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A generational threat to free expression

In the most recent City Journal, Eric Kaufmann, a professor of politics at Birkbeck College, University of London provides an overview of a the new generational divide within “cancel culture.”

Kaufmann rattles off some of the poll results collected by his new Manhattan Institute report, “The Politics of the Culture Wars in Contemporary America:”

“While 65 percent of Americans over 55 oppose Google’s decision to fire James Damore for having questioned the firm’s training on gender equity, those under 30 support the firing by a 59–41 margin. Similar gaps separate young and old people on similar instances of cancel culture, such as the oustings of Gina Carano (an actor fired from Star Wars for social media posts) and Brendan Eich (the former CEO of Mozilla forced out in 2014 for opposing gay marriage in 2008). Only part of this disparity stems from the fact that young people lean left: centrist young people, for instance, support Google over Damore by a 61–39 margin, while centrists over 55 support Damore over Google 58–42.”

Kaufmann notes that younger people are especially fearful of cancel culture:

“Forty-five percent of employees under 30 worry about losing their jobs because ‘someone misunderstands something you have said or done, takes it out of context, or posts something from your past online.’ Just 29 percent of those over 55 have the same worry.”

But, incredibly, young people still don’t oppose cancel culture:

“Most millennials and members of Generation Z are not cultural liberals too scared to say what they truly believe. Instead, many privilege cultural equality over freedom. By a 48–27 margin, respondents under 30 agree that ‘My fear of losing my job or reputation due to something I said or posted online is a justified price to pay to protect historically disadvantaged groups.’ Those over 50, by contrast, disagree by a 51–17 margin. Younger age brackets are both more fearful of cancel culture and more supportive of it than are older age groups.”

Read the full piece here.

ALERT: Check out our new Campus Cancel Culture Database!

IMAGE: ViChizh/Shutterstock

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