On Libertarians and Cancel culture

A) Libertarians

Even arch-libertarian John Stuart Mill concedes that “opinions lose their immunity if expressing them instigates a violent act”. An example cited in his main work “On Liberty” (1859) takes us back in time: an opinion that corn-dealers are starvers of the poor…may justly incur punishment when delivered orally to an excited mob assembled before the house of a corn dealer. But, according to Mill, same opinion would be ok to be circulated in the press. So, according to his definition, when radio propagandists in Rwanda are egging Hutus on to kill even more Tutsis, with 100,000s more killed as a result, Mills would presumably be ok with that. You know, as long as one is not shouting in front of the Tutsi houses. Not the sharpest bunch, these libertarians.

We used to have a simple view of violence, but humankind now recognises more harmful actions
An illustration for those that need to see the equivalence of hidden violence and the familiar physical violence.
One type of a Mill-fanboy today

B) Cancel culture

Cancel culture is linked to Libertarianism, but while today’s Mill fanboys are clearly delusional, the problems with Cancel arguments aren’t so easy to discern. Even if recognised as a more sophisticated, upgraded structure serving the same group, it is hard to critically evaluate not least because of its confused subject matter. Someone sacked by corporate HR hastily for fear of bad PR, small people protected by keyboards enjoying shouting misleading ideas from their selected rabbit hole on “social” media, or an corporate-backed ideologue writing opinion pieces on say “climate-hoax” in mass-media have very different drivers and benefit/damage ratios, but somehow they all end up lumped together as victims of “cancel culture” in the broader culture wars. Call me a cynic, but I can’t help but think this is but a convenient fudge, a bit like adding some hired hooligans to the demonstrations will sully the cause of all the demonstrators. But no examination of the variety of opinions is allowed by the anti-cancel-warriors — strident ideological voices will state in black-and-white terms that if ANY opinion is suppressed at all, we will ALL be eventually suppressed. Exactly like someone saying “if one hooligan hired by the anti-demonstration mob breaks one window under the cover of public gathering, all demonstrations are wrong”.



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