Cancel 'Cancel Culture:' New Poll Shows Americans Oppose Mob Retribution By 2-to-1 Margin

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Posted: Jul 23, 2020 1:05 PM
Cancel 'Cancel Culture:' New Poll Shows Americans Oppose Mob Retribution By 2-to-1 Margin

A follow-up to our earlier post on this story, with a more hopeful twist. We've been railing against weaponized outrage and cancel culture excesses for years -- literally -- and even more so recently.  f you find yourself looking around and thinking, "this is madness, when will people have enough of this?" you're not alone. It turns out that a lot of people are bearing witness to the current moment and prevailing winds and thinking, enough. That's the view held by most people, according to a new Morning Consult national survey:

Cancel culture is generally discussed as being performed on social media in the form of group shaming. A plurality (46%) of Americans believe that cancel culture “has gone too far.” About a quarter of Americans — many of whom are perhaps blissfully offline — said they didn’t know or had no opinion on the matter. When they are removed from the results, a clear majority — across almost every demographic category — says that cancel culture has gone too far...Twenty-seven percent of voters said cancel culture had a somewhat positive or very positive impact on society, but almost half (49%) said it had a somewhat negative or very negative impact...The poll also suggests that the public at large is more forgiving than the gladiators on social media.

The good news is that only about a quarter of the country (dominated by the Left) thinks the current "cancel" climate is a net positive for the country, with roughly twice as many believing the opposite. More good news is that normal people have more grace and forgiveness in their hearts than the social media "gladiators." The bad news is that the very online, very hostile combatants wield outsized influence and are winning the day, overwhelming the quiet majority and collecting scalps through their aggressive tactics. It's clear they're winning not only because of the avalanche of stories in recent news cycles, but because in a separate poll, a large majority of Americans say they're self-censoring out of fear:

Nearly two-thirds—62%—of Americans say the political climate these days prevents them from saying things they believe because others might find them offensive. The share of Americans who self-censor has risen several points since 2017 when 58% of Americans agreed with this statement.  These fears cross partisan lines. Majorities of Democrats (52%), independents (59%) and Republicans (77%) all agree they have political opinions they are afraid to share...Strong liberals stand out, however, as the only political group who feel they can express themselves. Nearly 6 in 10 (58%) of staunch liberals feel they can say what they believe. However, centrist liberals feel differently. A slim majority (52%) of liberals feel they have to self-censor, as do 64% of moderates, and 77% of conservatives.

The tyranny of the few. Hard lefties enforce their draconian speech rules on everyone else, with many cultural institutions and corporations bending the knee. The result is almost everyone else walking on eggshells in order to avoid the wrath of the mob. This is unhealthy and, frankly, miserable. This is also interesting, from the Cato data: "Although strong liberals are the only group who feel they can say what they believe, the share who feel pressured to self-censor rose 12 points from 30% in 2017 to 42% in 2020." This makes sense, as the Left is eating its own with increasing frequency. No conservatives were harmed in this recent debacle. I've spoken with multiple liberal friends in recent months who are growing fearful of ideological "allies" in their own social circles. Who wants to live like this, beyond joyless, hyper-woke activists and people who profit off of the culture of fear? Guilt and grievance exploitation is a booming industry. I'll leave you with this strange tale about the alleged gatekeepers of privilege and authenticity: