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Perhaps it’s just me, but when it comes to bringing a nation of citizens into genuine togetherness, it sure seems as though the once universally admired qualities of basic human kindness and tolerant acceptance of alternate opinions have been eclipsed by the power of viciousness and the fear of being canceled.

My proof? For starters, let’s compare lists.

You show me the list of major corporations that have avoided virtue-signaling, or have not in some way apologized for sins they never committed, and I’ll show you a much longer list of companies that have. And why is the list in my hand heavier than the one in yours?

Because by nature, people fear bullies. Bullies deal in tyranny. Tyranny takes power and then unifies its kingdom beneath the banner of cruelty.

Tyrants, while affirming and generous with those accepting of their rule, by necessity, must be cruel destroyers of those who do not. By this cruelty, bullies rule the playground, ultimately bringing friend and foe alike into an established framework that holds absolute control over their communal acceptability and personal livelihoods. It’s true it takes courage to step beyond the borders of this framework, ultimately refusing to give the bully one’s lunch money. But I think Publilius Syrus was right when he noted, “Cruelty is fed, not weakened, by tears.” In other words, it’s not just a person’s submission that feeds the bully’s addiction. History proves they are equally intoxicated by their opposition’s fears and slaked by their pain. In fact, this is their truest, most enjoyable method for climbing into the hearts and minds of others in order to steer them toward the moment of submission they desire.

Yes, a bully wants an ordered playground of people willing to give away their lunch money. But keep in mind there exists within the bully a shadowy hope that one or two on the swing set will refuse, providing him with the opportunity to take it away through means that cause humiliation and suffering.

I closed my Twitter account for these reasons. The platform had become a poisonous place—a playground governed by social justice bullies sending out brownshirts on patrol to parrot the latest standards for inclusion in the community while calling out for the vicious cancellation of anyone stepping out of line. Admittedly, it was difficult to depart at first, knowing I’d be leaving behind a sizeable network of friends of my work. Still, I knew if eventually challenged, I would never give away my lunch money. I’m more than happy to contribute alongside countless others with differing opinions, but I knew I would never allow myself to be forced into alignment with them, eventually affirming popular ideologies in clear contradiction to objectively true things. I knew I would never be found apologizing for historical events in which I did not participate.

This remains the overwhelming atmosphere of the playground that is Twitter. With that, I left for other jungle gyms.

Some would say I cancelled myself in this regard. Perhaps this is true. I prefer to think I left celebratorily in search of more enjoyable horizons. I say this remembering the whisky I lifted in toast just after pressing the “OK” button to confirm I was doing something that couldn’t be undone: the Chivas Brothers’ Royal Salute 21-year-old Sapphire Flagon edition.

Ironically, this particular whisky was gifted to me by someone I know to be diametrically opposed to my conservative leanings, making a sip and savor from its deep blue flagon a more than appropriate gesture of sorts. Not that I’m ungrateful to the giver, but feel free to decide what that “salute” looked like in relation to Twitter. Either way, rest assured the wariness that came with venturing into the unknown was settled by the dram’s comforting contours.

Having pressed “OK,” I lifted the dram to the words “Slàinte mhath” and then took to my nose a mild wash of citron, cinnamon, and pecans. A sip delivered similar pleasantries, namely, warmed white chocolate atop vanilla ice cream. Yes, vanilla ice cream. Like most whiskies, the Royal Salute bears a natural warmth. The white chocolate rests there. But it also has a nip of vanilla sweetness reminiscent of chillier concoctions. Ice cream comes to mind.

The Royal Salute’s finish is far too swift, having barely enough staying power to reveal its callback to the cinnamon in the nose.

In all, it’s a drinkable whisky. However, considering the playground previously described, I’d say it plays along to get along, being a pricier whisky with very little initiative for standing apart. I’m guessing like so many of the droning virtue-signalers out there, it knows that any unnecessary attention drawn by distinctive character is a sure way to get cancelled. It’s just safer to be, well, submissively agreeable and generally drinkable.