Silence = Acceptance

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Principessa, May 21, 2007.

  1. Principessa

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    Martin Niemoeller was a pacifist who spoke out against nuclear weapons. He is best known for his powerful statement about the failure of Germans to speak out against the Nazis:

    “First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

    He died in Wiesbaden on March 6, 1984.

    I first read this quote in an Ann Landers column in the New York Daily News when I was about 8 years old. I guess you could say it resonated with me because I never forgot it.

    So when people like woodward, stud21, conanobrien, jameswales, etc. enter chat and start spewing vitriolic hate against gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, people with HIV or AIDS, women, and blacks I can’t ignore them.

    It pisses me off when otherwise sensible people tell me to use the ignore function when a sexist, racist, homophobic troll enters chat. History shows us these people don’t leave never to be seen again. In cyberland they just change names and keep coming back like onion.

    In real life they do not retreat quietly into the night never to be seen or heard from again. They go home and start armies and churches like Jerry Falwell, Fred Phelps, and Adolf Hitler.

    As long as I have breath in my asthmatic lungs I will shout them down, I will jump on their case; and I will get up in their grill.


    I Will Not Be Silenced!


     
  2. Quite Irate

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    Many people are just plain dicks. Human nature doesn't change, no matter how hard you may will it to. Haters are part of life. Ignore them until a certain point (they pose a physical risk to you, they're getting popular, or they're just fucking annoying), then do something about it. Comments in a chat room shouldn't bother you so much. It's all just for shock effect anyway. If you don't know me and I come online saying I hate jews, faggots, niggers, etc., it's beyond easy for you to feel hatred towards me. These people get off on knowing how easy it is to push people over the edge.

    Why do you act as if someone is trying to silence you? Nobody is. Haters are pretty much universally recognized as scum by intelligent people. Actively seeking to do away with them doesn't make you empowered, it makes you worried about your mental health and well being. Internet forums are not anywhere to operate under the pretense of freedom. People say what they want. You've got to sift through the crap and find the few gems out there. That's it.
     
  3. Principessa

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  4. Quite Irate

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  5. Principessa

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  6. homelessmandril

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    You mean he's going to a coke-party hosted by Danny LaRue and Colin MacInnes?

    Actually I have a suspicion that's exactly the kind of place he's been sneaking off to every weekend for the past twenty years or so.

    [​IMG]
    :biggrin1:
     
  7. Principessa

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    *BUMP*
     
  8. playainda336

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    How convenient. >_>

    I have no commentary, however it is truth. o_o

    The world is run by those who show up...more or less, those who speak up.
     
  9. SpoiledPrincess

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    I do often speak up when I see someone being an arsehole, in real life I'm much more likely to speak out because on the net people are often spouting off with stuff they don't believe in just because they want a reaction, in that case it's often easier to treat them as I would a naughty three year old and ignore their attention seeking.
    However sometimes in the world today you're prevented from voicing a personal choice or preference on the grounds that it's racist or discriminating against a minority, for instance were I to say I dislike red headed guys as sexual partners no one would turn a hair, if I said I disliked black guys as sexual partners I'd be called a racist, if I said I wouldn't screw a fat guy I'd be called fattist.
    I'd like to see the back of racism and other discriminations but we can't force people to be open handed across the board when it comes to personal choices as to who they have as friends/lovers. People are likely to have a preference for someone with the same social mores and background, and often this means someone within the same racial group, it's not racism, it's just choosing someone who you'll get on with.
     
  10. rob_just_rob

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    I occasionally work at shouting down the trolls, bigots, fakers and other assholes here. After a while it gets tedious, though, and the ignore function gets a workout.

    Kudos to those here who spend a LOT of time countering the assholes with facts, logic, and where called for, sarcasm and ridicule. You know who you are, and your work is appreciated.
     
  11. madame_zora

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    Neimoller became a pacifist, which means he perhaps did have a conscience after all, having spent his younger years siding with Hitler against the Jews. To be sure, religion took a beating in Germany then, I wonder if we're still feeling some of that backlash?

    Yes, in practical terms, silence does equal acceptance. Not in philosophical terms of course, but if you KNOW the voting majority is going a certain way, and you do nothing to stop it, then yes- you are complicit in what happens as a result, even though you didn't vote "for" it.

    I think there's a tendendcy for people to just "go with the flow" whatever that is at the time. If it doesn't cause them to change very much or stretch very far, they'll do what the crowd is doing. I think by virtue of nothing more sinister than laziness, Christians have allowed some toxic religion into their midst. MOST Christians are not fundamentalists, so they don't associate themselves with the cartoonish "fundies" they see on tv.
    The problem is, they are less likely to look objectively at their own church service and decide dispassionately if fundamentalism has crept in to a lesser degree without really making an announcement. Actually, I fear this far worse than the full-blown fundies.

    Silence is far worse than acceptance. By remaining silent, you are accepting whatever results those who would speak up will get. Wow, what excuse could anyone possibly have for that?
     
  12. SpeedoGuy

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    Excuses for people not to speak up?

    Pick any or all that apply:

    * too busy
    * indifferent
    * too lazy
    * self-absorbed
    * ignorant
    * timid
    * distracted
    * unaware
    * etc
     
  13. homelessmandril

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    I don't get it. Isn't it worse to BE racist than to keep quiet about racism?
     
  14. dong20

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    I think the implication is that being silent about racism makes one racist. Or at least making a tacit agreement that it's OK. Which is about as logical as accusing someone not being outspoken against murder as being a murderer.

    A weakness of keeping silent about, in this example - racism when it's occuring right in front of you is, I think, something else; sadly many people are weak and will not speak up, especially if they feel:
    • It will draw attention to themselves in a public situation
    • They may get beaten up or otherwise abused
    • They're forced to justify their position
    • They may embarrass their companions
    • They feel it will make no difference
    It's not right, it just is.

    I agree, completely and I've expressed the same preferences here myself (well not the same but you get my drift I hope) and I make no apology for it. Any more than I feel a need to apologise for my dislike of say, artichokes. I have nothing against artichokes, I don't think they're evil in vegetable form or a worthless waste of space - I just don't like to eat them.

    Expressing a preference against something is not a de facto denegration of it's intrinsic value it's merely, as you say a personal preference. Surely it would take a retard:)wink:) not to understand that. Unfortunatley too many (especially here) simply see it as an excuse for some misguided PC crusade.

    However, when our choices and/or actions are based on bias of an irrational, ignorant or vindictive nature then I think there's cause for concern. The difficulty, especially from the outside is being able to tell the difference and thus act and (back on topic) speak out accordingly.
     
  15. DC_DEEP

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    No. It's like a land mine. Being a racist is the bomb you can see and avoid or defuse. Silent acceptance of racism is the land mine you can't see, and step on.
     
  16. homelessmandril

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    Let me briefly pursue a slight tangent:

    Often my grandmother tells me stories about her experiences during WWII (she has nothing else to talk about apparently), and occasionally we end up discussing war and the morality of soldiering in fairly unenlightened terms. Her view is that conscientious objectors were no better than cowards and deserving of prison time, whereas those who went to war (whether or not they excelled while there) should be recognised as heroes.

    I have a problem with this reasoning because it leaves no-one morally neutral - you're either saint or sinner. Thus it becomes one's duty to be a hero, kind of devaluing the concept of heroism if you ask me.

    Personally I take a more morally minimalistic standpoint: I have never been to war, and truthfully I don't know if I would have the guts to. So I'm not willing to condemn someone who is afraid of death and/or dismemberment as a coward, and I think this is a reasonably enlightened and modern standard. Consequently those who DID go to war would be feted, while those who did not would only suffer in relative terms.

    I wonder if I could extend this logic to the case of a right-minded individual living in Germany in November 1938. I can't tell you now that I would be brave enough to stand up against a detatchment of brownshirts with clubs and pistols, so I think it would be rather rich to denigrate someone else for the same lack of courage. We should of course celebrate the bravery of MLK Jr, Ghandi et al., but to equate silence with complicity is neither logically nor morally correct.

    In my view, anyway. It suits my interpretation of this: Categorical imperative - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Of course by my logic the Levite was quite justified in leaving the robbed man to die by the road, so you have to apply a bit of common sense. We can't all be Samaritans, though, can we?
     
  17. dong20

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    DC, I agree you at face value, but HM said keeing quiet - that's not the same as quiet acceptance (see below). You may think they're the same, I suspect HM doesn't and neither do I. Even if, and I do accept this - that from the perspective of the third party they are.

    The inaction is somehow as heinous as action argument is a tactic commonly used by those to try and goad others into supporting their stance, or make them feel bad for not being more assertive. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

    DC, I know I'm splitting hairs here but absolute statements that take little account of basic human nature; rather too like the 'You're with us or against us' stance.

    Has everyone who commented here and and agreed with the basic premise of this thread, say hand on heart that they have never failed to take action or speak up when they saw something happening where could have (or felt should - in context) take action?

    My point; that it's convenient to make such sweeping statements from the comfort of one's keyboard, quite another to back them up in the real flesh and blood world. Your option to avoid or defuse suggests you understand that, and that action, while often desirable isn't always advisable.

    I hate racism, for that matter any irrational predjudice - though we all exhibit these to a degree. That said, I will freely admit that I have, on occasion been in situations where intervention would have inflamed it and in all probability resulted in violence and made a bad situation, far far worse.

    That's the problem with supposed moral absolutes, while their validty may (or may not) be constant, when it comes to enforcement they're...fluid. Sometimes, though it may sting from the moral high ground of the OP; inaction is precisely the correct action.
     
  18. HotBulge

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    Probably not .... There will always be people in the world who harbor hateful denigrating attitudes towards other no matter what - race, sexual orientation, gender. We can deal with these issues as people raise them. It's the silence and complicity that allows these social ills to linger.
     
  19. DC_DEEP

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    You aren't really splitting hairs. In the interest of brevity, I was less specific than perhaps I should have been, and I really didn't intend my viewpoint to come across as so absolute. I would, of course, make a distinction between a situation where my opposition/intervention would make me uncomfortable, and a situation where my opposition/intervention could cause more harm than good.
    Not to my recollection have I failed to confront in those situations where I felt I could and should have confronted.
    Would I confront an armed gang of thugs attacking someone and shouting their bigoted bullshit? Not likely. If I'm at McD's and I hear the person in front of me or behind me making racist comments? Most likely, I would say something.

    Given the context of the quote in the OP, I most definitely NEVER would say "I probably could make my voice heard, but the injustice I see doesn't affect me personally, so I won't bother." That's what I got from the OP - the whole "when they came for the Jews, I said nothing, because I'm not a Jew" idea.
     
  20. dong20

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    I thought that, but I try not to assume, harsh words can result!

    I think that's unusual, and impressive. I suppose it's that judgement of when to confront (and when not) is different for us all.

    That's the distinction I was seeking to make - taken to the extreme to be sure but that was it.

    I know, though from what I've seen (IRL) the sentiments in red seem nearer the norm, people tend to keep their heads down. It's an aspect of human nature to protect oneself and avoid conflict - "Someone else will say something". And while it may be wrong I don't think it's fair to unconditionally condemn them for doing so, I'm speaking in general terms here, not aimed at you DC.

    To me that's what Silence=Acceptance means - it has great merit and very often true, but taken at face value it's an over simplication.
     
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