Are people denouncing you to your employer, your professional groups or your social connections? Are you being blacklisted from jobs and social opportunities? Does what is being said to or about you have the goal—or foreseeable effect—of jeopardizing your livelihood or isolating you socially?
A critical culture seeks to correct rather than punish. In science, the penalty for being wrong is not that you lose your job or your friends. Normally, the only penalty is that you lose the argument. Even the phenomenon of retracting papers is new and deservedly controversial, because the usual—and very effective—method has been for science to simply discard mistakes and move on. Wrong answers and bad science die on the vine and disappear. Incentives are mostly positive, not punitive: for being right, you win citations, promotions, fame and fancy prizes. Taking a punitive attitude toward mistakes undermines the scientific process because knowledge advances by trial and error.
Canceling, by contrast, seeks to punish rather than correct—and often for a single misstep rather than a long track record of failure. A professor swears to “ruin [a graduate student’s] reputation permanently and deservedly.” Campaigners against an art curator declare he “must be removed from his job, effective immediately.”
The point is to make the errant suffer.
Also der Unterschied zwischen „da wird auf einen Fehler hingewiesen“ und „sie wollen das du keine Aufmerksamkeit mehr bekommt, selbst wenn du den Fehler korrigierst
Are campaigners attempting to prevent you from publishing your work, giving speeches or attending meetings? Are they claiming that allowing you to be heard is violence against them or makes them unsafe?
A critical culture tolerates dissent rather than silencing it. It understands that dissent can seem obnoxious, harmful, hateful and, yes, unsafe. To minimize unnecessary damage, it goes to great lengths to encourage people to express themselves in a civil manner. But it also understands that, every so often, an obnoxious dissenter is right—and so it opposes silencing and deplatforming.
Canceling, by contrast, seeks to shut up and shout down its targets. Cancelers often define the mere act of disagreeing with them as a threat to their safety or even an act of violence. Staffers at the New York Times claimed that the mere act of publishing a controversial op-ed piece endangered them. Staffers at the New Yorker demanded that Steve Bannon be deplatformed. Shout-downs, disinvitations and demands for retractions and withdrawals are cancelers’ stock in trade.
Also die Auffassung, dass man „so jemanden keine Bühne bieten darf“ verbunden mit der Ansicht, dass es da auch nichts zu diskutieren gibt. Auch ein Grund warum in dem Bereich der Hinweis auf die Meinungsfreiheit und das Austauschen von Argumenten nicht verstanden wird – es geht nicht darum die richtige Lösung zu finden, die richtige Lösung ist bereits bekannt und der „falschen Ansicht“ raum zu geben ist dann ein Zeichen einer schlechten Gesinnung. Liegt natürlich auch daran, dass in „Macht“ gedacht wird: Wenn alles Machtkämpfe unter Gruppen und Ansichten ist ist ein Auftreten lassen der falschen Seite eine Schwächung der eigenen Position, gerade wenn man dann noch den Gedanken aufgibt, dass etwas objektiv war ist und nicht nur ein Machtkampf das Ergebnis bestimmt.
Does criticism appear to be organized and targeted? Are the organizers recruiting others to pile on? Are you being swarmed and brigaded? Are people hunting through your work and scouring social media to find ammunition to use against you?
Critical culture relies on persuasion. The way to win an argument is to convince others that you are right. Often, of course, schools of thought form, and arguments between them can grow heated; but organizing pressure campaigns against political or ideological targets is usually considered out of bounds.
By contrast, it’s common to see cancelers organize hundreds of petition-signers or thousands of social media users to dig up and prosecute an indictment. Recently, for example, campaigners picked through the social media posts of the psychologist (and member of Persuasion’s Board of Advisers) Steven Pinker in the hope of digging up some kind of case against him. Though they only came up with trivial charges, such as that he had twice used the terms “urban crime” and “urban violence,” they got hundreds of signatories to join a group denunciation.
Es geht also über die Sache hinaus und man versucht mit möglichst vielen irgendetwas zu finden bzw den Eindruck zu erwecken, dass eine breite Mehrheit diese Meinung falsch findet.
Is there an explicit or implicit threat that people who support you will get the same punitive treatment that you are receiving? Are people putting pressure on employers and professional colleagues to fire you or stop associating with you? Do people who defend you, or criticize the campaign against you, have to fear adverse consequences?
With its commitments to exploring a wide range of ideas and correcting rather than coercing the errant, a critical culture sees no value in instilling a climate of fear. But instilling fear is what canceling is all about. By choosing targets unpredictably (almost anything can trigger a campaign), providing no safe harbors (even conformists can get hit), and implicitly threatening anyone who sides with those who are targeted, canceling sends the message: “you could be next.”
Thus, a canceled journalist was quickly dropped by his employer, his professional association and his publisher, becoming “radioactive,” as he put it. (At last check, he was applying to law schools.) In the resulting climate, people will often join public denunciations or refrain from defending targets they believe to be innocent, to avoid becoming controversial themselves.
In der Tat eine beliebte Taktik: Wer mir nicht zustimmt, der ist mein Feind. Und wer gar noch denjenigen hilft oder ihm nahesteht, sei es auch losgelöst von der konkreten Angelegenheit um die es hier geht, der ist mitschuldig.
Is the tone of the discourse ad hominem, repetitive, ritualistic, posturing, accusatory, outraged? Are people flattening distinctions, demonizing you, slinging inflammatory labels and engaging in moral one-upmanship? Are people ignoring what you actually say—talking about but not to you?
Precisely because speech can be hurtful, critical culture discourages extreme rhetoric. It encourages people to listen to each other, to use evidence and argumentation, to behave reasonably and to avoid personal attacks.
Cancel culture is much more invested in what philosophers Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke call “moral grandstanding”: the display of moral outrage to impress one’s peer group, dominate others, or both. Grandstanders who condemn someone are not interested in persuading or correcting her; in fact, they are not really talking to her at all. Rather, they are using her as a convenient object in a campaign to elevate their own status. Pile-ons, personal attacks and bidding wars to show the most outrage are all ways of engaging in moral grandstanding.
Daher auch der Begriff des „Shitstorms“. Auf diesem Weg schafft es auch eine sehr laute radikale Minderheit enormen Druck aufzubauen.
Are the things being said about you inaccurate? Do the people saying them not even seem to care about their veracity? Do they feel at liberty to distort your words, ignore corrections and make false accusations?
Concern for accuracy is the north star of a critical culture. Not everyone gets every fact right, nor do people always agree on what is true; and yet people in a critical culture try to present their own and others’ viewpoints honestly and accurately. Though I may fail to live up to this standard in some cases, I recognize that I should address what you actually said, not an inflammatory caricature or some out-of-context quotation.
One of many reasons Donald Trump is a menace to democracy is that he views truth instrumentally, as something to use, abuse or ignore depending on the needs of the moment. He repeats discredited assertions again and again—or shifts ground to another when one assertion is definitively debunked. Cancelers often play the same kind of rhetorical Calvinball.
Cancelers’ characterizations of a paper by the philosopher Rebecca Tuvel, for example, were demonstrably incorrect. The person who initiated the campaign even admitted to not having read the supposedly objectionable paper. “So little of what has been said … is based upon people actually reading what I wrote,” Tuvel lamented in a public statement.
But that did not stop anybody. For canceling is not about seeking truth or persuading others; it is a form of information warfare, in which truthiness suffices if it serves the cause.
Truthiness wurde von Steven Colbert erfunden und wäre wohl mit „Wahrheitlichkeit“ zu übersetzen. Die Definition ist: „Das Wort beschreibt den Umstand, etwas aus dem Bauch heraus zu wissen, ohne auf Beweise oder Vernunft abzustellen. Gemeint ist eine „Wahrheit“, die dadurch entstehe, dass sie sich intuitiv wahr anfühle, nicht jedoch den wirklichen Gegebenheiten entsprechen müsse“
Man könnte auch sagen: Etwas was wahr sein sollte. Und das passt sehr gut zum intersektionalen Theorien, der es liebt mit vagen Begriffen wie „Patriachat“ und „Privilegien“ zu arbeiten und Unterdrückung sieht, wo eigentlich keine ist.