Engaging in Dialog Can Dissolve ‘Cancel Culture’: President of Summit Ministries

Engaging in Dialog Can Dissolve ‘Cancel Culture’: President of Summit Ministries
A booth calls for protesters to “shut down” controversial right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, on Sproul Plaza at the University of California, Berkeley on Sept. 21, 2017. (Jocelyn Gecker/AP Photo)
Ella Kietlinska
Joshua Philipp

The wave of suppressing people’s voices which spreads widely in the American society has its root in cancel culture which seeks to resolve the differences in views through forceful silencing of opposing opinions, said Dr. Jeff Meyers, president of Summit Ministries. People should engage in a civil debate to hash out the issue and discover the truth instead of stopping others’ voices, Myers told The Epoch Times.

Myers studied Marxism in order to prepare thousands of young people every year to go into college campuses. Through the study, he realized that Marxist doctrine teaches that if you try to hash out others’ viewpoint that you disagree with you are giving in to the other side.

The only thing Marxists can do is to eliminate the voice of those who they disagree with, Myers said in a recent interview on Epoch Times’ Crossroads program.

Some people who engage in cancel culture say that they are not Marxists but when asked about their world view, for example, whether they think about god, what they believe in, about the nature of reality, what constitutes right and wrong it may turn out that they actually embraced the Marxist view, Myers explained. Those people only do not embrace the Marxist label, he added.

The battle now taking place in America is not a battle between republicans and democrats or conservatives and liberals, Myers said. It is a battle “between people who believe that truth exists and can be discovered and people who believe that truth does not exist” so they have to use words to speak truth, he continued.

“The people who want to discover truth are always trying to learn more, sharpen their knowledge so they can find the truth, the people who believe that they just speak their own truth are always looking for ways to sharpen their words that’s all they care about, [they have] no point in looking deeper for the truth,” Myers explained.

To seek the truth, Myers advocates starting “the conversation with questions not with challenges.” This way, people with a different view have to defend themselves in the normal course of the argument, they have to defend their underlying assumptions, Myers said.

Engaging in Dialog

Two men talking. (NeONBRAND/Unsplash)
Two men talking. (NeONBRAND/Unsplash)

At the root of a lot of cancel culture is the Marxist worldview which assumes “that only the material world exists, there’s no God there’s no truth there’s nothing out there,” Myers said.

“If only the material world exists there’s only so much to go around,” and all people are equal, so going further, “if anyone has more than anyone else it’s only because they stole ... so taking it back is not wrong” Myers continued explaining Marxists worldview.

Therefore Marxism advocates throwing down the institution of the economic structure, the government, the family, the church, Myers said.

It is very important to ask questions in a dialog with a cancel culture person “because you have to uncover those false underlying assumptions or you'll go nowhere,” Myers advised.

Myers believes that cancel culture creates a sense of fear in the society but advises to seek the truth in a conversation.

“If I know I’m supposed to be bashing the other side but I don’t know what to say then I just remain silent. But if I understand that I’m not here to bash, I’m here to seek the truth and I can invite other people alongside of me in seeking that truth then we end up with a completely different understanding of the world,” Myers said.

Cancel culture is “largely a younger person phenomenon, 18 to 34-year-old,” Myers said adding that, “half of them say that they’ve engaged in cancel culture.”

The phenomenon of fear exists largely among conservatives, he said adding that 75 percent of them “have said that they have hold opinions that they are afraid to share because they believe they might be shamed or even lose their job.”

Filmmaker Daphne Barak presented in her documentary cases of several celebrities who faced consequences such as losing jobs for openly expressing their conservative political views and support of President Donald Trump.

Myers believes there is truth, it can be discovered and can be pursued. Most of the people with a leftist view can be persuaded, he said.

“People on the left have got to relearn the art of civic discourse and people on the right have got to learn to stop fearing the boogeyman of the left,” Myers said.

According to Myers, face to face conversation is more effective than social media. This is because words account for only 7 percent of communication, Myers said citing American psychologist Albert Mehrabian.

In 1967, Mehrabian concluded based on his research that 55 percent of communication is the body language and facial expression, 38 percent takes place through tone and voice, and only 7 percent is through words.

“That’s why it’s so important to just get off of social media, and go have coffee with somebody who disagrees, and talk about it; ask that you can share your viewpoints, and ask to hear theirs—this is what our founders did,” Myers said.