The top Republican member on the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Monday called on the committee chair Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) to hold a hearing to combat the rise of “cancel culture.”
The phenomenon where an individual is ostracized or “canceled” from social or professional circles for expressing certain political views is drawing significant concern among conservatives and others who have fallen outside prevailing politically correct views who see it as a dangerous move to publicly shut down dissent. It was also the theme of the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that recently concluded.
Cancel culture, which has its roots dating back to the French Revolution, is threatening fundamental free speech rights across America, Jordan said in a letter to Nadler.
“College campuses have canceled lectures because students disagree with the speaker. An editor for America’s newspaper of record was forced to resign for publishing an opinion piece by a Republican Senator with which the newsroom disagreed. Amazon has refused to sell books reflecting certain political views, and Twitter and Facebook have censored and de-platformed prominent conservatives including the sitting President of the United States,” he said.
He underscored the trend was dangerous regardless of an individual’s viewpoint.
“Our society must always promote the free exchange of ideas, not cancel the ideas with which we disagree,” he said.
He urged Nadler to work with Republicans to address the threat, saying that if censorship goes unchallenged then it would run the risk of shutting down “every viewpoint and every idea” in the future, not just “unpopular or controversial viewpoints.”
“We must fight this trend before it is too late,” he wrote. “There is no better issue on which Republicans and Democrats can work together to address in our first full committee hearing than to address the scourge of cancel culture in the United States.”
Cancel Culture: Its Origins and Implications for America
Nadler’s office did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.
Jordan, who focused on cancel culture during his CPAC speech, told The Epoch Times’ American Thought Leaders that free speech won’t exist if the left is the only entity that is allowed to define what speech is.
“That’s the scariest thing happening in the country. If you can’t have a First Amendment real debate, if you can’t speak out, how are you going to win. How are you going to win the tax debate? How are you going to win the border security debate? How are you going to win in any public policy issue? If only one side is allowed to talk? So that’s why we have to fight this more than anything else,” he said.
Republicans have begun pushing back, especially in the area of big tech censorship. Former President Donald Trump and several top Republican lawmakers have been calling for the abolishment or reforms to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to remove liability protections for companies that engage in what is perceived to be unbalanced moderation of user content that Republicans say typically targets conservative voices and viewpoints.
The companies have been accused of using their monopolistic powers to police speech they don’t agree with. The digital behemoths allegedly targeted their moderation of content against Trump and conservatives, in particular, during the lead up to the Nov. 3 election and after the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol. This led to Trump’s account being permanently suspended on Twitter and indefinitely banned on Facebook and Instagram. Many of these companies justified their censorship by saying it was necessary to protect against “harm.”