Social Question

Storms's avatar

Does silence connote assent?

Asked by Storms (808points) April 19th, 2010

When you fail to speak out, do you effectively support something?

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20 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

It may be taken that way, but that is not necessarily what it means.

dpworkin's avatar

Sometimes silence is merely expressive of a wish to disengage.

Haleth's avatar

Not speaking up doesn’t show that you support something, but it also means you don’t have a say in what happens. Say someone cuts in front of you in line and you glare at them instead of saying something. That person knows that you don’t agree with them or support their action. But they got their way because you didn’t say anything, even though your intent may be clear.

Did something happen where you felt this way? Your use of language makes me think that you have an analytical style. Sometimes this can lead to overthinking things instead of acting.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I believe it conotes aquiesence more than assent.
Altho both lead to the same result.

I could give a better answer if I had some idea of what context to give the question.

Your_Majesty's avatar

It does if it’s done on purpose.

faye's avatar

Perhaps what you have to say is too inflammatory so you keep your mouth shut. Sometimes I do.

JLeslie's avatar

It doesn’t in my book. Silence means different things to different people in my experience. Passive Agressive people tend to be silent and they are not necessarily agreeing with the subject at hand.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

That is a basic logical fallacy.
“You don’t disagree so therefore you must agree”.

That dog doesn’t hunt.
Everyone who agrees with me, please let me know by not responding.

There, now 95% of Fluther agrees with me so I must have the highground right?

It sounds dumb when political figures assume this position too.

Trillian's avatar

Not consent, but perhaps apathy.

JLeslie's avatar

@Trillian Good Point, apathy, it can be that too.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

When a person sees someone or some group take actions that clearly violate the rights or well being of some other person or group, and despite this, does nothing and fails to speak out, they display, at a minimum, apathy to the harm and injustice that results or tacit support for the evil done and the harm caused.

Apathy or intentional ignorance of such violations of the rights of others or the harm and abuse of others is not a way to escape the blame for not resisting such evils.

This applies to abuse of minorities, bullying of the weak, violence against women or children and many daily acts of neglect or abuse that touches the lives of individuals, families or identifiable groups.

With freedom, safety and access to information comes the responsibility to speak out and act. When a person fails to do so, their excuses do not matter.

Storms's avatar

The doctors are on fire today.

evandad's avatar

It could. It could also mean the opposite, or nothing at all.

laureth's avatar

Apathy could be taken as assent for that matter. “Go ahead, spout that creepy crap, I don’t care.”

cockswain's avatar

I’ll usually say something like “don’t take my lack of interest in pursuing this argument to mean I think you’ve won”

Jeruba's avatar

In my case sometimes it means I am so stunned by a display of flagrant ignorance or wrong-headedness or downright fanaticism that I am literally speechless and unable to think of a single thing to say that that person would be capable of comprehending.

kyanblue's avatar

Silence is silence. It means nothing.

There are of course shocked silences, oblivious silences, indifferent silences, uncomfortable silences, determined-to-ignore silences, not-going-to-step-in silences, don’t-want-my-hands-dirty-but-I-agree-in-theory silences…but you can’t generalize.

I will say, however, that if—say, you saw a Muslim woman being harassed on the street because of her religion, and it was within your abilities to intervene and you didn’t, one could reasonably make a few conclusions about the matter: that you disagree with this but are too cowardly to try and change things (reflects poorly on your courage), or you agree with the action (reflects poorly on your morals).

smokester's avatar

@dpworkin – is that you Piddy?

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