In recent months, social coercion has become a more effective means of restricting political speech than legal coercion. Opinions that were once common are now anathema, and campaigns to de-platform or even “cancel” proponents of these opinions are increasingly frequent. These attempts at "cancellation" are not merely fair-minded criticism. Rather, they involve efforts to punish those with heterodox views by banishing them from social media, pressuring their employers to fire them, harassing them in public, or threatening their families.
These new methods of social coercion have curtailed the range political views that can be expressed publicly without fear of social sanction. This lecture considers the implications of the new cancel culture, the norms it imposes on thought and expression, and the conformism it attempts to compel.