Young Americans More Supportive of Cancel Culture, Also More Afraid of It

According to Eric Kaufmann, the Manhattan Institute, young people fear cancel culture more than they do older Americans. However, they also support it more, according to Eric Kaufmann’s new survey. The report surveys attitudes towards various cultural war items such as critical race theory and free speech on college campuses.

When analyzing polling data from a variety of surveys, Kaufmann found that 45 percent of working people under the age of 30 were afraid of losing their jobs because “someone misunderstands something you have said or done, takes it out of context, or posts something from your past online”—i.e., the kind of social sanction typically described as cancel culture. Only 29 percent of Americans over 55 had the same fear.

However, Gen Z members and younger millennials have more to be afraid of cancel culture than they do from the cancellation industry. They are more open to accepting these terms.

“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,'” notes Kaufmann. “Those over 50, by contrast, disagree by a 51–17 margin. The older generation is less supportive and fearful about cancel culture than those in younger age brackets.

Kaufmann rebuts the notion that this is hypocrisy: It seems like many young people have a selfless attitude.

Instead of judging them as being inconsistent and thin-skinned we need to see them as adhering to a coherent set of ideas. “An individual aged 18–25 who fears cancellation has a nearly 60% chance of agreeing that this is a justifiable price to pay to protect minorities, compared with only 10% of the oldest survey respondents who fear being canceled.”

This is just one of many findings in the report that describes youths’ affinity for what it calls. Cultural socialismThis is a worldview which “values equality results and harm prevention in identity groups” and has “inspire race-based education and harsh punishments of controversial speech.” Kaufmann compares it with Cultural liberalismPresumption that favors free speech, individuality, due process. This compromises an older way of thinking about issues socially.

This is a crude categorization, so it is difficult to know what each one means. Socialist The newer attitude. Think that government should Prevent Private employers could not discipline employees for a previous social media post or misunderstanding. More(Socialist stance. The results of the survey are interesting. Young people seem to be more open-minded about cancel culture.

And while ideology remains the very best predictor of support for cancel culture—with progressives supporting it and conservatives opposing it—age was a remarkably useful proxy: Cancel culture drew some support from young Republicans, for instance.

Kaufmann writes that younger respondents tend to be more political-biased, even when they are controlled for race and party affiliation. According to Kaufmann, 55 percent [Joe]Biden voters under 25 would not consider hiring a [Donald] Trump supporter for a job, dropping to 39 percent for the 26–49 group and 29 percent for those over 50. Only 23% of Biden’s young supporters stated that it would be easy to have lunch with Trump supporters, while this compares with 42% of Biden voters older than 25.

Kaufmann’s study does not present a bright picture of libertarians’ future. Younger Americans tend to be more in favor of cancel culture, and less interested in the use of state power to rectify perceived wrongs. The older Republicans may be more liberal and willing to take government action. However, the younger Republicans seem less inclined. “This indicates a possible shift in GOP’s base toward more interventionist and less libertarian forms of conservatism.”

Many convincing is needed for those who are against the excessive cancel culture, but don’t believe that giving government greater authority over setting the rules is the best approach.