By Scott Tibbs, May 11, 2015
If someone does not express an opinion on a particular topic or event, he is not endorsing or supporting anything. He is also not opposing anything. Silence is not the expression of an opinion. Silence is the absence of an opinion. If course, I should not have to explain this at all. This is a basic premise of logical thought, and should be well understood by everyone.
I have been falsely accused more times than I can count of endorsing or supporting something, when I have been silent on the topic. Even when a news story breaks about a particular scandal in the middle of the work day, I have been falsely accused of "supporting" the scandalous behavior if I do not immediately comment on it. I have even been accused of supporting bad behavior that I have previously denounced, because I did not denounce it again when that same action was in the news again.
Such is the nature of "gotcha" politics and instant communications via the Internet. People on both sides demand answers RIGHT NOW, and then denounce their political opponents for their silence without regard to any kind of logical thinking whatsoever. This unfortunate trend in anti-logic has expanded dramatically in the last twenty years. Both sides need to drop this charade immediately.
It is perfectly reasonable to ask someone's opinion in a public forum, especially if that person is vocal in the public sphere. It is not reasonable and it is not civil to assign someone an opinion he has never expressed. When that fabricated opinion is then used to accuse someone of "hypocrisy," it crosses the line into a lie, making the accuser into a liar. It shows more than a lack of critical thinking skills - it shows a severe lack of integrity.
This is not difficult, people. Do not assume someone has a particular opinion on an event, topic or issue unless that person has expressed an opinion on the matter. Many times, your assumption will be wrong, especially if you are making that accusation with a reckless disregard for the truth. (In other words, if you are a liar.) Simply wait for an opinion to be expressed, or ask someone what his opinion is. Silence is silence.