Soapbox - Cancel Culture
Spread Knowledge, Don’t Cancel It
The hot news of the day, of course, is the discontinuation of six books written by Dr. Seuss due to “offensive imagery” within them. Naturally, this created controversy between two opposing views on the latest efforts of the so-called Cancel Culture.
The removal of these books strikes a chord with many individuals for at least two reasons:
1-It is only the latest in efforts to cancel material that is disagreed with by a select group, including statues, presidential imagery, books, movies, and even people from their jobs. It seems the cancel culture will never stop.
2-With great love and respect felt for the beloved children’s author, a sense of loss is felt because a part of people’s upbringing and childhood has also been canceled.
The concept of cancel culture poses a couple of immediate problems: The skew or obvious absence of consistency, and the effectiveness of this strategy as a whole.
The cancellation only seems to apply to certain areas, companies, and individuals but is not equally applied. There are accusations and conspiracies mentioning hidden political agendas behind the efforts of the cancel culture - though I am choosing to keep politics out of this post.
Secondly, the very idea of the cancel culture is faulty at best, with a greatly ineffective strategy. Cancellation only breeds ignorance (a literal lack of knowledge) which, unfortunately, promotes fear, anger, and repeats the cancellation cycle again when the desired result is not achieved.
As a parent, I recognize my duty to teach my children as much as I can - this includes teaching them about things that are wrong, dangerous, and evil.
When my kids were little, I cut their food for them, as most parents do. One day, as my son had gotten older, he asked, “Can I cut it?”
I told him yes, but we needed to have a quick talk first. Why? Because knives can be dangerous, and he needs to know when he is and isn’t allowed to use one, and what they are and are not for. The result being, I now have a child who can cut his own food and has not hurt himself or others in the process.
The concept is the same for other matters as well; there are good and bad sides to almost anything - in fact, I venture to say that anything good can be turned into bad if used inappropriately or to excess.
Theodore Roosevelt, a great president who accomplished great things, was also shockingly ignorant in some areas. The same president who stated “the only good Indian is a dead Indian”, a disturbingly dark and ignorant thing to say, also gave my family the ability to enjoy the splendid nature of the national forest only a couple of hours from our home. Theodore Roosevelt, like every other person, was not perfect nor was he evil - he had good and bad points to him.
Dr. Seuss was not flawless either, he had good and bad points to him as we all do. However, the day that Roosevelt’s statue was torn down as an effort of spite due to his racist ideology, his history and good the points were also torn down. The day that Dr. Seuss books were canceled, our children’s ability to enjoy and learn from those books was also canceled.
Removing history also removes the ability to educate future generations about the faults, failures, and successes of that history.
If you want to combat dark things, it starts with education. Your children and your children’s children have a right to know that there was and is darkness in the world. Destroying it, hiding it, and pretending it doesn’t exist will never accomplish this.
Don’t cancel… educate.
In the (hopefully) near future, my latest book The Punisher Cycle will come out. This book addresses punishment, anger, and hate as a cultural norm. A common fuel for anger and rage is fear - when we feel out of control, or simply do not understand we respond with anger, lashing out or attempting to cancel the things that make us feel powerless.
1 John 4:18 tells us that there is no fear in love, but perfect love cast out all fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love (ESV).
The response should be to teach, educate, discipline, and love, rather than fear, hate, and destroy. Because hate, cancellation, and destruction will only breed more of those very same things.
Likewise, love, education, and discipline will spread more of those things.