Fighting the New “Shut Up Culture”

June 16, 2015

by Joshua Pinho


Photo credit: Jennifer Moo via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Photo credit: Jennifer Moo via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Pulse contributor Jon Schweppe has an op-ed in Townhall today on the growth of the “shut up culture.”  Schweppe argues that while dissent and disagreement have always been a part of public discourse in this country, cultural forces have recently been at work to silence those with differing viewpoints on certain contentious issues:

A friend texted me the other day about abortion.

Previously, she was very pro-choice. However, after reading up on the horrors of abortion and how women are negatively affected, she realized that she was actually pro-life. She told me she felt convicted in her new belief, but she was afraid to speak out about it because “people are too mean.”

She’s right. People are mean. If she expressed her opinion publicly, there’s no doubt she would be ruthlessly attacked and intimidated by those who disagree with her. That’s life in 2015.

Mark her down as another victim of the new “shut up” culture.

When did this phenomenon begin? When did we decide that disagreeing with a powerful prevailing opinion is bigotry?

Dissent is as American as apple pie, baseball, and wars in the Middle East. It is the essence of free speech. We don’t agree on almost anything in this country, and that’s okay—we shouldn’t! Consensus is the enemy of progress. But more and more we see efforts to silence perceived minority viewpoints.

Be sure to read the rest here.


Joshua Pinho is a Digital Communications Associate for the American Principles Project.

Archive: Joshua Pinho