The phrase you’re hearing today from the Left is ‘Silence is Violence.”
This short, pithy sentence is on t-shirts, on social media, and, if you live in one of America’s major cities, you might be lucky enough to have it screamed in your face by a college student with a degree in Lesbian Dance Theory.
But what does it mean?
Upon closer examination, these words are referring to George Floyd’s death, and, more broadly, claims of systemic racism (another fun catchphrase often bandied about) within the American justice system.
According to Dr. Reeda Walker (who is a University of Houston professor, clinical psychologist, and someone who knows exactly what you ought to do with your freedom of speech even better than you do!), everyone is obligated not to be silent. In fact, according to her interview with the Houston Chronicle, we’re all obligated to call out racism whenever and wherever we see it.
“Racism isn’t a black problem. It’s a white problem, and their silence is violence,” Steinwender said. “But it’ll take white people to call out other white people for real change. When black people speak their truth, we are called angry or accused of using the race card. We are looking for white people to speak out.”
Leaving aside the implicit racism in assigning a problem to someone of a particular race (‘white people’), Walker is basically correct here. All of us have a duty to call out racism, because racism is wrong in all shapes and sizes.
Here’s another example from the world of sports: The Players’ Tribune has a compelling article detailing exactly why a majority must stand against racism in order to truly make progress against one of the world’s most devestating evils:
But what will really help our voices be heard, what will truly make a difference, will be when the majority stands with us and loudly acknowledges our suffering and its support for progress.
Unfortunately, this logic is stretched even further by self-proclaimed ‘White Allies’ who seek to leverage their ‘White Privilege’ to call out other white people for complicity in systemic racism.
This problematic worldview is referenced by Counterpunch, which (fittingly) describes itself as a publication with ‘Fearless Muckraking Since 1993’.
Racism exists, and it is a white problem. Therefore, a more honest and accurate way to talk about racism –which requires both prejudice and systemic or institutional power over others– is to call it what it is: white supremacy. White supremacy is a system of exploitation and oppression of people of color by white people for the purpose of maintaining a system of wealth, power, and privilege for white people.
We have to acknowledge openly that white supremacy exists in America. And white privilege exists. We all need to be able to recognize both to do anything about them, and unless we are actively using our white privilege to dismantle white supremacy, we are complicit in its preservation.
White people need to use their white privilege to talk to others about white privilege and white supremacy. If you’re uncomfortable, that’s good. Comfort sustains white supremacy because it makes people who benefit from white supremacy complacent in the status quo. Invisibility gives white supremacy power. Call it out. Use white privilege to interrupt white supremacy; to dismantle white supremacy; to take a back seat and support others who have been oppressed by white supremacy – to give those who have been oppressed by white supremacy opportunities they have been denied, and to learn from those who have been oppressed by white supremacy. And use your privilege to listen. America has a system that has been built around making space for, centering, and hearing white voices above others and it is time for us to be quiet and really listen.
That is muck: sheer, unadulterated garbage for the sake of assigning blame for the racism in 1865 or 1964 to every American, today, in 2020. That is patently stupid. The pièce de résistance of this “article” comes in the form of a call to action:
As a white person, I recognize that I need to do something instead of stepping away from this. I recognize that is wrong, and it is exactly what white supremacy depends on white people to continue to do. I am stepping up as an ally and accomplice right now because it is the right thing to do, and you should too.
There you have it. White silence on the issue of racism is violence.
It’s not enough that literally all of America agrees that racism is wrong.
It’s not enough that literally all of America agrees that there should be equal opportunity for people of every race (and that there has been since redlining was made illegal in the 1980s).
It’s not enough to simply not be racist.
You either look in your closet and find the mysterious bogeyman of systemic racism and white supremacy, or you’re no better than a plantation owner in 1830.
All of this is remarkably stirring, isn't it?
But, if you would, before you go and bring hellfire and brimstone down on all the evil American racists, wait one minute and finish reading this article (or just the next few sentences).
Most of us are old enough to remember back to about five minutes ago when the Left was pushing radically different messaging on speech.
While ideological inconsistency from the masses of Liberalism is nothing new, the mental gymnastics required for a 180 degree rotation in thinking this fast would leave Simone Biles scratching her head.
In case you've forgotten, here's a refresher from the distant past (October 11, 2017) courtesy of the National Review:
A new survey of college students demonstrates this reality perfectly. Conducted by McLaughlin & Associates for Yale’s William F. Buckley, Jr. Program, the survey queried 800 college students attending four-year private or public colleges, and the results were depressingly predictable.
[I]n the abstract students will claim to be open-minded. They’ll claim to value different views — right until the moment they really get offended. For example, 81 percent agree with the statement that “words can be a form of violence.” A full 58 percent of students believe that colleges should “forbid” speakers who have a “history of engaging in hate speech.”
That's terrifying in and of itself. But unfortunately, students couldn't even agree what constituted 'hate speech' (there is no definition in United States jurisprudence for hate speech or hate crimes). The survey summary continues:
And what is hate speech? The definition the students liked was staggeringly broad. Two-thirds agreed that hate speech is “anything that one particular person believes is harmful, racist, or bigoted.” They further agreed that hate speech “means something different to everyone.”
Given these realities, it should come as no surprise that large numbers of students believe that interruptions or even violence are appropriate to stop offensive speech. Almost 40 percent believe that it’s “sometimes appropriate” to “shout down or disrupt” a speaker. A sobering 30 percent believe that physical violence can be used to stop someone from “using hate speech or engaging in racially charged comments.”
And there you have it. Speech is violence! In fact, #speechisviolence trended on Twitter for several days in a row during this timeframe.
Unfortunately, it also trended IRL.
This wonderful Leftist tolerance and acceptance was extended to multiple Conservative speakers during this little phase. Have Ben Shapiro's words ever burned a building down? Have Mike Pence's prayers ever beaten someone in the street?
Of course not.
But #speechisviolence, and to prevent that violence, the Left sought to prevent people from saying anything they didn't like.
In the present day, if one doesn't speak out in support of the anti-racist movement and actively call out racism everywhere (whether it exists or not), they're violent.
Here's a question: could it possibly be that neither of these extremely stupid things are true?
Here are both of these catchy little slogans rephrased and stripped down to their actual meaning:
Speech is violence: If you say/do something I don't like and you offend me, I will call it violence and attempt to shut you down and make your life miserable.
Silence is violence: If you don't say/do something I think you should say/do, I will call it violence and attempt to shut you down and make your life miserable.
Astute readers (or people with eyes and functioning brains) will observe up a remarkable similarity in these two phrases.
As it so often does, Twitter has the best possible response to this malarky:
The Intelligencer has an equally cutting response to the concept of offensive speech equalling violence:
There’s no reason to go down this road, because there’s no evidence that the mere presence of a conservative speaker on campus is harming students in some deep psychological or physiological way. This is a silly idea that should be retired from the conversation about free speech on campus.
When the two phrases are distilled and compared side-by-side, the Left's game is pretty obvious.
Shut down people who disagree with you.
Don't let them talk.
Don't let them refuse to talk.
Make them say what you want through force.
The Left is tired of trying to use the carrot. Now they're using the stick.
If the autonomous zone in Washington, the riots in Minneapolis, or the outbreak of vicious online anti-white, anti-Jewish rhetoric the didn't scare you, this certainly should.