Uncommon Sense

May 3, 2021

The “New” Left

Filed under: Culture,History,language,Politics,Technology — Steve Ruis @ 11:03 am
Tags: , ,

In today’s post on the Dead Wild Roses blog, The Arborist, wrote:

“When I came back to Canada in 2014 . . . I left a culture that was steeped in a sentiment that could be summed up as, ‘I may disagree with what you say, but I respect your right to say it.’ I returned to a culture summarized by, ‘I disagree with what you say, so shut up.’ (Obaid Omer)”

“Quashing debate and argument seems to be the name of the game these days, as certain opinions have been designated as unapproachable or ‘settled’ topics. In a society that values the free exchange of ideas almost everything has to be on the table. Odious free-speech must be protected along with the prosaically milquetoast free speech.”

You do follow Arb’s blog, no? If not, you are missing some very good stuff.

Back to my main topic: I have seen comments about how intolerant the left has become and yada, yada, yada and I wondered what the source of these comments were. (I suspect they are from conservative spinmeisters.) Liberal dogma throughout my life has defended the right of those we abhor to speak, but is this changing? Certainly there isn’t much person-to-person public discourse going on during this pandemic, so much of this must be second hand.

I tend to think the anonymity of the Internet is a player once again. Back when discussions were face-to-face, if one said something despicable, there were immediate responses, most unpleasant. We had got to the point that outright racist comments were rare as the consequences were too dire.

But now, if you read something you disagree with, you can flame the author using language you would not get away with out in the open. And the discourse level is often set by the most vociferous.

I think we are still adjusting to social changes such as Internet communication. I remember when “cancel culture” was a feature of the right: book burnings, rock ‘n’ roll record burnings, boycotts against celebrities who took unpopular political stands (Jane Fonda, perhaps, is a good example), etc. The left didn’t do this so much. Now that some of the more liberal bent are using the same tool as the right previously used, the professional whiny bitch conservatives are decrying the “cancel culture” as if it were just invented. (They hate a level playing field, so when a field is leveled, they pivot ninety degrees.)

So, “cancel culture” is not even a thing, certainly not a new thing. It is just us expressing our opinion about another’s speech. In the old days, you got to direct it face-to-face and then through gossip. Today you can marshal many thousands of people’s efforts almost instantaneously.

What we will come up with to rein in this overly exuberant behavior I do not foresee but there will be something. There always is.


  1. There are still some standards in place … or at least they seem to be in place if one complains loud enough and/or to the people that can take action. Case in point — Scottie’s blog is currently off-line due to a WP “suspension.” If you visit his blog at all, most everything he posts is from other sources, so one wonders if the “sources” have also been banned.

    As for “cancel culture” — it was the best thing Twitter every did when they canceled you-know-who!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Nan — May 3, 2021 @ 12:07 pm | Reply

    • Scotties Blog? Really? He is the sweetest guy? I stopped following his blog because there were too many posts (my inbox is exploding all of the time) so I was unaware of that.

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 3, 2021 @ 12:34 pm | Reply

  2. I tend to think the anonymity of the Internet is a player once again.

    That’s it in a nutshell. 100%.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by john zande — May 3, 2021 @ 5:00 pm | Reply

  3. Apart from Jane Fonda, another prominent case is that of the Dixie Chicks.


    Comment by SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ — May 3, 2021 @ 6:00 pm | Reply

    • Yep, and their response was to reduce the import of country music radio substantial in determining the success of a record. Serves ’em right. (They were ready to play nice … apparently.)

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 3, 2021 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

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