I am sure many of the conservative readers will look at the title of this article and probably be outraged. But I implore you to just hold on a minute and bear with me while I explain this concept. I am an alone Democrat in a family of many conservatives, so I have learned to either bite my tongue or create some good arguments. This idea is one of those arguments that I have made before that even made my stubborn father concede I had a good point. The cancel culture that so many conservative pundits like to scream and rage about is just an expression of capitalism.
Now, what do I mean about this? Cancel culture is in many ways a modern form of ostracism where if a public figure or company does an action that a significant group in society deems unworthy and in need of punishment, will push for such a punishment. This ostracization may come in the form of loss in employment or revenue, companies facing boycotts, loss of office, etc. So when someone does something wrong they are in terms canceled for that action. A famous example of this is when Chick Fil A’s CEO was making bigoted statements towards the LGBTQ+ community as well as some donations to support harmful policies to LGBTQ+ people overseas. In response, there is a continued boycott amongst many on the left towards the fast-food chain resulting in a form of revenue loss for Chick Fil A. Though the results have been pretty scarce at best.
So how is cancel culture a form of capitalism? To put it simply, this is just another factor that companies must take into account when dealing with the markets. Just as companies have to consider the price, quality, etc. of their goods, a consumer behavior trend amongst younger generations is the Social responsibility culture of the company making the goods. For example, H&M or other fashion clothes brands face lash back from consumers for their labor practices overseas even though H&M may put out a decent product for a decent price. This is the consumer doing what could be called ‘voting with their dollar’. The consumer is saying that they see the company’s actions and do not approve of them and so will not use their money there. As a result, it is up to the company to change its ways or continue to face a loss in revenue. So when the company does change their ways, this is just capitalism as work. The company is responding to market forces.
“But what about people losing their jobs?” So what about them losing their jobs? The same principle applies in this regard. If a consumer refuses to shop at a company because of an employee’s actions, then the company according to the principles of capitalism should remove the troublesome individual to maintain maximum revenue. A recent example of this in action is a lawyer from Texas being fired from his firm after participating in the Capitol Hill Siege. While the man has the right to free speech, he is not free from the consequences of that speech. His firm faced a PR nightmare and a potential hit in revenue as a result of his participation. Therefore by capitalist principles, they remedied the issue by firing him.
“But you don’t see conservatives doing that!” I laugh when I hear this and can recite so many examples to show that neither end of the political spectrum is innocent of this practice. Most of the time I just need to name Nike as a company that many on the right boycott and most of the time I hear back, “I will never buy from them!” That is when I point out that they are falling into the same cancel culture behavior. Therefore, they would be hypocritical to bemoan cancel culture when they fall into the same behavior. Cancel culture is just capitalism. Your dollars being invested based on your beliefs.
So next time that you hear a conservative friend or family morning raging against calls to boycott a corporation, or for an individual to step down from their position. Remind them that this is just the beauty of capitalism and free speech occurring. The consumers are responding to the actions of the company and deciding that they do not want to continue to support said organization with their dollars.