Brickner: Senator Kevin Cramer confuses canceling culture and care

Recently, he wrote a letter to this newspaper to reprimand those who promote “the cancellation of culture”. And, of course, he considers “the left” to be singularly guilty. He wrote: “Cancel culture is getting out of hand in the United States. Once precious and protected, American rights and ideals such as freedom of speech, religion, capitalism and the free market of ideas are increasingly under siege.

Cancellation culture, as you probably know, is the notion of attacking those who say or do something that is considered insensitive or wrong, maybe sexist, racist, etc. Outrage leads prominent people or companies to face attacks on Twitter or even layoffs or boycotts.

In a way, Cramer is right: sometimes canceling culture goes to the extreme. For example, Matt Damon was attacked during the #MeToo movement for saying that all sexual harassment is not the same. He was right, yet he was pressured to apologize.

We also can’t just look at someone’s past. Look at someone like Christian Picciolini. It is the former neo-Nazi who now saves and deprograms extremists, despite death threats.

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But, Senator Cramer, there are some things that need to be reversed. Confederate flags, violent demonstrations and hatred in general. Cancel that.

Not acknowledging responsibility is important. This is one of Cramer’s mistakes.

Another mistake is its failure to recognize that “culture cancellation” is just as prevalent on the right. Try to attend a “pro-life” meeting where even saying that abortion should be allowed to save the mother’s life is generally taboo. Or try telling the GOP that President Biden legitimately won in a fair election. Some pastors are canceled for teaching against the Q-Anon conspiracy. Cancel, cancel, cancel.

Cramer even calls the reasonable restrictions “cancel cultivation.” Despite the wave of mass shootings, he finds all gun limits wrong. He opposes “radical anti-gun activists” when more than 90% of Americans want such limits, including gun owners.

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One puzzling argument is his opposition to the regulation of payday lenders, who are essentially legalized loan sharks. One site tells us that “the average APR on payday loans is 398% instead of the already high 28-36% for credit cards,” with repayment due within two normal weeks. But Cramer wants people to be “free” to be victimized.

This question concerns the most troubling part of his argument. He writes, “[T]here is a law that even Congress cannot change. The ultimate. I thought he would suggest the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Maybe he could even suggest the golden rule. But no. He identifies the ultimate law as “the law of supply and demand, which, in a free market, determines which businesses succeed and which fail, as opposed to the views of the canceled culture elite.”

Companies should therefore be free to do whatever they want, including promoting exorbitant loans or poisoning the water, as Dupont did years ago, resulting in the death of many cattle and the death of Americans from cancer. Profit is right. Is this the height of American ideals? Do you really care about North Dakotas?

Sorry, Senator Cramer. When you ignore the principles, fail to balance the market with ethics, maybe we should cancel you.

Interested in a wide range of issues, including social and religious issues, Brickner regularly contributes to the Forum’s opinion page. She is a retired English teacher, having taught in Michigan and Minnesota.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Forum Editorial Board or the ownership of the Forum.


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About Ernest Decker

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