Former Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard linked “cancel culture” to extremist groups like Isis and Al Qaeda during an interview on Fox News.
Ms Gabbard, who launched a failed bid for the Democratic presidential nomination last year, said the ill-defined term that has become a bludgeon for conservative voices went against the “foundational principle of our democracy.”
“It means that in a cancel culture, you have some people who believe that they are special, that they are superior, that they have the power to be able to shut down those who have ideas and views that are different,” she said.
She added that the end result of cancel culture — a catch-all term used derisively to describe the often internet-based backlash faced by people who say or do offensive things — is the violence perpatrated by international terror groups Isis and Al Qaeda, both of which have carried out mass killings of civilians in their quest to spread their brand of Salafist Islam.
“Let’s look down the path and say where does this cancel culture lead us? You see the final expression of cancel culture in Islamist terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda who basically go and behead those who they deem to be infidels or heretics in order to silence them, in order to protect others from being misled by those heretical ideas in the eyes of ISIS or Al Qaeda,” she said.
“When you look at the foundation of our democracy, it is based on this ideal, this principle of freedom, freedom of speech, freedom for every single one of us to be able to share our ideas and debate them, to argue them, to agree or to disagree, to pick and choose in this marketplace of ideas, those that we deem to be right or wrong to be superior or inferior and even for those ideas that may be misleading or dangerous, that in this free marketplace, we have the right to then defeat those ideas with with superior ones,” Ms Gabbard said.
Cancel culture has proven a near endless well for conservative lawmakers and media figured to draw from while engaging in culture war rhetoric.
During this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, numerous speakers — including Donald Trump and Sen. Josh Hawley — complained about cancel culture. Throughout the conference, conservatives used cancel culture to rail against what they believe is suppression by tech and social media companies and unfair coverage by news outlets.
The latest rash of cancel culture complaints revolved around Dr Seuss.
Conservatives raged when it was announced that Dr Seuss’s estate was pulling six books off shelves because of racial and ethnic stereotyping.
Furious conservatives raced to purchase Dr Seuss books, even though none of the books are illegal to buy or own.
Prior to that, conservative anger was focused on The Disney+ television show The Mandalorian after actor Gina Carano was fired for making a number of tweets deemed offensive by some for their transphobic and alleged anti-semitic content.