there’s a difference between “being canceled” and “facing consequences” but there’s also a fine line between “facing consequences” and “deincentivizing growth and change” and i think that needs to be grappled with more. i’m not saying all mistakes need to be forgiven by everyone, but people who make mistakes are people, and if it becomes clear that not only will they will never be forgiven for their past, but that they will also be continually punished, then it’s a normal human response to grow frustrated and stop trying, and the holier-than-thou response of “well if they were really sorry, they would willingly accept all the punishments we throw their way” is stupid. what does pulling receipts up from 20 years ago do? who do these “gotcha” moments help?
it also isolates people and makes them more likely to join extremist and reactionary groups. connection and acceptance is a fundamental human need. so if someone feels cast out of their social circles because of something that they are told is irredeemable, they are likely to look for a group that will accept or even encourage that behavior. by holding people to impossible standards, you may be unintentionally radicalizing them