U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on Friday condemned cancel culture and expressed concern over its repercussions, saying in a Utah speech that university students aren’t learning how to disagree while being civil.
“If you can’t do it on a university campus, where do you learn civility? Where do you learn to disagree without being disagreeable?” Thomas asked. “I’m afraid that we have, particularly in this world of cancel culture and attack, I don’t know where you’re going to learn to engage as we did when I grew up.”
Thomas made the comments during a speech in Utah hosted by the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation. The Deseret News reported on his remarks.
The lack of civility displayed by students in college, Thomas said, will continue in their careers in legislatures and courts. They then will resort to tribalism and yelling, he said, according to the newspaper.
At 72, Thomas is the second-oldest member of the court and will become the oldest upon the retirement of Stephen Breyer, who is set to step down at the end of this term. Thomas was confirmed by the Senate in 1991.
Individuals who hold traditional views on abortion and the family, Thomas said, often stay quiet so as not to draw antagonism.
Thomas said he doesn’t enjoy going to college campuses because it’s “not fun.” In the past, he said, people on opposing sides of an issue would exchange ideas but remain friends.
“Now it’s people who actually seem quite full of themselves,” he said. “Now it’s sort of this animus develops if you disagree.”
He’s worried about the future of the country.
“My fear isn’t for me. But it is for your kids and your grandkids and the next generation,” he said. “What are we going to leave them? Are we leaving them a mess, or are we leaving them a country? Are we leaving them chaos, or are we going to leave them a court?”
Clarence Thomas Blasts Media for Coverage, Says Justices Are not ‘like a Politician’
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Alex Wong/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.