The Sierra Club officially disowned Muir because he was a racist prone to uttering the N word. Planned Parenthood of New York is removing Sanger's name from its clinic because she was an avowed eugenicist who was also notorious for canoodling with the KKK back in the day.
The Cancel Culture Club (CCC) has more than one criterion for membership.
President Woodrow Wilson, for example, was canceled earlier this summer because he was both a racist who uttered the N word and a eugenicist who wanted to cull Blacks, Browns, Asians, Poor White Trash and just about everyone that his entitled class deemed unworthy of inclusion in American society. The recent wokeness by Princeton University regarding its erstwhile hero makes Joe Biden's own recent claim that Donald Trump is the first racist president all the more baffling.
"The way he deals with people based on the colour of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from, is absolutely sickening,” the former vice president said. “No sitting president has ever done this. Never, never, never. No Republican president has done this. No Democratic president. We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed. They’ve tried to get elected president. He’s the first one that has.”Given his authorship of the Crime Bill, which has jailed Black people so disproportionately as to cause their incarceration numbers to exceed the number of slaves prior to the Civil War, and given his friendship with such white supremacist politicians as Jesse Helms and James Eastland, you almost wonder whether Biden is miffed because Trump demotes him to a sloppy second in the racist presidential sweepstakes.
To be fair, though, Biden is likely just being his same old befuddled self. But it is certainly strange that the establishment media is not questioning Biden's cognitive status as vociferously as it is hounding Trump over his. What president hasn't been racist? Even FDR made a deal with Southern Democrats to bar Black workers from the Social Security program in order to get it passed in Congress. Even Barack Obama, our first Black president, referred to Black protesters reacting to the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore as "thugs" as he passive-aggressively oversaw the worsening of the economic plights of Black communities during his eight-year stay in the White House. This doesn't even factor in the de facto racism of record deportations and droning dark-skinned people to death in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and other "tribal" areas. Come on, man.
Donald Trump, for his own part, reacted to Biden's racism accusations in his usual modest fashion:
“I’ve done more for Black Americans than anybody with the possible of exception of Abraham Lincoln. Nobody has even been close.”Abe Lincoln, for his own part, was also reputed to regularly utter the N word in conversation. He also seriously considered deporting newly freed slaves back to Africa or relocating them to a special colony in Panama, telling a quintet of Black leaders he invited to the White House just before his death that he believed "the African race suffered greatly by living among us, while ours suffers from your presence."
Well, at least he didn't use the term "shithole countries" as Trump so racistly did.
Conservative and liberal pundit-apologists alike love to make excuses for their beloved figures whenever they're caught behaving or talking badly, whether pre- or postmortem: "It's complicated." Or its close relative: "It was a different time."
But back to Margaret Sanger. Historian Edwin Black writes in "War Against the Weak" that Planned Parenthood has always been open about her history in the eugenics movement, which swept the nation in the early 20th more virulently than Cancel Culture is in the 21st. It was only when Nazi Germany co-opted its pseudo-scientific cant and exterminated six million Jews that the "progressive" eugenicists of the USA decided that it was probably best to shut up about culling undesirables.
When the pre-woke New York Times reviewed Black's book in 2003, though, it was dismissive of his "muckraking" on the rich and powerful proponents of the eugenics movement. Even though the Rockefeller Foundation funded three eugenics laboratories in Nazi Germany, reviewer Daniel Kevles wrote, it was unfair to claim that Hitler was inspired by such well-meaning American plutocrats, who really, really hated Nazism. Plus, it is patently unfair to single out the wealthy in the U.S. as the only ones desirous of a master race. The middle class was fully on board with eugenics, too. It was the zeitgeist, stupid! Mistakes were made. They meant well. Nobody could ever have predicted....
Meet the new Zeitgeist, a/k/a Cancel Culture, during the reign of President Hitler Trump.
So I'm curious. If you're going to cancel Margaret Sanger, then shouldn't you also cancel Andrew Carnegie, whose vast fortune provided the seed money for the Cold Spring Harbor eugenics research laboratory on Long Island? You might want to change the name of Carnegie Hall, Carnegie-Mellon University, the Carnegie Art Museum, and the Carnegie Foundation for Peace (Since the latter is a think tank funded by the "defense" industry for purposes of never-ending war and surveillance, its disbandment might not be such a bad idea.)
The aforementioned Rockefellers were also gung-ho eugenicists. Does that mean that we should change the name of Rockefeller Center and cancel the continued streaming of 30 Rock reruns, and boycott NBC? (again, not a bad idea, given that its executives reportedly are keeping The Apprentice outtakes of Donald Trump uttering the N word under lock and key.)
To prove their sincerity, the newly woke should cancel Nazi sympathizer Henry Ford by changing the name of his iconic car company right this very minute. But why stop there? Then we should get rid of Ford's overpaid CEO and investors, and let the workers take over ownership and production - once there's a vaccine, that is.
Above all, we should cancel the whole idea of forcing people to go back to work before it is safe for them to do so.
It has now reached the farcical point that the mere questioning of Cancel Culture will get you canceled.
Writers are so afraid of being called racist or misogynistic that they're shutting up and self-censoring to avoid giving offense and possibly losing their livelihoods along with their reputations. There is a distinct McCarthyesque stench to the self-righteous Cancel Culture Club.
Just as the original McCarthy era architects destroyed the New Deal and solidified social and economic inequalities by inventing the Communist threat, so too are a new generation of reactionary neoliberals and neocons engaging in Virtue Signalling Gone Wild as the whole capitalistic framework of oppression and legalized corruption collapses around them - a collapse hastened by Covid-19. Against all reason, the Cancelers are of the same breed (sorry, eugenicists!) as those promulgating the various manifestations of Russiagate. They need to constantly manufacture outside enemies to hide the fact that they are the enemy.
The hard right side of the ruling oligarchy, exemplified by Trump, decries the tearing down of Confederate statues and the disrespect shown by "terroristic" citizens of their militarized domestic police forces. The centrist, or soft-right, side, exemplified by Joe Biden's corporate Democrats and Lincoln Project Republicans, points the finger of racism at Trump while they themselves tacitly reinforce endemic racism through, among other things, refusing to entertain any discussion of Medicare For All during a pandemic which is disproportionately killing Black and Brown people. They reinforce global racism by giving Trump even more money that he wants or needs in order to continue oppressing and assaulting people both at home and abroad with tear gas, bombs, drones, and mob-style looting and intimidation.
With any luck, and with a lot of help from the activists and rabble rousers now out on the streets, the bickering oligarchs will cancel each other out before Covid-19 and climate change cancel out the rest of humanity.