Compelled Speech

Jeremy Abel responds to a blog post about how not speaking up about the plight of Palestinians makes you complicit in the violence against them. He gives six reasons why he will not feel compelled to speak on any given issue, despite public pressure to do so. One of the reasons is that he doesn’t feel like contributing to the current political divides.

I do not want to add to the current asinine, brain-dead polarization. I have been politically aware since the Clinton administration and the impulse to immediately and unwaveringly and irreversibly choose sides has never been this strong. A new issue arises and within 30 minutes the teams have been chosen on Twitter and we’re all supposed to go along with this idiocy. No thanks. I will exercise my judgement as best I can—and that includes judging whether I need to have a position on an issue and whether I need to speak about it publicly.

This aligns somewhat with a post Alan Jacobs published not long ago about the silence is violence” movement that is particularly strong on social media. He starts by stating, I don’t believe that silence is violence,’ ever.” I can’t entirely agree with that in all cases. Sometimes, speaking up can measurably alter the outcome of some injustice in progress. Those times are few and far between, though, and rarely take place on some social website timeline.