This week, more than 150 of the world’s leading authors and thinkers, including J.K. Rowling, Margaret Atwood, Noam Chomsky, and Gloria Steinem, published a letter in Harper’s Magazine entitled, “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate.”
The letter stated: “The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted… But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought.”
Today, we are witnessing an all-out assault on free expression and debate. Harry Potter author Rowling and Canadian feminist Meghan Murphy, have endured hostile, often violently misogynistic, attacks for their views on gender.
Murphy was even banned from Twitter for her “wrong speak” and has had to hire security guards to protect her during her public talks.
Conservative cabinet minister and [former Canadian Alliance] leader Stockwell Day was forced to resign from several positions for denying that “systemic racism” exists in Canada.
Former Evergreen College Professor Bret Weinstein was driven off his campus by an angry student mob after the Bernie Sanders-supporting instructor expressed reservations about the college’s equity programs. In Washington, D.C., a group of school children was defamed by major networks and verbally abused on social media over what turned out to be a misreported incident at the Lincoln Memorial. (CNN later settled a libel lawsuit out of court with some of the students). Everyday citizens have been fired from jobs and publicly ostracized after being captured on video, sometimes during awkward moments and without full context.
Make no mistake: “cancel culture” is a threat to a free society. And, now cancel culture has come for our town. This week, self-appointed social justice advocates singled out a local business for selling merchandise branded with the term “Squampton.” As many have noted on social media, “Squampton” was coined by residents as a source of pride when, years ago, our town was derided as a backwater by those on their way to Whistler. The term has no racial connotations whatsoever. It is troubling that a business, long lauded by our community, became the target of a harassment and smear campaign.
I have a “Squampton” bumper sticker on my vehicle and will continue to proudly display. I encourage others to do the same.