When Culture Cancels You with Mumford & Sons’ Winston Marshall

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This is a podcast episode titled, When Culture Cancels You with Mumford & Sons’ Winston Marshall. The summary for this episode is: <p>Mum's the word? Well, not for Winston Marshall. This week, the Mumford &amp; Sons' former banjoist joins Patrick to discuss his cancel culture experience that all stemmed from a single tweet. Hear Marshall share on this complex journey that ultimately caused him to leave the band. Plus, where does he stand now? What role has his faith played in it all? And does he regret his decision (or the tweet that started it)? Listen now as he and Patrick dissect cancel culture and discuss why we must reclaim the role of forgiveness.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Ok, truth time... Did you like this episode?</strong> Tell us by leaving a rating or review! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 If you did, you won't want to miss what's next (so subscribe now!). And help a friend by sharing this with them. Thank you! πŸ™</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Plus, the conversation is just beginning! </strong>Follow us on <a href="https://twitter.com/truthovertribe_" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ChooseTruthOverTribe" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/accounts/login/?next=/truthovertribe_/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Instagram</a> to join in on the dialogue! <strong>Want to learn more about Truth Over Tribe?</strong> Visit our <a href="https://info.choosetruthovertribe.com/subscribe?utm_campaign=TOT%20Campaign%203B&amp;utm_source=Show%20Notes%20" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">website</a> and subscribe to our weekly <a href="https://choosetruthovertribe.com/?utm_campaign=TOT%20Campaign%203B&amp;utm_source=Show%20Notes%20-%20website" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">newsletter</a>.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Resources:</strong></p><p><a href="https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/marshall-matters/id1602708292" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Marshall Matters Podcast</a></p><p><a href="http://info.choosetruthovertribe.com/blog_subscription" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Subscribe To Our Blog</a></p><p><a href="http://info.choosetruthovertribe.com/how-tribal-are-you" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">How Tribal Are You?</a></p>
Winston explains what happened after sending his viral tweet
05:31 MIN
"The idea to never apologize"
03:16 MIN
We can't let the lies takeover
02:24 MIN
Reclaiming the role of forgiveness
03:05 MIN
Book recommendations from Winston
01:40 MIN

Winston Marshall: My name's Winston Marshall and I choose truth over tribe.

Keith Simon: Are you tired of tribalism?

Audio: I think a lot of what the left supports is satanic. The only time religious freedom is invoked is in the name of bigotry and discrimination.

Keith Simon: Are you exhausted by the culture war?

Audio: If they don't like it here, they can leave. You can put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.

Keith Simon: Are you suspicious of those who say Jesus endorses their political party?

Audio: Is it possible to be a good Christian and also be a member of the Republican party? And the answer is absolutely not. From certainly a biblical standpoint, Christians could not vote democratic.

Keith Simon: We trust the lamb, not the donkey or the elephant. This is the podcast that's too liberal for Conservatives and too conservative for Liberals.

Patrick Miller: I'm Patrick Miller.

Keith Simon: And I'm Keith Simon and we choose truth over tribe.

Patrick Miller: Do you? What's it like to get canceled? I know I never want to go through that, but plenty of people have. And one of those people is Winston Marshall. He used to be the banjo player for Mumford& Sons, one of the most famous bands in the world. I mean, unless you live under rock, you've probably heard multiple songs by them. And last summer he went through exactly this. He experienced cancel culture firsthand. But how he handled it, how he responded to it and how he grew from it, I think is a fascinating story, not the least of which because of his Catholic faith. So it's exciting to have him on the show today discussing both what happened and where he is going next. Thanks so much for being on the show today.

Winston Marshall: Thank you Patrick, for having me.

Patrick Miller: It's great to have you on here. I want to start with your story and how you came to leave behind a band that I know you absolutely love. And so I want to go back to the tweet that you tweeted about Andy Ngo's book, which is reporting about the violence of Antifa. And so maybe we could just start here. Could you just share a little bit of what you actually tweeted? What did you say?

Winston Marshall: So through the pandemic, one of my themes on social media was books I was reading. And I posted a variety of books. I wouldn't even say, although some of them were political, I wouldn't say that you could really put them in a political camp. I remember I posted about James Bloodworth's book on Amazon working conditions, which is a fantastic book, which I recommend. That didn't get me in any trouble. I even posted about Mao Zedong's Little Red Book. I finally read that. Of course, one of, if not the most, evil man to ever live, responsible for the deaths of tens of millions. And that didn't get me in trouble. But this one tweet about Andy Ngo's book, he's a conservative American journalist documenting the Antifa protests and riots and violence in 2020, and before, I guess, so contemporary, Antifa, not historical Antifa and the violence and even the kind of deaths and destruction caused by them. And I tweeted about the book. I said," Congratulations on the book," because I think it'd just been published. And I called him brave. Or I can't remember the exact words. I think I called him a brave guy. That's what I said. And I mean, it sort of feels like an act of God, because on Twitter, which is where I put the post, I didn't have many followers. I had 3, 000 followers, which is nothing. And it just exploded. And I guess that's how Twitter works. And before I knew it was on shows like Tucker Carlson and The View. And I'm like,"Well, what on earth is going on?" And it just seemed totally bizarre. And there was a lot of pushback within the music industry. And what was quite striking was that there were a lot of artists criticizing, and fair enough, criticism's totally fair. No one's above criticism. Well, apart from the good Lord. But I'm open to that. But it was a lot of criticism, even criticism from people that I'd worked with. Some of it was nasty. Some of it ad hominem. But then there was also pushback from industry. I forget which one, but a radio station threatened to drop the band. And indeed, I was booked to DJ at a festival in the UK that summer. And because the headliner they wanted had criticized me, they canceled me, literally, from the lineup. And basically, there was a lot of industry pushback. So I issued an apology, apologizing for the upset that it had caused. And I was very open to the fact that I was wrong or I was missing something, because I heard the criticism. The sort of time that followed, the weeks and months that followed, I really, really looked into this, because it got me in all sorts of trouble. So I came off social media, but I looked into the issue, into Antifa and the contemporary American protest that was happening and trying to work out problems with the book. And I just increasingly understood that I hadn't been wrong, that the author indeed was brave. And furthermore, after a few months later, he was attacked again in Portland, Oregon. And actually, the footage of that has just come out online recently. And it's horrific. And yet again, he was violently attacked. And so I was like," This guy is a brave guy!" And the pushback I'd received just for tweeting about his book, before long, my Wikipedia was changed. And I was called a fascist and all this sort of nonsense. And they're very effective, this small bunch of activists, in really doing what they can to cause havoc and destruction. With me, that was online. And that was really affecting the people I loved around me, not least my band. And they had suffered the consequences of my opinion. And as I continued to look into the subject, I realized that I hadn't been wrong. And that actually, my apology note, I should say, was really playing on my conscience, because I increasingly felt like I was participating in that lie, that violence was a good thing. I really don't think it was. And so as I looked at it further and further, and as time built up, I then had this conundrum, this problem of how do I tell the truth, but without my band mates suffering? So I kind of felt like," Well, the only way out of this difficult situation is for me to stick to the truth, but I have to leave the band, because if I tell this, I'm going to get all sorts of shit. And it's not fair on them to have to suffer the consequences of that." I guess, the other alternative was to stay in the band. But that would've meant keeping quiet and accepting that I had done something wrong, because even if it came up again, and inevitably it would come up again whenever we would do press, I would want to avoid that such a storm. So I would have to keep quiet or lie about it. And it just felt like an impossible situation. So my decision was to leave. And actually, it was a very difficult position, because I absolutely love that band. And I'd given my entire adult life to that band, 14 years of it. It certainly wasn't an easy decision. It took me a long time to build up the confidence. But I do feel like I have, at this point, certainly no regrets, because I have my soul back. I have my integrity back. And now, I'm in the process of rebuilding my professional life anyway, and my life generally speaking. And I do so with faith. And slowly things are making sense again. So I think that's a fairly detailed description.

Patrick Miller: It obviously surprised you, the response. And watching it unfold, it was a little bit shocking to me as well, because you had the response from people who hated what you tweeted and said that you were misleading people and that you were a fascist. And I knew enough of your story at the time to realize how bizarre that was. I'm sorry if I don't have these numbers or details right. But if I remember correctly, weren't 13 of your family members, didn't they die in concentration camps under actual fascists? Is that correct?

Winston Marshall: Yeah. My grandmother was a Hungarian Jew and a survivor of the Holocaust. And although she escaped eventually to Portugal and after the water France, the rest of the family were killed. And I actually have her diaries. And so it's quite moving to read, including the day she left Transylvania, she had all her cousins and aunties and uncles write little notes in the diary. And we know now where they were killed and in the various camps and on the death marches and those stories. Yeah, you're right. 13 of them were killed. And so it was lunacy that I would be called fascist. But it's one of those words, like Nazi now, that's used so willy- nilly that it's almost lost meaning. Although it's a shame, because when real fascists and real Nazis are there, the power of the word isn't enough, I guess. Anyway, that's perhaps another conversation.

Patrick Miller: Did you feel a sense of outrage? I mean, knowing your story, your family, your history, they're calling you a fascist. I mean, where were you at internally when they started using those words?

Winston Marshall: I wouldn't say it was outrage, because it was ridiculous. I don't mind being hated or anything like that. But I'd rather be hated for who I am than something I'm not. And so in apologizing it sort felt like I was accepting that narrative, which is bullshit. So that's sort of where I was. I do mind being called those things, because I know it's nonsense. But the thing that actually bothered me was the idea that I was in some way letting that narrative run free without explaining myself or getting the truth out, as I saw it.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, I mean, it feels like a real breach of conscience on your part to be willing to admit, acknowledge, say," Yes, what you're saying about me is true," when you know for a fact that's not true. The other striking thing for me when this all happened was when you issued the apology, which in a lot of ways that I actually commend you for, because what you said to me was," Hey, I don't have the corner on the truth. I don't know everything about everything. And so maybe there's some things I didn't know about this story and I'm going to go research. I'm going to go learn." And man, I wish more people had that response when they were confronted or they'd say," No, I'm not going to defend myself. I'm going to sit down. I'm going to listen. I'm going to learn." But then you got the equal opposite response from the right people saying," See, you're buying into the narrative. You're just bending over. You're just taking it from the other side." And what was striking was how similar both those mobs felt to me, the mob on the left, when you had the initial tweet. The mob on the right, when you had the follow- up tweet. Did you notice similarities in their communication with you about you?

Winston Marshall: It was very eye opening. The so- called anti- woke mob, who are taught to loath cancel culture and daily condemning it, but actually, they behave exactly that same way. And even some people who I respected then going now, saying things like," Now, I hope you get canceled." It shows to me a lack of awareness that they have become exactly who they've been taught to be against. And on apologizing, that's another thing that I don't agree with. That's something that's quite a consistent theme in the side of people who are against the progressive side and the idea of never apologize.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. Where's that come from?

Winston Marshall: If you were at dinner table, and you were speaking freely and you said something that you didn't think was offensive, but someone at the table was clearly offended by what you'd say, you would say," Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend you. Maybe you can explain." It's a natural thing to apologize, because if someone's hurt and you don't understand how you've hurt them, and yet you've hurt them, you want to understand. So I think it's totally acceptable. I don't have a problem with apologizing. And that's something that there's a gracelessness there, I think, from that tribe of people on the idea of apologizing. Now, having said that, apologizing when you haven't done something wrong or apologizing just to appease, if you don't really mean it, I don't think is the right thing to do. But I did mean it.

Patrick Miller: Well, it takes the power out of the apology. I was just talking to someone the other day who issued this big public apology for being involved with this journalistic endeavor, which was very much so telling the truth, but it didn't fit with a progressive narrative in this particular case. And behind closed doors, he told me, he said," Look, this is way more complex, but I didn't have a choice. I just had to go out and apologize, take my hits, say what I needed to say so that I could say face and continue my job, continue moving forward with my life and my work." And it struck me, because that's the exact opposite of what an apology should be. I mean, an apology is by definition, sincere. There's these people, you can actually buy this. This is in China. You can buy people who do apologies for you. So maybe you offend your wife or someone, but you don't quite have the braveness to go to her, you can hire someone. And they will show up to your spouse and do the apology on your behalf. And I think," Well, that's not what an apology is." An apology has to come from the heart. It must be sincere. It's a way of saying," I think I made a mistake here and I want to consider my actions, my words. And I'm going to do that." And if it's insincere, then it's not an apology. And that's one of the ironies around this whole thing, is that it's totally dismantling the nature of what apology, even repentance should look like. And again, that's what I appreciated about what you said. I think your apology was right. It was right to say," Hey, I need to think more carefully about that." There's nothing wrong about admitting that. But on the flip side of it, I do want to encourage you, because you said," Okay, I did look into it and I'm going to stand beside this. I'm not going to sacrifice my integrity. I'm not going to sacrifice my truth on the altar of making more money, on the altar of being famous," on the altar of whatever else there is out there that you could get if you just would've stuck with the story and said," Okay, I'm sorry. I messed up."

Winston Marshall: Yeah, I should say I'm in the lucky position where the band was very successful. The stars aligned and those other three guys are incredibly talented. And I was lucky to be surrounded with talented people. And so although I have sacrificed something that was very important to me, there are many people who don't have the security and can't afford to lose their job or their career. And their careers aren't just about money. They're meaningful to people. I guess I was in that lucky position. And I do think there are a lot of people who don't have that good fortune. And so they're forced to apologize, or to toe the line, or to nod along with things that they disagree with, because there's too much for them to lose. And they have too many people relying and dependent on them. And that's a serious problem. And I'm sensitive to it, because I got so many emails, and so many messages, and DMs from people really pouring their heart out, saying they sort of feel trapped and they can't speak on various topics. And there are obvious hot button topics at the moment and they seem to be changing every year. And there'll inevitably be a whole bunch of new ones by the end of this year, some which we probably can't even predict at this point. And that climate of feeling like you are going to lose something for having a differing opinion to the orthodoxy of whatever environment you're in, at whatever community you are in, whatever business you work for, that's a really dangerous environment for us to be living in.

Patrick Miller: Well, yeah, my co- host on this show, we often joke that when you aren't willing to speak your opinion or challenge the held orthodox ideas, we all get dumber in the process. That's the net result. And you think about Galileo Galilei and his willingness to say,"You know what? The earth revolves around the sun." And it needed to be said. And it was truth. But if he had held it in, if he had hidden it away, who knows, we might still be living in a different understanding of how the physical universe works. And so I think there's this importance of speaking truth. And you're making me think about the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn essay, which you referenced in your letter explaining why you were leaving the band. For those who don't know, he was a Soviet dissident. He's exiled from the USSR. And on his way out, he writes this spectacular essay called, Live Not by Lies. And he acknowledges kind of what you're saying, which is you might not have power to change anything in the system that you're a part of. The one thing you can do is refuse to speak the lie, is refuse to buy into the lie. And it is costly and it is difficult. And I'm with you. I feel for people who feel stuck because again, their career, their livelihood, all kinds of things are on the line. And yet he makes the point that the lie dies when people name it as the lie. And so there is this other need that I think we need to talk about, which is we do have to speak the truth, because if we continue to give the apologies, to buy into the lies, we're headed in one direction, which is that the lie takes over and no one can resist it.

Winston Marshall: Well, it's funny that you bring up Galileo there, because actually, and not to sound too big for my boots or anything like that, but the example of Galileo in that period of time after my apology and before recanting my apology, was an important one to me, because he's probably the highest profile person who ever apologized for going against orthodoxy, for saying something that was true, but was deemed anathema to the powers that be at the time. And then he inaudible. And he said," No, actually I'm going to stand by what I said." And so for me, a little banjo player, to see that there's actually brilliant human beings who have been in a position like this and made it through, was very encouraging to me. I mean, he's archetypal in that sense. But with Solzhenitsyn, who you were referring to there, and this is a conversation I had on the first episode of my podcast with his son, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, and we discussed Live Not by Lies, the essay that he published when he left the Soviet Union and this idea of not participating in the lie. And we actually argued a little bit about this, because I took that essay, Live Not by Lies, to be almost like Moses returning from Sinai, as this is the commandment, this is the thing. And Ignat took the position," No, it's a lot more gentle a suggestion." It's like, if you can then try not to. But that essay includes language like," if you don't, you're a coward," and coward's a powerful word.

Patrick Miller: He had some pretty hard words in the essay for people who will live by the lie.

Winston Marshall: Exactly. I think we do have a duty to just commit to the truth. And usually, it won't be costly. But I don't think it should be anyway. We should try and make it less costly.

Patrick Miller: When you were getting ready to leave the band, you shared that you spent almost the entire week before you published your essay on Medium at your local parish, I assume, praying. But I did want to ask, what were you doing? I mean, you're going to your church every day. What's happening inside of your heart, your mind, your soul? What are you doing there?

Winston Marshall: Well, I won't go into too much detail on that, because even though I have spoken a little bit about my faith, I do think faith is a private matter. But it was important to me that what I would do and how I would leave would serve God and not myself. And so I was praying really that it would do that. And that was the most important thing actually. And there was also a lot of prayer about whether this was the right decision. And it gave me tremendous courage. And it was the support I needed at that time. And I need all the time really, but we all do. But that was probably the most difficult thing I went through. Although, well maybe from the outside it might not seem that way, but that was my life. And it was a complete change in my life. And I think most people will recognize that feeling if they're making a big career change decision, or a big change in their personal lives, or at any point when they're really suffering, I think people understand that. And that's often when you are closest to God, I think.

Patrick Miller: I absolutely agree. We'll get back to the episode in just a second, but I want to tell you how we are changing the newsletter.

Keith Simon: It needed to be changed, so thank goodness.

Patrick Miller: So you might not realize this. We do a lot with Truth Over Tribe. We've got a YouTube channel, where we're posting videos. We write blogs and articles. We have this podcast. And so the newsletter is the one- stop shop where once a week we will send you what we think is the best piece of content that you should check out, go listen to, watch, read, whatever. So make sure that you're signed up for our newsletter. Go to ChooseTruthOverTribe. com and sign up for the newsletter today. When we talk about this topic of cancel culture, one of the questions I think through as a Christian man, a man of faith, is why should Christians, in particular, care about this issue? I mean, we've talked about why this is a social issue. It entails far more than just Christians. But I do see it on both sides. Recently, Ted Cruz, he called the rioters who swarmed the US Capital on January 6th, terrorists. And when he did that, he was called to the carpet by Tucker Carlson and comes onto Tucker Carlson's show the next day to inaudible abjectly apologize for calling those people terrorists. And it's clear that he's trying to save face. It's clear that he's saying an apology at that point to be able to continue in his role as one of the leaders on the right. And it just made me ask the question, why do both sides demand dishonesty? What is it that's making, whether it's the right or the left, all of us have to say things that fit into their narrative?

Winston Marshall: What comes to mind to me is what happened to Whoopi Goldberg a couple of weeks ago. And she's a TV panelist on The View in the States and she uttered the nonsense that the Holocaust wasn't about race. And then I think she went on Colbert and sort of tried to explain herself and didn't really retract what she said. And then later after that, then apologized and retracted. And I think that the Christian attitude is once someone's apologized, is to forgive and then speak more. And so a healthy response would've been for us to forgive that. And then perhaps she could have invited on a Holocaust survivor, or any specialist, or anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of World War II, frankly, because that's all it would take to show how ridiculous her opinion was, onto the show and discuss it. And then we'd all be wiser for it. But instead, she's now serving a two- year temporary cancellation in the naughty corner, which is just absolutely ridiculous. And that's an example, I guess, of it happening the other way. And it's not healthy. Just to reiterate my point, I think forgiveness and more speech. This idea of less speech or being punished for having the wrong opinions even if you change your opinions, no, maybe if you've actually committed an actual crime, I think that's another catch. If you've broken the law or actually committed something morally wrong, but having the wrong opinion and then changing your mind, two weeks cancellation, how is that not insane? They'll look back on this period. They'll think we're completely bananas.

Patrick Miller: It's actually fascinating to think about, because in the West we still kind of have water in the tub from Christianity, if you will. It's slowly draining out. What I mean when I say that is that Christianity has shaped our ethic, our sense of what's right and what's wrong, what's just and what's unjust. And that's a good thing. We want justice. Justice is good. But as that water is slowly draining out, it seems like the first thing that left the tub was forgiveness, was grace, was the ability to say," Yes, we do wrong things. And yes, we say wrong things." And yet there's forgiveness. There's grace. There's opportunity for people to change. Now, it seems like it's a one- strike- you're- out policy, especially if you're a public figure. And I think you're bringing up a great point, which is we need to reclaim the role of forgiveness. There's no way for us to move forward as a society if we have both sides chomping at each other and no one can say," I'm sorry," and expect," Hey, I'm going to be forgiven. There's going to be grace for this. We can come together and unite on the things that unite us."

Winston Marshall: Just understanding that most people don't have nefarious, ulterior motives. Even if you're not a Christian, they might have no faith or they might be of a different faith, almost certainly, what they want is a better world, a world of justice and a world of fairness. Everyone has a different opinion about how to get there. But if good faith returns and accept," Okay, well, I disagree with that person on almost everything." Except despite that, I do think that they want a better world or they're striving for a better world and just have different ideas about how to get there. If we start to remember that again, then perhaps the grace will return soon after.

Patrick Miller: Absolutely. And it's remembrance that what unites us, what connects us is often more important than what divides us. I think you hit the nail in the head to say it doesn't matter whose side someone's on, most people I know want a better world. They want a juster world. They want a fair world. Now, we might disagree about how we get there or what that looks like, but on the base level we have agreement. And we can start from that base. And we can start from a place of trust. And we can build out from that place in love and grace and even forgiveness when we make mistakes. But that common ground seems to be eroding. And we seem to be more interested in fighting with each other and in winning the argument than we are in actually building that shared, good world.

Winston Marshall: Yeah, exactly. I try and use this example. If you are in a relationship or let's say you are in a marriage, and if you are arguing with your spouse and you think that winning the argument is going to make things better, you are wrong. Because if there's a winner and a loser, what you've actually got is two losers. What you need is for everyone to win. You don't want it to be a Pyrrhic War. If you happen to be right, you've got to be magnanimous and gracious in so doing and not alienate or push away those with whom you disagree so that they can't come back and so that you can't rebuild afterwards.

Patrick Miller: Absolutely. I totally agree. Now, I know you've started a new podcast, Marshall Matters, and you're talking about the state of the arts. I'm really excited about this podcast, because I think there's not a lot of artists who are coming from your position who are trying to handle these issues honestly, and have open dialogue. So I'm really excited to hear your guests and the people you bring on. But I know one controversy that's come up recently, which you've written about, is around Joe Rogan and Neil Young. And if people don't know what I'm talking about, Neil Young essentially said," Hey, Joe Rogan's spreading misinformation about COVID. Take him off your platform, Spotify, or you can take my music off." And Spotify said," Okay, we'll take your music off," and left Joe Rogan on. And you've written that we're getting to a place now where it seems like artists are becoming the censors. How did that happen? I mean, in my mind, the world of art is the world of freedom of expression. And so it seems almost like a contradiction to imagine artists now coming in and saying," No, let's suppress freedom."

Winston Marshall: Well, Patrick, I'll just clarify that, because the point I've been wanting to make about the case of Neil Young and other artists, including Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills and Nash, in the UK, it was comedian, Stewart Lee, who said he'd remove his standup from Spotify as part of the same campaign, now the right to boycott is exercising the freedom of speech. So I have no problem with that at all. And at the same time, Joe Rogan's first amendment has not been brought into question here. What's odd about that episode was that it was artists, i. e., people whose career it was to express themselves, standing up in the spirit of less expression for others. And that's the crux. The reason they were boycotting was so that other people would have less speech. In this case, it was Joe Rogan. Now, I think that again, and I sort of made this point with the example of Whoopi Goldberg earlier, a better response from Neil Young would be start his own podcast, invite other people on who he thinks we should be listening to. More speech, not less speech. And I said this in an article I published on Bari Weiss's Common Sense Substack. If Neil Young's got the answers, happy to hear them. But that's the oddity of the time, to see artists standing up against speech. Now, again, not against Joe Rogan's right to free speech, but it's the culture of free speech that is being boycotted, I think, in that scenario. And so where my podcast ties into that is, as I've just said, I believe in more speech. So I want to open up and have conversations with people in the entertainment industry, in the creative industries, in the arts, and have more conversations. So, as I already mentioned, I interviewed Ignat Solzhenitsyn, the son of the mighty Alexandr. And Ignat himself is a highly- accomplished composer and conductor and classical musician. And so he told me a bit about the state of classical music today, which has got its own versions of homogenous thought. And I spoke to David Baddiel, who is a British comedian who's been on the television as long as I've been alive, on various comedy shows. And he actually wrote a song which is sung now, whenever England's playing the football called, It's Coming Home. And he's written a book called, Jews Don't Count. Now, David Baddiel's very interesting, because he's a progressive. And his book, Jews Don't Count, is a polemical piece, essentially criticizing the way in which Jews are overlooked in the current progressive movement, which is for all minorities, but seems to be forgetting Jews. And that seems to be one of the other hot button topics of the day. Particularly when it relates to Israel and Palestine, the creative industries largely are anti- Israel, I'd say. And very few artists come out pro Israel. And that's one example of homogenous thought as one of those topics. But another curious thing that's happening now is that, and I've heard this privately from Jews in the industry, where they might be even themselves critical of Israel. And yet when it comes out, wherever they might be, that they're Jewish, they get pushback from whoever it might be, because it's assumed then that they're a Zionist. Or it's assumed then that they're somehow involved in the persecution of Palestinians or the mistreatment of Palestinians, which is of course, a prejudice held against Jews. As I said, even if they don't support the Israeli state. And so they learn to keep quiet. They learn to hide their Star of Davids under their clothes or avoid the topic at all costs. It becomes one of those issues where they're self censoring. Anyway, I do recommend David Baddiel's book, Jews Don't Count. And in one of my next interviews, I'm speaking with British Jewish actress named Tracy- Ann Oberman, who wrote a piece describing what I just described myself about Jews hiding their identity in the acting and theater world. And she wrote a piece in the Jewish Chronicle last year describing that. And that's very interesting as well. And then this week I had Don McLean who wrote American Pie, one of the great, great songs. And he describes how he sort of saw this all coming. This spirit of less speech is exactly the day the music dies, as he put it. And another thing that was interesting about Don's interview was that he describes how when he was writing in the late'60s, early'70s, it was various movements kind of morphing into each other. So the civil rights movement morphing into the anti- war movement. And we see that today where we have this sort of BLM movement moving into this COVID thing. And then just slowly this morphing of these issues. For a bit of perspective, I absolutely love that conversation with Don here.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. It's interesting, I'm obviously an outsider to Hollywood, an outsider to the music industry, but you've been talking about the homogeneity of thought inside of those circles. And as an outsider, that sounds like nothing new. It sounds uncontroversial to me say that," Oh, most people in Hollywood, most people in music are probably left leaning, if not progressive." But do you think something new is happening now? Or is this just the same old thing in a different dress?

Winston Marshall: I think you're right. I think it's absolutely normal that communities are prone to group think. It's absolutely normal. It's certainly not a good thing. And I think what's been forgotten is that it's not a good thing. I think that Thomas Jefferson was the guy who said this. He said," If everyone's thinking the same, then no one's thinking." And what's worrying is that the idea of having different opinions, of diversity of thought, is no longer, or maybe it never was, but that's not a cherished situation when it should be. And that's what's been forgotten. And that's what I think is the worrying thing within the arts at the moment.

Patrick Miller: So you would say that you think there's less diversity of thought today than there was maybe 10 years ago, or is it that there's less diversity of thought allowed today than there was 10 years ago?

Winston Marshall: I'm not comparing it to 10 years ago. My observation for today is that I think diversity of thought should be celebrated. And that is how any healthy community develops and gets closer to the truth. And I think that that is forgotten. I'm not comparing it to a previous time.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, that's interesting. And I agree with you, diversity of thought is being lost and it's a huge loss. I mean, it's at the heart of pluralism. When we stop and we think about the project of the modern West, and I'll talk about the in specific, which is the largest melting pot in human history, where you have people from a enormous diversity of cultures and places around the world who are all living in one country together, pluralism is at the heart of that, the ability to disagree with each other, the ability to have differences of opinion. And then challenge anyone to find a country, a state, a regime in history where they enforced a single ideology, not just amongst the elite, but amongst the people that you would say I'd rather live in that universe. I'd rather live in that place than where we are today. I would far rather live in a world where there's diversity of thought. I want to live in a world where me, a pastor, a Christian man, can be challenged by a guy on the street, who says," You know what? I don't believe in Jesus. I don't believe in this God nonsense. And here's 10 reasons why you're wrong." I love that. I want to have a dialogue with that person. I want that person to have as much free speech as I get. And I want that in part, because I know historically, when he loses his right of free speech, when I lose mine, we all lose in the long run. And so I think you're presenting a great vision for Hollywood, for the music industry and for society writ large about diversity of thought and the necessity of reclaiming it and even embracing it wholeheartedly. And so my prayer, even in this conversation, is that people hearing this who maybe have gotten sucked into their tribalized echo chambers, where everybody's doing the group think thing, would say," Okay, maybe I'll never escape from the group think, but at the very least, I want to create space where I can hear other voices, where I can consider other opinions and maybe even open myself up to what those people have to say."

Winston Marshall: This is another thing that I don't think actually not many people do, although some, obviously some people do. But if you're on social media or you're on Twitter, go and follow all the people you don't agree with. Follow people on the other side. That's a really basic thing. And be open to the fact that they might be right some of the time. Or maybe quite a lot of the time. And go into that with good faith. And something that I committed to about three or four years ago was to read every book I was recommended, which has been a pain in the bloody ass, because it takes forever. And it consumes all my time. And particularly, if it's literature that I don't particularly want to read, or I don't like the author or whatever it is, but it means that I'm still obviously, get stuck in my own little echo chambers naturally. But at least this constantly attempting to challenge that and to do my best to avoid that.

Patrick Miller: I agree. If people would simply read more widely, more diversely, even if you disagree with the person you're reading with, you'll understand why they're making the argument they're making. You'll understand the humanity of the person who made that argument. I mean, here's one of the ironies for me. I actually just recently read the Andy Ngo book that caused this entire controversy. Now, I hadn't read it, because most of what I'd read about him and seen from him did seem a little bit extreme. And I wasn't very interested. And I was probably a little bit critical of him. And then I read his book and I thought," Okay, I didn't give him a fair shake. There's some really important things that need to be considered in this book." And I did it because you recommended it and because others recommended it. But for me it was an excellent example of exactly what you're saying. I needed to have my ideas about Antifa challenged. That was a necessity in my life. And it's expanded my own understanding, not just of the movement, but of all of these movements that kind of circle around it. I'll have you know, we are writing a book right now. So I'm going to recommend it to you just so I have to force you to read it since you read all the books you get. I'm just kidding. I won't do that to you. I won't do that to you.

Winston Marshall: No, I will. I will read it. I will.

Patrick Miller: Well, on that note, I'm just curious, is there a book that you've read right now that you want to recommend to our audience? Maybe you could even give two books, one for each side. I know you said the left- right thing is a little bit oversimplified. I agree with that. But any recommendations that are coming off of your bookshelf for our listeners?

Winston Marshall: That is a good question. Well, I'm just looking at scattered about what's beside me. There's a book by Andrew Doyle called, Free Speech and Why it Matters, which will probably play into the echo chamber of the non progressives. But he's also the guy behind Titania McGrath. I don't know if you're familiar. She's-

Patrick Miller: Wait. He does that Twitter account?

Winston Marshall: Yeah, so he's the comedian behind that. But he is also a great political thinker. It's a short book and it's a really important restating of the case for free speech. So that's worth reading. Now, what on the other side could I recommend? I already recommended David Baddiel's book. He's a progressive writing about antisemitism. And a lot of his presuppositions are from a progressive point of view. So actually, that would be a good book for conservative readers to engage with. And then there was, I think this might be the last book that I cried in and that's not a political book, but it's by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who's a Nigerian writer. And she wrote Notes on Grief, which is a short book about losing her father during the pandemic. She was the author of Americana, which that is worth reading if you are a conservative, because it's a really good way of challenging your thinking. And because it's a novel, it's done in an emotional and sensitive way. Chimamanda is a really important writer right now. And I'm not actually that familiar with her personally, so I don't know if she even is a progressive or what her politics are at all. But I think she deals with some of the race questions that are being asked in a really intelligent way. And I fully intend to read more of her work. Yeah, so that would be my recommendation on the other side.

Patrick Miller: Well, I haven't read any of those books. And I will read them now on your recommendation. I'll send you my thoughts. I'm looking forward to them all. Thank you so much for being on this show, Winston. It's been great to chat and hear more of your story. And to anybody who's listening, I would definitely encourage you to go check out his new podcast, Marshall Matters. By the time this comes out, I think some of the interviews you mentioned might actually already be released so you can enjoy those conversations. Well, thanks for this interview. It's really been a pleasure talking to you.

Winston Marshall: This has been a wonderful conversation. Thank you for having me on and hearing me out and I've really enjoyed it.

Patrick Miller: Absolutely. I've enjoyed it, too. And I wish you the best on your new podcast. I'm excited to continue listening.

Winston Marshall: Thank you. And God bless.

Keith Simon: Thanks for listening. If you found this podcast helpful, make sure to subscribe and leave a review.

Patrick Miller: And make sure it's at least five stars.

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Patrick Miller: Okay. Okay. At the very least, you can share today's episode. Maybe put it on your social, your favorite text chain.

Keith Simon: And if you didn't like this episode, awesome. Tell us why you disagree on Twitter @ TruthOverTribe_. We might even share your thoughts in an upcoming newsletter.


Mum's the word? Well, not for Winston Marshall. This week, the Mumford & Sons' former banjoist joins Patrick to discuss his cancel culture experience that all stemmed from a single tweet. Hear Marshall share on this complex journey that ultimately caused him to leave the band. Plus, where does he stand now? What role has his faith played in it all? And does he regret his decision (or the tweet that started it)? Listen now as he and Patrick dissect cancel culture and discuss why we must reclaim the role of forgiveness.

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Today's Host

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Patrick Miller

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Keith Simon


Today's Guests

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Winston Marshall