Bowing out to Institutional Capture Isn't a Move Against It

Mumford and Sons member leaves said band

TDLR: Mumford and Sons member tweeted about Andy Gno's Antifa book, faced a lot of vitriol backlash, got cancelled (as the kids call it), apologized profusely, reflected on that as ideologically compromised, quotes Rod Dreher Solzhenitsyn in deciding to "live not by lies", and quits the band so that he can speak more freely.

I hope in distancing myself from them I am able to speak my mind without them suffering the consequences.

OK a couple points. First Marshall is explicitly repeats that he is no conservative, but somewhere between centrist and liberal. He makes great pains to call out both the far left and far right are equally horrible, multiple times.

Something about this reverse fine-people move is grating. I get that's an honest take, and more honest than blind partisanship. Moreover, I get that its relevant to attempting to claim center status, by vocally pushing back on both directions.

But I can't help but notice that I don't ever see it work the other way. Centrists have to qualify that the far right is bad too, whenever criticizing the left, but nobody ever has to qualify the opposite way.

Want to say Antifa's bad? You gotta also condemn Trump. Want to say Trump's bad? Enough said, hold for applause. Anyone who doesn't do that loud enough (Glenn Greenwald) gets accused of having become a rightwing grifter.

Anyway, that's the low hanging fruit point. Here's my meatier take. Self-cancelling is a way to soothe your cognitive dissonance, it's not a way to fight cancel culture. I am reminded of the story posted earlier this week about

Vivek Ramaswamy: Woke, Inc: Why I’m blowing whistle on how corporate America is poisoning society

I almost made this same point then, but glad I waited because here are two back to back examples. Look, I get a certain level of integrity in wanting to keep your politics clear from your career, but this pattern is just wild, especially what a one sided strategy it is. The guy gave CEOship of his company to a political opponent because he didn't think he should make political statements and also be a CEO. That makes no sense. I get not wanting to make your a job political weapon, but the opposite of bad is a different kind of bad. I do not understand endorsing the idea that, I shouldn't be able to hold my job, do it professionally, and also speak my political opinions. Isn't that what you should be fighting for?

I am not suggesting reverse institutional capture, but simply not bowing out to the reigns of institutional capture and then framing it as some sort of move against it. Loudly leaving positions of prestige/ influence / power because you don't feel like you can stay in them and have unorthodox opinions is not a W against cancel culture. It is full cooperation. It is better than an apology.

Dude, you're not "blowing the whistle", you are cooperating in their consolidation of progressive hegemony, and then slinking off to write a vanity novel that will move no needles and only ever get read or talked about by audiences who already agree with you.

Contrast these two reactions to that Factorio video game guy this week who said something like "Take your cancel culture and shove it".

Being able to say that and keep on working is the (classically) liberal goal, not forcing everyone who has an opinion out of a job but having so much dignity that you start with yourself.

Imagine being on the board of a company, and the white other board members start talking about how they need more diversity on the board. You stand up and say, "I don't think a board should prioritize diversity for diversity sake, so I quit! And you can go ahead and back fill me with a diversity hire! Take that!"

If this Mumford guy had said, "Take your cancel culture and shove it. I can think for myself. Now let's get back to the music!" and then never said a single political thing again, I think he would have a stronger and broader social impact with the point he wanted than anything he might ever say or write now.