ANSWERS

A) Senator Josh Hawley, after first-pumping in solidarity alongside a murderous mob of insurrectionists on January 6, was dropped by his original publisher Simon & Schuster, who backed out of a deal to publish The Tyranny of Big Tech. But since there’s always a right wing PAC prepared to buy in bulk, Hawley’s book was quickly picked up by conservative publisher Regnery. Now, a group called Faithful America—an independent 501(c)4 not-for-profit organization that describes itself as “the largest online community of Christians putting faith into action for social justice”—has organized dual petitions, one urging Regnery to drop Hawley, the other asking bookstores to considering just not selling the book; as of this writing both petitions are approaching 20,000 signatures each.

B) Meanwhile, in Arkansas, Iowa, and Mississippi, state legislators have introduced bills banning classroom use of the New York Times’ widely lauded 1619 Project, calling it “a racially divisive and revisionist account,” claiming it “attempts to deny or obfuscate the fundamental principles upon which the United States was founded.” Functionally, this ban would withhold taxpayer funding from school districts in proportion to the amount of material from 1619 they use in classrooms; details on how those calculations would be made remain unclear. (State monitors in schools reviewing lesson plans, perhaps? Amiable, avuncular—even brotherly!—types there to keep watch?)

CONCLUSION

If you have decided that A) is a textbook example of cancel culture, and that you urgently need to write a Substack about it, you are a hypocritical grifter.

Fail.

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