When I was in high school, Joe McCarthy was at the height of his fame and power, finding Communists under every bed. There were Communists serving in our government, attempting to advance the interests of the Soviet Union. Some of them were active spies. Joe was too lazy and disorganized to find any of them. He was a sloppy drunk, whose stock and trade was unsupported accusations. He did, however, succeed in severely damaging the reputations and careers of a lot of innocent people.
The left side of the political spectrum waged a relentless campaign (which I actively supported) against Joe and his fellow travelers on the House Un-American Activities Committee. Eventually they succeeded in sending Joe into exile and discrediting the anti-Communist crusade. It helped that the Truman administration quietly uncovered and removed from government service a number of spies.
Today, we have a new form of McCarthyism against which there is no crusade from the left. Quite the opposite. Establishment media is cheering. Social media titans and the publishing industry are cancelling Trump and his supporters. The stated reasons are suppression of incitement to violence and suppression of lies. The first is a justifiable red line; the second is not.
The appropriate way in a democratic system to deal with a lie is to assert the truth. Since none of us flawed human beings is possessed of the whole truth all the time, it pays to have some dialogue to get closer to the whole truth before settling on a conclusion.
Trump and his supporters told a lie. The election was stolen. The Democrats also told a lie, albeit a less serious one. Their assertion was that no irregularities or fraud occurred and the courts said so. That is not what the courts said. They concluded that the allocations of fraud and other irregularities were not sufficient to overturn the results of any of Joe Biden’s victories in swing states. No court found that irregularities did not occur.
If the left side of the political spectrum and its phalanxes of media pompom waivers would have acknowledged that major changes in voting procedures were done on the fly; that opportunities for mistakes and fraud were thereby created; and it had expressed a willingness to investigate the problems, #StoptheSteal might very well have had a lot fewer adherents. The truth is that elections need to be free and fair and PERCEIVED as free and fair, most especially by the losers.
Cancel culture, in all its forms, is a disgrace. Its adherents are intellectual cowards. The only way we can have a constructive dialogue is to dialogue, not cancel. The truth will set us free if we pursue it relentlessly.