As a sovereign nation, the US engages in international relations. When it has problems with another country it may employ tools short of war such as economic sanctions, tariffs, quotas, embargoes, even severing diplomatic relations. The goal is to get a country to change its policies (or regime) to better align with our national interests. All that is fair game under international law. In today’s society, people increasingly mimic those tools on a personal level, often in concert with a political group to exert pressure against those they view as transgressors. If that pressure only takes the form of economic choice, as in boycotting products from China, or the recent boycott of Goya foods, then that’s fine. Every person has their individual right to vote with their dollars as they see fit, and that is simply the free market at work. Go for it. However, going after a person or institution simply because they have an opinion is contrary to our American ideals. Our tradition in this country is to not only protect free speech, but to affirmatively defend everyone’s right to free speech, even when we disagree with it, to the death if need be. That is a core belief and value in American culture, and one of the key differences that sets us apart from every other country. "Cancel culture” absolutely violates that American ideal. There is no uniform definition for cancel culture, but the general idea is that a group (they always seem to be on the extreme left) acts to silence, remove, or otherwise deplatform a person or institution perceived to be transgressing their beliefs. That is the antithesis of free speech. In fact, it is an effort to literally punish people who exercise their free speech rights. They do this through acts of intimidation. The goal of cancel culture is to regulate and control how other people speak. As if to say, “Thou shalt speak only in ways which meet our belief system. If you violate that principle, we shall force you into silence, or get you fired, or ruin your career, or shame you into oblivion.” Welcome to America in 2020. History clearly shows that when any group is empowered to intimidate, regulate, and control the speech, beliefs, or values of others, they abuse that power. Just consider this recent example from the University of Southern California: A professor, a member of the US-China Institute teaching a communications course, was placed on administrative leave for using a Chinese word that some people think sounds like the n-word, even though it is simply the Chinese word for “that.” This shows how acutely oppressive cancel culture can be. And you don’t even have to speak to be guilty in the eyes of cancel culture. A professor at Skidmore College (in New York) is being targeted simply because he attended a rally to support police. An American is being attacked for exercising his constitutional right to free assembly. He did not speak at the rally, he did not carry a sign, nada. Just by being there his career and reputation are now the target of cancel culture, which claims that what he did was, and I will quote directly from their petition, “threatening to Black Skidmore students.” These chilling, Orwellian examples of extremism should give you some idea of how critically dangerous cancel culture is for the ideals upon which our country was founded, and how abusive it has become. If ever we had a responsibility to affirmatively stand up and defend Americans’ right to free speech and free assembly, now is that time.