Tuesday Jan 18, 2022

The 8th Commandment in Cancel Culture

So apparently we're all still the Puritans that The Scarlet Letter taught us to revile: eager to shun, vilify, condemn, and label. Is this an American thing, a Christian thing, or a human thing? Is social condemnation the best bulwark against political condemnation or the gateway to it? How do we assess the difference between false witness and accurate witness to unhappy truths? Does "putting the best construction on everything" make suckers of us, easily manipulated and gaslit? And if we oppose cancellation, should we then cancel the cancellers?


1. Luther gives his explanation of the 8th Commandment in the Small Catechism

2. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago and "Live Not by Lies"

3. Havel, "The Power of the Powerless"

4. Bonhoeffer, Ethics

5. See Dad on MLK in Beloved Community, pp. 348–54, and also this exposition of "the Hinlicky rule"

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