6 x 9 | 312 pages | Softcover
When Salman Rushdie was stabbed and nearly killed in 2022, this horrific act of religiously motivated violence was met with widespread public condemnation. Among those who expressed outrage, however, few noted that the attack was a manifestation, however extreme, of a more broadly embraced desire to silence and punish dissent.
“Cancel culture” is often spoken of as if it were a joke. It really isn’t.
People now risk severe reprisal for openly expressing opinions and ideas that run afoul of acceptable discourse on a wide range of contentious issues. Merely for voicing a “problematic” point of view, people are routinely deplatformed and “doxxed” and publicly shamed; they suffer reputational damage and professional ruin; they are censored and stigmatized and ostracized and restricted from accessing ordinary channels of commerce and communication. Blogs are deleted. Books are banned. Bank accounts are frozen. And in a disturbing number of well-documented cases, dissident speakers have been physically attacked and even imprisoned. Against this grim backdrop, the cheeky memetic injunction to “punch a Nazi” differs little from the Islamic fatwa against a celebrated novelist.
On Being Silenced presents a freewheeling and candid look at the theory and praxis of cancel culture. It tells the story of one academic — our author, Colin Feltham — who was quietly canceled for alleged intellectual transgressions. Liberated from the strictures of academic propriety, Feltham now shares his personal experience, offering frontline insight into the processes of suppression and persecution that threaten not only outspoken individuals, but the core Enlightenment values of free expression and inquiry that remain fundamental to the functioning of a free society.
Beyond telling his own story, Feltham examines the actual sources of purported racism and wrongthink that are increasingly subject to censorship, openly engaging with taboo subjects that bedevil the pursuit of knowledge in the study of human evolution, history, sociology, and his own field of psychotherapy. He confronts the “woke” agenda that now drives ostensibly progressive efforts to quash and penalize inquiry, exposing the corrupting influence of critical race theory, transgender ideology, radical feminism, and varous iterations of neo-Marxist totalitarianism. Along the way, Feltham clearly documents the stark reality of cancel culture, spotlighting numerous cases of real people who have suffered severe repercussions for expressing controversial views.
Written with a blend of conversational effervescence, erudition, and provocative humor, Colin Feltham’s polemically intoned book will be of interest to readers who truly value free speech, viewpoint diversity, and the preservation of scholarship.
Colin Feltham is a British writer and contrarian who holds the title of Emeritus Professor of Counseling at Sheffield Hallam University. He is the author of several books, including What’s Wrong with Us?: The Anthropathology Thesis and Keeping Ourselves in the Dark.