Silence Is Not Violence: Stand Up to Speech Bullying

You decide your own level of involvement.

So admonishes Tyler Durden, the anti-hero leader of the revolutionary Project Mayhem in the film Fight Club. And that’s as it should be. Individuals have a responsibility to pick their battles and wage them as they see fit, choosing the strategy, tactics, and intensity level that works for them in their particular circumstances. But somehow, today’s activists have managed to make even the demonstrably mentally ill Durden seem moderate and democratic by comparison. We’re no longer permitted to decide our own level of involvement. The new paradigm is that the mob decides, and imposes their decision on you through relentless social pressure and bullying.

It’s not enough to agree with their goals, or even their methods. It’s not even enough to vocally support them. You have to voice your support in a certain, prescribed way, or else risk being labeled a heretic, a racist, a white supremacist, and “part of the problem.” You also risk losing your friends, your access to social media platforms, and even your job. Fail to fly a certain flag, post a certain meme, or utter a certain shibboleth, and your professional life and reputation could be in danger.

I have friends with government jobs (disgraceful, I know, but nobody’s perfect) whose professional agreements expressly prohibit them from taking political positions in public. This fact hasn’t protected them from attacks of “being a bad ally” for failing to read the right books (or more accurately, failing to publicly boast about having read them). I have friends in the policy world who have spent their careers vigorously advocating for reforms to the police and criminal justice system, doing real work that takes considerably more strategy and finesse than burning down a Wendy’s. This hasn’t stopped the attacks on them for failing to black out their social media accounts in obedience.

Aren’t we supposed to be against bullying? Isn’t the demand for unquestioning authority and obedience to an “official” narrative the hallmark of the fascism that Antifa claims to oppose? This isn’t about agreeing or disagreeing with a particular cause; it’s about supporting the freedom of conscience, the freedom for people to advocate when and how they choose for the causes that are important to them.

Nobody likes a bully, and those who go around threatening dissenters will soon find that nobody likes them either, as well as the cause with which they are associated. In the end, all that they’ll succeed in doing is creating a backlash that looks a lot like the very thing they started out opposing.

It’s hard to think of a more counterproductive strategy than to alienate actual and potential allies with this sort of intimidation campaign.

Coerced support for a movement is no more meaningful than the coerced apologies insincerely muttered by public figures at what seems like an ever increasing rate. When push comes to shove, that support is going to collapse just as quickly as it arose, being built on the flimsy foundation of fear and intimidation. Instead of bullying people into saying that they agree with you, when perhaps they don’t, why not spend that energy trying to persuade others into actually understanding and empathizing with your cause? Support built in that way will be infinitely more durable when it comes to bringing about positive change in society.

As for the rest of us, we should have the same courage that we’re asked to display on the playground. Stand up to bullies, don’t let them force you to say something you don’t believe or behave in a way that contradicts your principles. Silence is not violence, and a slogan isn’t necessarily true just because it rhymes. No amount of petitions to dictionary editors is going to change that. Don’t let your actions be determined by fear of a vocal minority whose only power consists in people caving to their demands. You can agree or disagree, but remember that, at the end of the day, you decide your own level of involvement. No one else can decide it for you.

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Logan Albright

Logan Albright is the Head Writer and Sound Engineer at Free the People. He is the author of Our Servants, Our Masters: How Control Masquerades as Assistance. Logan occasionally takes time out from his busy schedule of railing against the evils of government to play the part of musician, amateur novelist, and moustache enthusiast.

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  • Okay, I’m not going to be silent any longer, so…Pay attention. Based on 2015 crime statistics, 97% of Black deaths are caused by other Blacks. 2% are killed by Whites and 1% are killed by LEO’s. 81% of Whites are killed by Blacks, 16% by Whites and 3% by LEO’s. Those statistics put Black lives in danger, because of the fear of the obvious threat from the Black community. The BLM mania is based on White on Black/Cop on Black racist guilt tripping and not facts. If the BLM activists were truly interested in solving the Black death issue, they would look for and SOLVE the ROOT CAUSE behind Black on Black deaths FIRST, which is by far the majority of Black deaths. IF that issue were resolved, the deaths associated with the Police and white on black deaths would most likely fall proportionately.

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