“But a fool believes he sees
The wise man has the power to reason away.” — Michael McDonald
Whole generations of people have misunderstood the mechanisms of free speech. It’s to the point where it almost becomes comical. It’s happened again with the “great” Mike Lindell. I don’t know if the pillows he sells work or not. I’ve never bought one and I don’t know anyone that has.
However, the once profitable businessman has fallen on hard times. He has been peddling his conspiracy theories as it pertains to the 2020 election and it seems most people just want it to go away. Meanwhile, his apologists think we should continue to buy his products and demand that he has a platform to share his bile.
The fools bring two misconceptions to the table. The first misconception is that speech is somehow connected to commerce in a positive way. I’m not going to buy his shitty pillows. I never was going to buy his shitty pillows. He could have been a progressive AOC fan (not that I am a devotee of her either) and it wouldn’t have mattered.
The second misconception is the one we have heard left and right for over the past year. Somehow, we are canceling Mike Lindell when we stop buying his product or question his sanity (or both). This cancel culture thing has gone way too far. No, it’s not the cancel culture part, but the cries from mostly conservatives that this cancelling is somehow unfair.
Ideas are kind of like consumer goods. People will buy them or not buy them. I don’t have a duty to buy anything. As a consumer in a free society I am free to purchase what I want. The same goes for ideas. I am free to respond to ideas anyway that I see fit. At that point, others can respond to my response anyway they see fit. I think everyone understands how this goes.
However, people in business have an added layer in this whole freedom of expression thing. In particular, a sole proprietor like Lindell is dependent on his reputation. When you lie about politics and spew theories that are deranged then it is natural for people to assume you are deranged in general. I and most people don’t generally purchase products from someone that is deranged.
So, when we see folks holding up signs that say “sovering” or post messages on social media about how “great an American Jesus was” we have the right to consider those people to be idiots. It’s not canceling. It’s simply a natural response to what we see in front of us. If a majority of people think you’re idea is stupid then they might be led to believe that you are also stupid. That’s just the way the world works.
I think what boggles the mind is that people used to understand this. They understood this because they were on the giving end. When artists, entertainers, and businesspeople showed themselves to be anything but wholesome, they pounced with boycotts and combative speech of their own. Now, it seems that times have changed and sensibilities have changed. Bigotry and intolerance are no longer commonly accepted values. Now, they are getting a dose of their own medicine. So, they are getting canceled. Oh well.