August 10, 2020

Big corporations aren’t the only ones who are caving to very loud leftist activists. A recent study found that Americans are “self-censoring” far more than they did in the past (I wonder if it’s even worse than this, but they were afraid to tell the truth to the survey-takers?) They call this the “Spiral of Silence.”

Interestingly, the fear of expressing your honest opinions affected Republicans, Democrats and Moderates fairly equally. What accounted for the rise was urbanites and the highly “educated” (quotation marks mine – I no longer consider a college degree to automatically denote being truly educated.)

The authors of the linked article claim that “the evidence suggests that those Americans who have little education and live in the hinterland actually feel most free to speak their minds. Perhaps they have simply never been taught that it is wise to keep their mouths shut.” I couldn’t disagree more: I think that people outside of urban areas are more likely to be taught to be polite and not force their views on others. I doubt that many of the Antifa radicals screaming racial epithets and Marxist bilge into the faces of black cops were raised in small towns in the South.

But they do get right that the fear of reprisals for speaking your mind is not due to government oppression (no matter what liberals say about Trump being a “dictator”), but fear of judgment by their social peers. After enough negative reinforcement, they say a view held by as many as a quarter of a social group may stop being expressed at all. I would argue that due to fear of the “cancel culture,” views held by up to 80 percent of Americans have stopped being expressed.

And I agree with them on this point:

“That is why high levels of self-censorship should be treated as an ominous warning sign. They signal the development of a culture of orthodoxy that is animated by a false sense of certainty about what is true and what is false—and a proud intolerance of those who might dare to voice an opinion that conflicts with the mainstream.”

My only objection is that “mainstream” has now been defined as “far-left.” I don’t recall an election where we all agreed that leftist opinions were the only correct ones worthy of being expressed. The Founders gave us free speech so that all views could be heard, trusting posterity to have the common sense to reject bad ideas and embrace good ideas. This is why the left has tried to redefine speech they disagree with as “violence” that must be banned. Because they can’t call it what it really is: “Arguments we don’t have a good answer for.”

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  • Dianne Roberts

    08/10/2020 10:19 AM

    I am a proud southern lady, and you are right about not feeling the need to "conform" everyone to my way of thinking. But my greatest fear for expressing my thoughts (wearing a Trump t-shirt, bumper sticker, Back the blue etc is the fear of injury. The far left are not respecters of life or property. I am not a confrontational person, I do not curse at people and do not want to be cursed at. BUT! I will march loud and proud to cast my vote for President Trump and Vice President Pence. I will vote against every single democrat on the ballot because they are full of hate and destruction, the far left mouths are ugly, anti-religious, proabortion, filthy and all things that are an abomination to my LORD. If I give this a little more thought I might come back and put my real thoughts in writing!