Cancel Culture Is An Unprincipled Moral Panic That Will Be Weaponized By Bad People

Brian Beckcom
9 min readJul 13, 2020

Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of commentary on YouTube and Twitter about the “authoritarian left” and “cancel culture.” By their own account, the free speech warriors have led a brave charge against far left marauders. According to many people, the authoritarian left is tantamount to the Thought Police, every bit as dangerous, a real and present danger to free speech and Enlightenment values.

The list of free speech warriors include Sam Harris, the Weinstein brothers, Andrew Sullivan, James Lindsay, Joe Rogan, Claire Lehmann, and more. These commentators claim that there is a new, rising left-wing conspiracy, whose aim is to quell speech and thought, and to “cancel” those who don’t toe the left wing line.

Some of these commentators, like Lindsey and Lehman, focus entirely and exclusively on the perceived sins of the left. They claim they’ve uncovered a pernicious threat to free speech and democracy, a new and dangerous version of the Stasi. They praise each other for their bravery, risking censure or cancellation, all in the name of protecting free speech.

Here’s the truth, though: None of this is new. We used to call this “political correctness” in the 1990s. We were writing about the problems with political correctness in the early 1990s when I was the president of the Texas A&M College Republicans as well as the Editor in Chief of the Aggie Republican newspaper. Seriously, this is nothing new. We’ve been through this before. To borrow a phrase from the times, Lighten up Francis.

Have any of our free speech warriors read ”Illiberal Education” by Dinesh D’Souza, who I (somewhat embarrassingly, now) personally hosted for dinner and a speech at a Texas A&M College Republican event?

Give it a read. Please.

From the Amazon description: “Illiberal Education” “documents how the politics of race and gender in our universities are rapidly eating away traditions of scholarship and reward for individual achievement”

It says the exact same thing our free speech warriors say now, only 35 years earlier. (For the record, I have long since abandoned my college political beliefs). You are mini-D’Souzas.

Brian Beckcom

Trial Lawyer, Computer Scientist, & Philosopher. Podcast host for Lessons from Leaders. &