Twitter censored author James Lindsay the day after he discussed Cancel Culture with podcast host Joe Rogan.
Lindsay, who calls himself the “leading expert on wokeness,” was temporarily suspended from Twitter after discussing cancel culture on Rogan’s podcast. Lindsay gained notoriety when he and two other authors pranked numerous academic publications by writing papers satirizing social justice causes. Seven of their articles were actually published, enraging academia. He discussed many controversial household issues with Rogan, including how Cancel Culture has become a powerful religious ideology that dominates modern society.
Operating Partner at Accomplice and angel investor Sarah A. Downey tweeted a screenshot at midnight on July 9 showing that Lindsay had been suspended. She commented:
.@ConceptualJames went on @joerogan, said things that are apparently against groupthink rules, and suddenly his @Twitter account is suspended. He’s a PhD, 6-time author, and expert on woke ideology. He’s a voice we should be allowed to hear, especially now. #censorship.
More than 10 hours after his suspension had been revealed, Lindsay’s account was restored without explanation. Lindsay commented on the absurdity of the situation:
I'm apparently back in. Never had any explanation for why or how I got locked out. I am very grateful for all the support I'm told you all showed during whatever this hiccup was. My followers (even the hate follows?) remain the best.
Lindsay made a precautionary tweet to let his followers know he could be followed elsewhere if he was deplatformed again:
“In case Twitter restricts me again, I'm on other social too. I'll pivot to using those accounts primarily if I have to. Until then, enjoy the tweets!”
In the first hour of the three-hour interview on Rogan’s podcast, Lindsay and Rogan had a powerful discussion about the quasi-religious nature of Cancel Culture in modern America. “That’s really the thing that gets me, is how similar this is,” Rogan commented, to “not just really religious ideology, like how rigid it is, but also indoctrination like religious cults, how they indoctrinate people.”
Lindsay offered his theory in response that Cancel Culture naturally occurs even in an ostensibly secular society because “it comes down to our natural religious impulses.” In short, he suggested that even among secular society, there is a desire to establish belief systems to order society around.
Lindsay, an atheist himself, described how one approaches belief systems entirely changes how one seeks to reorder society:
Some religions look up, they're like looking at God and they’re afraid of sin but they’re paying attention to God. They’re thinking about renewal. They're thinking about redemption. They’re thinking about forgiveness.
Lindsay contrasted this with other religions who “look down, and all they do is look at the sin and they focus on the sin and that’s where the witch hunts came from.” He added that, “If you’re looking down you’re gonna start obsessing about everybo- if you’re obsessing about sin you’re gonna start obsessing about everybody else’s sin, too.”
His new book, co-authored with Helen Pluckrose, Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity―and Why This Harms Everybody will be available this August.