I am sure that there are a number of folks on the right who are raising a hue and cry over the decision by a number of newspapers to cancel “Dilbert” after Scott Adams, the creator of the comic strip, let lose a racist rant last week.
In the Feb. 22 episode of his YouTube show, Adams described people who are Black as members of “a hate group” from which white people should “get away.” Various media publishers across the U.S. denounced the comments as racist, hateful and discriminatory while saying they would no longer provide a platform for his work.
The Right-Wing Noise Machine will accuse the papers and the distributors of being part of the “cancel culture” by stomping all over Mr. Adams’s First Amendment rights, revealing that these Defenders of the Constitution lack the basic understanding that neither the papers nor the distributors are agents of the United States Congress, from whom the People are protected by the First Amendment. Corporations can do whatever they like in terms of freedom of speech, and it’s especially ironic that the ones who will raise this particular stink are the same people who support the real agents of the government such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his efforts to cancel LGBTQ people and Black history.
Mr. Adams made a conscious choice to voice his opinions, and no one is stopping him from doing it. But it doesn’t mean that the people he works for or the agencies that hired him have to give him a platform. Mr. Adams chose to be a racist troll, whereas the victims of the right-wing bulldozer of cancellation and Christian-nationalism indoctrination such as the LGBTQ and Black communities and their lives and history didn’t have the luxury of that choice; they simply are who they are. No one is forcing Mr. Adams or people who believe what he says to recant or be re-educated; that comes through the self-awareness that there is a difference between being a racist and proclaiming it out loud over YouTube. Your rights are not being violated just because society and your source of income disapprove of using you using your outdoor voice.
Mr. Adams brought all of this on by himself. It wasn’t the Cancel Culture that did it, nor was it a violation of his rights to lose his lucrative gig. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press, as he should have learned in his Grade 9 civics class, come with the responsibility of knowing when to keep your mouth shut.
He seems to have joined a group of men like Taibbi and Greenwald; I don’t know what happens to them, but they used to make sense. I have one of the older Scott Adams books – it’s been a while, but I seem to remember thinking it was good. Especially a chapter called the “Out at 5 Corporation.”