A Cancel Culture Case Study: Mumford & Sons
The vast majority of entertainers are “part of the herd and cowards.”
Young people in their 20s, who have an interest in contemporary folk music, will be familiar with Mumford & Sons, the Grammy Award-winning English folk band featuring Marcus Mumford, Winston Marshall, Ben Lovett, and Ted Dwane.
Until this week, Winston Marshall was the vocalist, lead guitar, and banjo player — until he became another target of leftist “cancel culture.” Unlike many entertainers, Marshall did not kowtow to the Left. He put his principles above a very successful career.
Marshall has taken public positions advocating for and defending free speech, as well as being open about his own interests in people who don’t fit the Left’s “woke” narrative. Because of his band’s international success, those positions are highly visible. A few examples:
Marshall has expressed his interest in the opinions of conservative Canadian psychology professor Jordan Peterson, and Peterson has shared photographs with Marshall when they met. Leftists hate Peterson.
But it was in March when Marshall became the direct target of venomous cancel culture leftists because he publicly stated his support for journalist Andy Ngo, author of the New York Times bestseller Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy. The Left hates Ngo because he exposed “antifa movement” thugs as the fascists they are.
Marshall initially indicated regret about supporting Ngo because of the consequences for his fellow band members. However, last week he released a statement defending his support for Ngo, and announcing he was leaving Mumford & Sons so that he could exercise his right to free speech on political topics without collateral damage to his bandmates.
His band wanted him to stay with them, and as Marshall wrote, “That took courage, particularly in the age of so called ‘cancel culture.’” But he was not willing to further subject them to leftist ridicule.
To that end, Marshall noted: “For me to speak about what I’ve learned … will inevitably bring my bandmates more trouble. My love, loyalty and accountability to them cannot permit that. I could remain — and continue to self-censor. But it will erode my sense of integrity. Gnaw my conscience. I’ve already felt that beginning. The only way forward for me is to leave the band. I hope in distancing myself from them I am able to speak my mind without them suffering the consequences. I leave with love in my heart and I wish those three boys nothing but the best.”
He explained: “At the beginning of March I tweeted to American journalist Andy Ngo, author of the New York Times Bestseller, ‘Unmasked,’ ‘Congratulations @MrAndyNgo. Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man.’ Over the course of 24 hours, it was trending with tens of thousands of angry retweets and comments. I failed to foresee that my commenting on a book critical of the Far-Left could be interpreted as approval of the equally abhorrent Far-Right.”
On his initial response to the attacks, Marshall said: “In the mania of the moment, I was desperate to protect my bandmates. The hornets’ nest that I had unwittingly hit had unleashed a black-hearted swarm on them and their families. I didn’t want them to suffer for my actions; they were my priority. Secondly, I was sincerely open to the fact that maybe I did not know something about the author or his work.”
But he says now: “The truth is that my commenting on a book that documents the extreme Far-Left and their activities is in no way an endorsement of the equally repugnant Far-Right. The truth is that reporting on extremism at the great risk of endangering oneself is unquestionably brave. I also feel that my previous apology in a small way participates in the lie that such extremism does not exist, or worse, is a force for good.”
It is disgraceful that the Leftmedia and its social media colluders are not only complicit in redlining First Amendment rights, a violation of fundamental civil rights, but provide and promote retail cancel culture on their platforms — much of which they should condemn because it does not comport with their own community standards.
Finally, Marshall cites a quote from Soviet-era dissident Aleksander Solzhenitsyn regarding courage: “He who is not sufficiently courageous to defend his soul — don’t let him be proud of his ‘progressive’ views, and don’t let him boast that he is an academician or a people’s artist, a distinguished figure or a general. Let him say to himself: I am a part of the herd and a coward. It’s all the same to me as long as I’m fed and kept warm.”
Indeed, the vast majority of entertainers know nothing of Solzhenitsyn’s courage. They’re part of the herd and cowards.
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776
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