"...but generally-speaking what is nefarious about cancel culture is not that people are called to account for their words, but that we seek to shut down the conversation without having it."
Yes this is true - folks may have already made up their minds about something and don't want what they consider immoral or damaging ideas to gain legitimacy.
But I think the act of cancelling is seperate from the act of saying someone should be cancelled. The firing does not come from people on social media or students protesting. It comes from the employers. It would be helpful if we focused our attention on the people who are actually in a position to fire someone. Then we can strengthen labor laws or contract laws.