Philosophy: Witch Hunt or Social Justice?

We live in times of lack of tolerance, scarcity of empathy, and the need to ‘slay’ on social media. This is the current scenario, characterized by hasty judgments, radical polarization, and a constant quest for more visibility. As the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche aptly stated, ‘He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby becomes a monster himself’.

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“At any given moment, there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas that is supposed to be accepted without question by all right-thinking people… Those who challenge the prevailing orthodoxy find themselves silenced with surprising effectiveness.” (George Orwell, Freedom of the Press, 1945)


The rise in the use of social media played a crucial role in the amplification of what is often called cancel culture. Grosso modo, cancel culture is the practice of orchestrating a widespread boycott against an individual, often a public figure, due to offensive, unwarranted, or morally condemnable behaviors or statements. Cancellations may take place through intense social media campaigns, sometimes manifesting as a form of virtual mobbing. Overall, the cancellation target may face public condemnation, resulting in the loss of employment, public support, etc.

Furthermore, the internet has allowed everyone to express their ideas, providing freedom of expression to all. However, this freedom – as every other – comes with responsibility. Therefore, some present cancellation as a ‘judgment,’ a ‘sentence’ delivered by internet users. Individuals may see it as an act of justice, aiming to punish the ‘canceled’ individual for committing an act considered serious, controversial, or not tolerated in today’s world.

Fingers pointed at the guilty party


Like many concepts, cancel culture has both positive and negative aspects. Cancel culture can represent people’s resentment towards criminal acts, such as racism and other forms of prejudice that previously went unnoticed. It can also echo desires for a better society, free from hatred and misconceptions. However, many are losing the ability to distinguish between intentional offenses and those completely unintentional. Comments often said out of sheer unawareness of the new interpretations of what was once said naturally. The world is changing rapidly, and it often takes time for many people to adapt. Nevertheless, this can never be used as an excuse to defend episodes of controversial behavior, but rather as a means of understanding the reasons that led to a determined scenario.

However, cancellation can be seen as an attack on the victim’s reputation, serving as “moral condemnation” without the right to due process and rebuttal. Therefore – ironically – it is possible to cause injustices in the pursuit of social justice. Consequently, individuals who make mistakes may end up outcasted, preventing the community from witnessing their growth and development following a cancellation episode. Furthermore, there are cases where cancellation is based on unfounded or misinterpreted ‘evidence’, which can lead to the unjust destruction of reputations.

Thus, it is crucial to critically assess the effects of this culture on our community as a whole. The need to practice tolerance and to judge with a mirror in hand is urgent. Sometimes, we are quick to point fingers and throw individuals into a digital bonfire forgetting that, at some point, we too may be victims of this same behavior.

Cancel Culture

“Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Most Moral of them All?”


On February 2nd, Club Penguin Armies administrator Mchappy posed a question to the organization’s media team staff: “Do you feel that “cancel culture” is too prevalent in armies?“. Some of our staff members expressed their thoughts.

Df44, Reporter-in-Training: Well interesting question, i’m all in favor of having people held accountable for their wrongdoings in CPA. However, armies do tend to abuse it ending up cancelling people sometimes without even double verify the content and accusations they’re making. It eventually spreads across the whole community and in a blink of an eye you may even get cancelled over something that didn’t happen entirely as stated in the first accusation. People do take CPA too personal and when they’re making that kind of exposes they put their personal hate towards the individuals they’re trying to cancel. That is why imo media should be the impartial view on any expose and try to fact check the accusations. In the end we do have a strong cancel culture in CPA.

Mchappy, Administrator: I think there are some cases of armies feeling the need to gather as much “evidence” as they can to paint their opponents as the bad guys, when really you don’t need that much of a reason to declare war However, I do not think “cancel culture” is necessarily a bad thing as it stems from a form of social justice and should force people to think of their privilege as army leaders and that one’s actions/words may harm another, which is never cool

We have been witnessing an increase in cancellations and exposées taking place in the army community. While the intentions behind these actions may be noble and commendable, we shall be careful not to ‘throw out the baby with the bathwater‘; i.e. we shall not discard something valuable along with other undesirable things. And what does that mean?

The pursuit of awareness and social justice are valid and necessary quests for maintaining a balanced society. However, when we adopt Machiavelli’s motto – echoing that the ends justify the means – we may be subject to corrupting the process with feelings of anger and disdain. Good ends cannot be achieved through questionable means, just as pure water cannot flow from impure vessels.

Army leaders preparing their brand new exposées before declaring war


It is necessary to exercise temperance and balance, treating others with the same sense of justice and respect that we desire for ourselves. As Aristotle stated, “The virtue lies in the middle.” We should not conduct hasty judgments and condemnations based on superficial impressions. We must learn the essential truth behind the ‘evidence’ employed to cancel individuals, as well as consider their own history and social context. There are better – and more effective – ways to punish the guilty party and still make them aware of their own mistakes.

Instead of perpetuating cancel culture, should we not embrace the philosophy of education over the culture of hate? In the words of Socrates, “Education is the key to unlocking the world, the most powerful weapon for changing society.” We must cultivate empathy, understanding that we all carry our imperfections. The pursuit of truth and justice should be guided by a light that illuminates, rather than one that consumes.

Through rightful methods, to the most rightful end

Knowing that this is a fundamental topic to nurture discussions about, it is never appropriate to end a philosophical debate prematurely. Therefore, I propose an extension of the debate: in your perspective, is cancel culture a valid means of raising awareness and delivering punishment? Or do you think it is a senseless witch hunt? Do you concur with the viewpoints expressed in this article?

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