Paul L. Caron

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Judge Ho: Restoring America by Resisting Cancel Culture


James C. Ho (Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit), Agreeing to Disagree: Restoring America by Resisting Cancel Culture, 27 Tex. Rev. L. & Pol. 1 (2022):

Texas Review of Law & PoliticsThe purpose of these remarks is to protect students. But it's also to protect the rest of us. Because the spillover effects—on the legal profession, on corporate America, and on any number of other leading American institutions—are very real and very harmful. When we teach students to cancel others in the classroom, they take those lessons and use them on their employers, co-workers, and fellow citizens across the country. What happens on campus doesn't stay on campus.

The objective here is not to advance a particular viewpoint, but to ensure that students are exposed to all viewpoints. The goal is not to hamper anyone's career, but to protect everyone's careers. Cancel culture is a cancer on our culture. And we need a cure now, before it's too late.

We've reached the point where powerful law firm leaders and distinguished legal academics confess that they're "afraid" of their own associates and "terrified" of their own law students. Let that marinate for a moment. Why are they so afraid? These are not foolish people. What is it they fear that cancel culture can do to their lives, their careers, and their families? And what does that say about the state of the world we're living in today?

In this job, I often find myself inspired by the Russian novelist and dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and his famous essay, Live Not by Lies. For it seems that the lies are all around us.

I'm sure you're familiar with Grutter v. Bollinger. In that case, Yale assured the Supreme Court that it wants "a diverse and inclusive educational experience, teaching students to view issues from multiple perspectives" and "preparing a generation of public and private leaders for an increasingly pluralistic national and global economy."

Any school that refuses to stand up against cancel culture and instead caters to it, and even engages in it—is not a school that is interested in educational diversity. And it's not a school I want to have anything to do with.

I hope others will join me. But I will not live by the lie.

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