Billy Bragg on cancel culture: Liberty needs to be tempered by equality and accountability
"Although free speech remains the fundamental bedrock of a free society, for everyone to enjoy the benefits of freedom, liberty needs to be tempered by two further dimensions: equality and accountability. Without equality, those in power will use their freedom of expression to abuse and marginalise others. Without accountability, liberty can mutate into the most dangerous of all freedoms – impunity... When reason, respect and responsibility are all under threat, accountability offers us a better foundation on which to build a cohesive society, one where everyone feels that their voice is heard" - musician and activist Billy Bragg wrote in Guardian on the issue of "cancel culture", after an open letter that is decrying cancel culture, signed by 150 academics and writers, has been published. Actor Ricky Gervais joined the discussion saying there are “outrage mobs that take everything out of context” and that "some people have lost their sense of irony". Gervais pressed that free speech was not the same as criticism-free speech - “some people think freedom of speech means, I should be able to say anything without consequences and it doesn’t mean that”.