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Opinion
Pankaj Mishra

No, Cancel Culture Isn't a Threat to Civilization

A cacophony of new voices are just making it harder for famous and powerful people to blather on about all sorts of things without interruption.

Trump is the foremost proponent of silencing his critics. 

Trump is the foremost proponent of silencing his critics. 

Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images

A specter is haunting Western democracies. No, it is not the surging pandemic, mass death or catastrophic unemployment. It is, if you believe Donald Trump and some of his critics, the end of free speech and the advent of “cancel culture.” 

Trump defined the new menace to civilization in his speech at Mount Rushmore, claiming that far-left fascists were “driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees.”