Bari Weiss wrote a tremendous piece about the cancel culture, free speech, intent mattering, and an “ethic of forgiveness.” God bless her and her words:
Cancel culture necessarily erases intent. It relies on taking someone’s worst moment out of context, on elevating a moment of ignorance, on exaggerating a misstep and using that error to destroy someone’s life.
We live in a time when almost everything is posted, recorded and shared — that’s the reality. It’s not changing. The forgiveness a neighborhood used to give to a kid who said something stupid at a bar now has to be granted to him by everyone with a phone. Yes, I agree, it’s terrible. But we can’t unplug the Internet.
Living in this world is going to require a deep and generous ethic of forgiveness. That isn’t possible without insisting that intent matters.