Mobs and the Workplace
Posted: July 30, 2020
'Cancel Culture' needs to slow down…
Editor's Note: This morning, while reading the opinion page of our local paper, one column brought to mind our June 27 piece by Greg Asimakoupoulus, ": Why attempts to revise history are risky…" In a similar vein, Veronique De Rugy wrote about the current rush of "cancel culture" in her column, "When mobs, morality meet the markets." Following is an excerpt, with a link to the full column at the bottom of the page.
A wave of hasty firings is sweeping across the country, driven by demands from what some call the “cancel culture.”
The New York Times editorial page editor James Bennett ran an op-ed from Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, that displeased the paper’s readers and some colleagues, so he lost his job. The chief curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Gary Garrels, lost his job, too, after he was accused of being a racist for saying he would still collect art from white men.
But the list of those who lost their jobs is much longer, and the rationale is sometimes as stunningly weak as someone liking the wrong tweet.
As a result, fear has gripped many workers: Any day, any worker can be fired for simply angering a Twitter mob.
Meanwhile, employers are left wondering how they should react when one of their employees becomes a target.
Every case is different, and employers should be able to dismiss workers. “Employment at will” remains the best labor policy. However, one piece of wisdom is worth following: During scary, emotional or angry times, don’t act hastily. Slow down.
There is value in not making rash decisions during stressful times.
This rule of not acting out of passion is central to our political system. James Madison, in “Federalist No. 10,” warns of impetuous mobs or factions “united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” As such, Madison and the Constitution’s other architects created a system of governance that discourages fast, immediate action and gratification.
The built-in slowdown requirement enshrined in the Constitution is also present in our legal system. Due process means that no stage of legal proceedings can be dispensed with, preventing government from acting too hastily.
Today, the wisdom that inspires our constitutional system and many other fields could help private firms when responding to the demands of an impetuous mob. . . .
© 2020, Creators
This article also appears on Stu Johnson's "" blog.
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