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Cancel Culture


June 16 2020

One unfortunate side effect of the George Floyd protests is that the “cancel culture” mob is out in force. 325 words

==David Shor has been fired==

One David Shor has been fired for linking, in a calm non-inflammatory manner, to some academic research on how violence in protests makes voters oppose the protests.1

David Shor did not advocate for anything that Martin Luther King would not had supported under the same circumstances. Indeed, he made the same point MLK’s daughter made in response to the George Floyd riots: “The only way to get constructive change is through nonviolent means”.2

==Steve Hsu is being attached==

One professor Steve Hsu is being attacked by a Twitter cancel culture mob for, among other things, discussing peer-reviewed science.3 The accusations being made against him appear to be baseless.4,5

To quote a letter written by four professors opposing this attempt at cancel culture:6

The principles of free inquiry and free expression are the cornerstones of enlightenment philosophy and the basis of a fully democratic society. Without them, what is left is authoritarianism, ideological tribalism, or mere traditionalism.
Objective facts are facts, and attacking or firing people who state facts that make one uncomfortable do not change the facts, any more than the Roman Catholic church threatening to torture Galileo because he said the earth rotates around the sun made the sun decide to rotate around the earth instead.

==“Defund the Police” redux==

I recently found someone who said we should literally abolish the police in a somewhat fringe “pulp magazine” website. We now have a piece in the opinion section of The New York Times advocating the same thing.7

Fortunately, there is some sanity left in the world: The comments section by and large explains why removing the police would be quite foolish, something I blogged about earlier this month.

I can see why some people see the police as a hostile occupying force, but eliminating them would be throwing out the baby (public safety) with the bathwater (police brutality).


  1. The Still-Vital Case for Liberalism in a Radical Age” by Jonathan Chait, published by New York magazine.
  2. Martin Luther King’s Daughter Says ‘Only Way to Get Constructive Change Is Through Nonviolent Means’” by Claudia Harmata, published by MSN
  3. Open Thread 156.25 + Signal Boost For Steve Hsu” by an anonymous writer, posted at the Slate Star Codex blog.
  4. From a letter written by Matt McGue, Regents Professor of Psychology, University of Minnesota. The letter states that “the charges against Professor Hsu are baseless”.
  5. Hundreds of MSU professors, GEU call to remove VP of research Stephen Hsu” by Wendy Guzman, writing for “The State News”, Michigan State University’s student newspaper. Quoting Hsu: “The accusations are entirely false — I am neither racist or sexist”
  6. From a letter written by Corey Washington, Joseph Cesario, Wei Liao, and John (Xuefeng) Jiang.
  7. Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police” by Mariame Kaba, published in the opinion section of The New York Times.

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