Today’s cancel culture is a prime example of one of several highly influential instruments of social control outside the state. Many libertarians fall prey to the temptation of brushing aside the importance of cultural institutions and non-state means of social control because they don’t violate the non-aggression principle.
Progressives, however, have long recognized the importance of non-state foundations of social order, including public opinion. One can readily recognize today’s “organs” that form the “rallying point of public opinion”: academia, the mainstream corporate media, social media outrage mobs, and – to a growing extent – corporate boardrooms.
Today, the biggest threat to free speech and expression is coming not from the government but from “cancel culture.” The fact that this threat is not coming from the government should serve as a lesson that libertarians who turn a blind eye to non-state sources of social control do so at their own peril.