But the voices yelling at me and anyone else who failed to post seemed to believe that not making a statement was itself a statement — and an immoral one, at that.
The impulse toward loud, reductive declarations reflects genuine fear about horrors that lie beyond words. Simple binaries imply simple solutions. And it’s much more pleasant to tell yourself you stand on the side of good, against evil, than to question whether the lines of demarcation were drawn correctly.
Knee-jerk social media posts are not what bother me most, though. Instead, it’s the idea that not posting is wrong somehow — that everyone needs to speak, all the time. It discourages shutting up and listening and letting the voices that matter the most be heard over the din. It implies it’s not OK to have any uncertainty about what’s going on or any kind of moral analysis that does not lend itself to presentation in a social media post. It does not leave time or space for people to process traumatic events in the sanctuary of their own minds or to gather more information before pronouncing a judgment. It pressures people who don’t have an opinion yet or are working out what they think to manufacture one and present it to a jury of total strangers on the internet who will render an instant verdict on its propriety.
Nothing pays off like restraint of tongue and pen
We must avoid quick-tempered criticism and furious, power-driven arguments,
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