There's an old adage that when America sneezes, Ireland gets a cold.
That's usually employed within a financial and corporate context but, as we have seen in the last few months, it is now equally applicable to social and cultural issues.
That could be seen in the large and extremely controversial Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Dublin at the start of June, when thousands of Irish people gathered in the midst of the lockdown to protest the killing of George Floyd thousands of miles away in Minneapolis.
But in the last few days, we have seen a vivid example occur much closer to home. The current American vogue for ripping down 'problematic' statues - and burning bibles, as was witnessed in Portland the other day - has spread to England, which saw the statue of slave owner Edward Colston tossed into the harbour in Bristol.
While most Irish people could look at these incidents and make up their own minds, there was a certain sense that it was all rather removed from this country.
But the recent controversy over the removal of the statues of the so-called 'Nubian slaves' that garlanded the entrance of Ireland's most iconic hotel, the Shelbourne, was a grim reminder that in these febrile times, nothing is safe.
Following some complaints, the American owners decided to quietly remove the offending items. But if they thought nobody would notice, they were mistaken.
So, a rather bizarre argument broke out - with some people claiming this proved the Shelbourne endorsed slavery, while art historians and lecturers - actual experts - pointed out that they were figures from Egyptian royalty.
Even when that rather crucial point became clear, the objectors weren't satisfied. Even if they were queens rather than slaves, they were still representations of black bodies and that was unacceptable. They must vanish from sight.
Welcome to cancel culture, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to our brave new world where any perceived offence, even if that perception is factually inaccurate, is enough to have the mob demanding retribution. The row over those statues was an imported one and I sometimes think it stems from victim-envy. Protesters in the States and the UK are receiving high praise for their courage and human nature dictates that some Irish people want a piece of that action.
But cancel culture runs much deeper, and more perniciously, than a row over a few decorative lamp holders outside the Shelbourne. It's an all-encompassing form of extreme censorship which decrees that anything which goes against the sensibilities of a minority of people must be forever consigned to the memory hole.
Like all mobs, those involved think they are being righteous. Like all mobs, they are wrong. We're well used to cancel culture in Ireland, of course. We just used to refer to it as the power of the Catholic Church to denounce authors such as Sean Ó Faoláin and Walter Macken.
The Church is no longer the force it once was, and the Censorship of Publications Board was thankfully shut down in 2010. But a new breed of censors has replaced them, the only difference is that they call themselves 'progressive' rather than Catholic. As we all know, when you're on the receiving end, that's a distinction without a difference.
Recently, we even saw calls for the removal from the school curriculum of two of the most important anti-racist works in American literature, 'Of Mice And Men' and 'To Kill A Mocking Bird'.
That these two classics are now receiving a belt of the secular crozier for the crime of using outdated and offensive language shows that, like all censors, those who object to such works spectacularly miss the point of the art they're trying to suppress. When avowedly anti-racist novels are accused of being racist then we have truly gone down the rabbit hole.
Irish author John Boyne was also on the receiving end of this new cancel culture trend. Boyne - who had already been criticised for writing about the Holocaust in 'The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas' - fell foul of the transgender lobby with his 2019 release, 'My Brother's Name Is Jessica'.
He was accused of transphobia, misgendering, dead-naming and any other pejorative his hysterical critics could muster.
Inevitably, he was then subjected to the usual Twitter pile-on, with the hashtag #JohnBoyneIsTransphobic gaining traction. JK Rowling has also attracted the ire of the transgender lobby for saying that she is a biological woman, and Irish writer Graham Linehan received a lifetime Twitter ban for his incessant and weird bickering with the transgender community.
The irony of both of those characters being targeted by pressure groups who have no interest in freedom of expression is that neither of them have a great track record of defending other people. Rowling used her massive platform to denigrate Kevin Myers while Linehan has called for the prosecution of a Scottish comedian for a joke he made with his dog.
This strange and sinister air of intolerant totalitarianism is not, as proponents of cancel culture claim, simply holding the powerful to account.
Rowling may have the profile to highlight her predicament but the vast majority of those who find themselves exiled have no platform. Even more disturbingly, last week's Cato Institute study found that 62pc of Americans are extremely reluctant to express a political opinion that goes against the prevailing orthodoxy.
Can you blame them?
After all, the same survey discovered that 50pc of American liberals think anyone who donates to Trump should be fired from their job. This is madness - and in an age of madness, common sense is a radical position to hold.
It's time for more of us to become radical.