I have been watching Republicans fall over themselves, not necessarily defending Marjorie Taylor Greene, but not calling her to account either. Her non-apology on the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday was an embarrassment, frankly. She followed the conservative playbook, carping about her freedom of speech and ‘cancel culture.’ This is someone, I might remind you, who put forth dangerous Q-Anon conspiracy theories as late as the fall of 2020, you know, the whackadoodlisms that led to the failed Insurrection of 6 January? As recently as September, she was openly calling for the assassination of leading Democrats. This is the kind of talk that usually gets a visit from the Secret Service, if not the FBI.
So, yeah, great. She disavowed Q-Anon. But rather than apologize for calling for the assassination of political opponents, she whined about ‘cancel culture.’
Put simply, there is no such thing. One of my favourite conservative hypocrisies these days is that they speak out of one side of their mouth about personal responsibility, and then ‘cancel culture’ with the other side. What they identify as such is actually nothing more than facing consequences for one’s actions. You know: personal responsibility.
But rather than face the music when their actions lead to censure, far too many on the right instead attempt to make themselves into victims, into martyrs for freedom of speech. And this is a fundamental problem, and one not limited to the right.
Yes, we are granted certain freedoms in the United States, as per the Bill of Rights. These include the right to freedom of speech, assembly, religion, and the right to bear arms, to not incriminate oneself, and so on. But the Framers of the Constitution did not stop there. Rather, they argued and accepted that with those freedoms came responsibilities. Generations of politicians, judges, and common Americans have accepted that. You know that bumper sticker that says ‘Freedom Isn’t Free’? That’s a perfect example. Freedom is also not absolute. Americans have agreed that it is not acceptable to yell ‘FIRE!’ in a crowded theatre.
And when the likes of Greene essentially do that, they are called to account. And then they cry foul, they parade themselves as victims, they refuse to take responsibility. Instead, they cry and whine about ‘cancel culture.’
It’s long past time where sensible people push back against this ridiculousness. This country has allowed this idiocy to perpetuate far too long. It is time to start thinking about the responsibilities that come with our freedoms.