The new McCarthyism
By Scott Sumner
A new McCarthyism is emerging. Marxist intellectuals are being “canceled” with increasing frequency. So why aren’t we hearing more about this problem? Perhaps because the attempts to cancel Marxists are now coming from the left.
When David Shor recently lost his job it could be argued that he wasn’t being cancelled because of his Marxist beliefs, rather it was for tweeting a routine academic study by a black scholar.
In the most recent case, however, a prominent black Marxist scholar named Adolph Reed was barred from speaking at a left wing political event precisely because of his Marxist beliefs. Recall that Marxists believe that the most important distinctions in society are between economic classes, and that workers of the world should unite. That’s also Reed’s view.
This sort of traditional Marxist theory is now viewed as racist, because it denies that race, not class, is the most important distinction in society. Thus, just as in the early 1950s, Marxists are being cancelled—this time by their fellow leftists.
PS. Reason magazine directed me to a wonderful short essay on cancel culture by Nick Cave. Who says pop stars aren’t worth listening to?