Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Illusion of the Silent Majority

Sometimes, in an argument, I have heard this Silent Majority being bandied about. Its advocates usually cap the end of their argument with it. For example, '(Whatever is being argued for)...blah blah blah and I believe the Silent Majority is with us.'

Uh. Right. I have always felt a little uneasy about this notion of the Silent Majority. As if there were was a legion of still silent pale partially rotting zombies ready to vote whichever way their preacher claimed.

How can we know what this hallowed Silent Majority are thinking of when they are silent? We cannot assume they are with us on this or that issue simply because they lay quiet. Although silence in political action equals to acquiescence, it does not apply to political opinion. In the realm of political opinion, you cannot claim to speak for a group unless they have agreed for you to be their representative (this to be distinguished from speaking for the benefit of the disenfranchised natives and marginalized segments of society). Other than that, you speak for yourself and yourself only, and those who voice their association with you on certain issues.

After all, how can anyone claim to speak for the Silent Majority when they refuse to speak? That is like someone claiming to speak for someone who is in a coma.

No comments: