The Canceling of the American Mind

Cancel Culture Undermines Trust and Threatens Us All—But There Is a Solution


A “galvanizing” (The Wall Street Journal) deep dive into cancel culture and its dangers to all Americans from the team that brought you Coddling of the American Mind.

Cancel culture is a new phenomenon, and The Canceling of the American Mind is the first book to codify it and survey its effects, including hard data and research on what cancel culture is and how it works, along with hundreds of new examples showing the left and right both working to silence their enemies.

The Canceling of the American Mind changes how you view cancel culture. Rather than a moral panic, we should consider it a dysfunctional part of how Americans battle for power, status, and dominance. Cancel culture is just one symptom of a much larger problem: the use of cheap rhetorical tactics to “win” arguments without actually winning arguments. After all, why bother refuting your opponents when you can just take away their platform or career?

The good news is that we can beat back this threat to democracy through better citizenship. The Canceling of the American Mind offers concrete steps toward reclaiming a free speech culture, with materials specifically tailored for parents, teachers, business leaders, and everyone who uses social media. We can all show intellectual humility and promote the essential American principles of individuality, resilience, and open-mindedness.

About the author(s)

Greg Lukianoff is the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) and one of the country’s most passionate defenders of free expression. He has written on free-speech issues in the nation’s top newspapers, including The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, and was executive producer of the documentaries Can We Take a Joke? and Mighty Ira. Lukianoff earned his undergraduate degree from American University and his law degree from Stanford. He worked for the ACLU of Northern California, the Organization for Aid to Refugees, and the EnvironMentors Project before joining FIRE in 2001.   

Rikki Schlott is a New York City-based journalist and political commentator. She is a research fellow at FIRE, host of the Lost Debate podcast, a columnist at the New York Post, and a regular contributor to numerous publications and television programs. Her commentary focuses on free speech, campus culture, civil liberties, and youth issues from a Generation Z perspective.


"A lucid and comprehensive look at where we are and how we got here....The authors do not merely analyze; they are in the fray....their description of the scale of the problem is nothing short of galvanizing. We are in a terrible spot, and we need to get out of here." —The Wall Street Journal

Can the American mind be uncanceled? Greg Lukianoff and Rikki Schlott make a compelling case that the answer to this question is one of the most important in American life today. Their book is a humanizing and passionate cry for intellectual independence and those who want to think and speak for themselves.
—Andrew Yang, co-founder of the Forward Party

Cancel Culture is one of the worst scourges of modern woke-ravaged society. This important and very timely book explains what it is, how it works, and how best to deal with it. It should be required reading for everyone who believes in freedom of speech.
—Piers Morgan, host of Piers Morgan Uncensored

This riveting book presents compelling stories about Cancel Culture and its devastating impact on a wide range of Americans. It draws upon detailed databases to refute persistent attempts to minimize the problem and shows that discourse-destroying cancellations are perpetrated by people all across the ideological spectrum. Most importantly it lays out steps that all of us can take to supplant Cancel Culture with Free Speech Culture. It should be a game-changer in the Culture Wars.
—Nadine Strossen, former president of the ACLU

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