Canceled People are Real People


This is a list of people who have been canceled.  I found it at

These are real people who have been censured or fired, or forced to resign, because of thought-crimes.  Doubtless it’s only a fraction of the real number, but it’s a start.

These real people used the wrong word. They quoted the wrong person.  They were deemed intolerant using a bar impossibly low.  They were labeled ‘phobic.’  They weren’t enthusiastic enough about the ’cause’ du jour.

They had jobs, then they didn’t.  People need jobs.  They work hard to get jobs. Those jobs allow them to provide for themselves and their families.  Those jobs are associated with insurance and retirement.  They are sources of identity and belonging.  They are (for better or worse) part of our validation as humans.

But then, all too often, they are snatched away.  Not because those people were evil.  They didn’t lose jobs because they were violent.  They weren’t hateful.  They didn’t embezzle.  They simply thought or said things that made other people unhappy, or angry.  Made them feel hurt.  Violated some narrative.

And so their bosses, in fear of greater retribution, in obedience to the endless whining and accusation of the ignorant, passionate mob, fired them.  They went home without income or insurance.  Worse, they went home all too often unable to work in the field where they had expertise, experience and passion.  They became untouchables.  They became scapegoats.  Real humans.

Our country is filled with people looking for fascists.  Convinced that tyrants are just around the corner, about to establish some monstrous police state.

Those same people, just like fascists, just like tyrants, make lists.  And use lists to punish people who think or say the wrong things. Those same people who every year prattle on and on about ‘banned book day’ and how awful it is that people try to ban books and ideas!  Then they ban people. They cancel people.

Doesn’t that sound like, you know, fascism?

The thing is, over the years I have had friends on the left.  Good friends.  Professional colleagues.  (It’s hard to be a physician now and not work with a significant number of people on the political left.)

These were people I thought highly of (and continue to consider excellent individuals).  Physicians I would gladly allow to treat my family.  On some issues, I disagreed with them.  But whatever happened in any election, I would never once have considered putting them on some list.  I would never have thought, ‘I heard him say XYZ, so I’ll make sure he loses his job.’  I would have considered that monstrous.  And puerile.  I still do.  If they wore their Che shirt, I wouldn’t cancel them. If they told me about the wonders of worldwide Communism, I wouldn’t cancel them.  If they told me my personal faith was ridiculous, I wouldn’t put them on a list.

Why is that?

Sadly, I fear we’ve only just begun.  But I think, I really think, there are answers and solutions.  But it may require that we play ‘the long game.’

I have some more thoughts for another day.

But until then, can we just stop canceling people?  Cancel your appointment, cancel your subscription, cancel HBO, cancel that automatic renewal of printer ink. And for goodness sake cancel your social media accounts.

Just don’t cancel human beings.



5 4 votes
Article Rating