Silence is Golden

by George Hatjoullis

There is a saying in Greek that the best reply to a fool is no reply. There is much wisdom in this saying. In my blog, The Language of Difference, I make the case that the best response to much language of difference is no response. Last night I listened to the POTUS make a strange speech masquerading as a press conference. The press dutifully reported it. The liberal social media gleefully repeated parts of it. The logic is that POTUS condemns himself from his own mouth. The reality is that the professional and liberal social media are doing his work for him.

The POTUS Tweets regularly. But who reads Tweets? How many of his natural sympathisers spend much time on social media? The Tweets reach his followers not directly through being read on the Twitter feed but by secondary reporting through professional media. If no one reported his Tweets they would have much less impact. If no one reported his rants they would have much less impact. He does not condemn himself by the reporting of these Tweets. He reaches those sad souls that want to believe what he saying. The reporting reinforces the message. It does not ridicule it.

The problem is compounded by the messenger. If the press report that the POTUS is casting doubt on the veracity of the press this merely reinforces his message with those that also doubt the veracity of the press. Thanks to the press, the POTUS can reach a much bigger and more diverse audience than his Tweets and rants ever might. The same problem is evident in a wider context with the unthinking reactions of the liberal social media. They feel the urge to retweet every twisted statement with a derisive comment as if this comment emasculates the statement, when all they have achieved is to publicise the twisted statement. Idiocy does not require a response. If twisted statements have a natural audience then it is best not to let them reach the audience. Their impact is not diminished by some smart comment from a liberal. It is reinforced precisely because it is from a liberal. People sensitive to twisted comments tend not like liberals. If someone has a predisposition to addiction then it is best to deprive them of addictive substances.

Today, Tony Blair gave a very sound speech opposing Brexit. I cannot disagree with anything he said. I still wish he had not said it. If he wishes to help he should do it from a low profile and behind the scenes. The messenger detracts from the message even with those that love the message. Is this unreasonable? What if Beelzebub popped up from the fires of hell and declared against Brexit. Would that convince leavers to oppose Brexit? There is too much unthinking commentary in the professional and social media. Too many just want the ‘story’ or to ‘have a go’ and not enough are thinking through the ramifications. The media, and the educated, liberal elite, need to tone it down. Put out positive narratives, but do repeat negative narrative. Do not give them oxygen. Silence is golden.