One of the most totalitarian memes on the Left is “silence is violence” – the notion that if you do not speak out in support of the cause of the day you are actively engaged in oppression of the marginalized. This is a cult mentality that must be totally rejected.
Let’s be clear: Silence is not violence. Silence is silence. There are many reasons someone may choose not to speak up about something. It might be related to employment or family, or a person may just be someone who does not like to speak publicly. None of these things are an indication of hostility. Demanding that someone affirm your beliefs is how a cult operates.
But there is a much more sinister side of this. For years, radical Leftists have said that opinions they dislike are “violence.” It is universally understood that it is morally justifiable to use force to defend yourself against a violent person, so this is a preemptive justification for terrorist actions to censor objectionable speech. Now that justification for violence is expanding even to people who may agree on policy, but do not speak up. This is truly alarming.
One of our most cherished liberties is the right to speak without censorship by the state, but forced speech is a much more severe violation of freedom of speech and freedom of conscience than censorship. It is one thing to stop someone from saying something he believes. It is another thing entirely to force him to say what you demand, whether he actually believes it or not.
Encouraging people to speak up against injustice is one thing, and recruitment of like minded people is essential to any political movement. But shaming or even threatening people unless they speak up as you demand is totalitarian. Grow up. The world does not revolve around your petulant demands.