T Nation

"Americans Are Getting More Nervous About What They Say in Public"

Chilling effect.

Thought this might interest some of you.

Some 62% now believe the political climate prevents them from expressing their true beliefs

Holding your tongue, or taking a second to think about if your words might be offensive isnt necessarily a bad thing. Remember, we have freedom of speech, not freedom from repercussions caused by our speech.

I think its more that everyone is on edge about social and political issues and it is so easy to say something that can be deemed polarizing. Also, who goes out and discusses their beliefs with strangers or with folks you dont have a certain level of familiarity with where it wouldnt be impolite to discuss religion/politics/ or any other controversial issue?

Maybe this is a reflection of social media interactions, as opposed to the in-person interactions we all used to have?

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These numbers seem far too high based on what one sees on Facebook.

Some people need to shut the Hell up…

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If you live in a dictatorship or theocratic state.

That sounds great but in practice, it empowers the fragile and stupid while terrorizing the intelligent, the creative and the strong.


I was going to give my own opinion on this, but I feel it’s probably best that I keep it to myself.


Smart … don’t want to upset the kiddos

Yes, offensive thing like you who vote for, who you associate with and some of your religious beliefs.

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Exactly, only Rowling’s enormous wealth and following saved her from the mob when she made fun of an article about mothers than couldn’t bring itself to mention women.

She wouldn’t have had backlash, other than people on Facebook if she were not rich and famous.

That’s all cool then.

This isn’t true anyway, regular people have assholes on the internet contacting their employers demanding they be sacked.

We call that being an adult or I do. But it’s getting hard to find people who can do that. I speak in front of decent sized groups often and I’m always careful of what I say. I was before this political climate and will be afterwards. I don’t know everyone’s beliefs and I certainly don’t know what people who aren’t me have gone through. Not making assumptions about people is hard enough though I try to do my best to fight that internally.

I don’t think people should be scared to share beliefs or opinions. But I do think not all beliefs and opinions need to be shared in public all the time. I miss when I didn’t know everyone’s religious and political beliefs in the world. Now “everyone” shouts them from the rooftop 24/7 for some reason.

People say shit online they would never or hopefully never say in person. Hell I say shit in here I would never say to strangers. But we’re in a pandemic where most people have more time to be online than ever before. And it’s not a good thing. I have Facebook and Twitter but never really post anything. I just don’t care to share much of my personal beliefs and opinions online. Haven’t before “this climate” and won’t afterwards if afterwards exists.

I am from a pretty conservative area where honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if a Biden sign in my yard wasn’t torn down. I have been shocked and dismayed at what I see on Facebook. I believe I have mentioned this before but a local page exists which used to be called my town news on Facebook. For forever it was anyone seen my dog? Anyone mowing lawns? Looking for a new place to rent any suggestions? Other than people butchering words it was harmless.

For months now the place has been horrific. It’s anti-mask vs pro mask, black lives vs blue lives, Trump vs Biden, whatever the pressing topics are of the day now that everyone has time to fuck off I guess. And it’s not a discussion it’s people posting some meme or video and then going at it. Constant threats to kick ass, threats to kill others who disagree, etc. Both people who seem to be left and people who are right. You can still find have you seen my dog posts once in a while. But they are quickly buried under new memes, photos, videos and the next round of hatred.

I do not know what the cure for this is or if it exists. I do not think this is a left issue and I don’t think it is a right issue. I think it’s both. People are so built into one team or the other that anything counter to that is not disagreement. It’s the enemy, nothing more nothing less.

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This shit is really lame. I have had some issues recently with an employee and another employee. One was an older conservative woman and one was a younger liberal woman. They were teamed up together recently and had a long car ride together. The older conservative woman shared her beliefs that not all black people were bad but almost all were. That her and her husband only used the n word when talking about certain types of them and that many black people killed by police had it coming. The younger liberal woman discussed with me that this made her very uncomfortable and that she no longer wished to be a partner with her.

I talked to the older conservative woman about this and she did not deny anything that was shared. I let her know that her personal beliefs were her personal beliefs but that I did not think it was appropriate work conversation. I also told her that in our line of work we work with very diverse groups of people and that we need to be mindful of biases we may have. We can’t serve our kids and families in my line of work if we have disdain for them. It’s actually something we talk about a lot anyways as it’s not so much often a race thing (majority of our clients are white) but also a people thing. When you work with domestic abuse, extreme poverty, drug use it’s hard to separate the person from the action at time and not think people are hopeless.

I don’t think either were happy with what I did but I didn’t really give a shit. The older conservative woman has now been fired (nothing to do with that at all she just wasn’t doing significant parts of her job and had already been on an improvement plan). Actually canned the younger woman as well (completely unrelated to what happened she fucked up in a different kind of way).

It’s difficult though. We work in a small enough area to be fairly “public” people. We are known by judges, lawyers, parents, kids, etc. I’ve had the conversation of being mindful of what we post online and I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.

But I think it can go way overboard and I don’t think average people should be hunted down and made to be fired necessarily. But your online presence carries over into your real job now often it just does. Maybe 30 years ago your annoying opinions or thoughts were just known by the people you loaded boxes with. Maybe they ticked a guy off but whatever. Now you put all that shit online and maybe UPS or whoever thinks nah we don’t want people associating us with that so fuck em.

In certain professions it’s been this way for a while. If you’re a teacher you’re under a different microscope than if you mow grass. Maybe the grass mower can have all sorts of pictures of weed, alcohol, whatever and who gives a fuck. But the kindergarten teacher has that and people are talking to the school board. My mom likes a glass of wine and she was a primary teacher for years in a very small town where I grew up. She never bought wine in town. She didn’t want kids or parents to see her buying booze.


How the fuck can I fight you if you won’t give me anything man?! Come on we’ve always seen things (most) way differently. You can’t just come back and then not cross swords with me via typing on a phone when we both should be doing other things. I’ve been at work since 7 AM got to kiss my daughter goodnight and have probably 3 more hours of stuff I’d like to knock out. But instead I’m here looking for a scuffle and you’re taking this line?!

Don’t cancel me bro! (And again good to see you back).


If what you want to say begins with “I’m not a racist, but…” or “I’m not prejudiced, but…” maybe you should reconsider what you’re dying to share with the world.

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Or maybe, people shouldn’t react like babies and use moments like that to try and educate people. The fact someone prefaces with not being a racist tells you that you are probably dealing with ignorance and not hate. Isn’t it better for people to expose their potentially misguided beliefs to the world so we can combat them intellectually rather than have people live with those beliefs that never get questioned or scrutinized?


“Know your audience”. Those topics aren’t great to bring up with strangers… And it’s generally classless trash that do bring it up to strangers unsolicited.

Most discourse seems to happen online these days, and manners are non-existent there. It’s a shame. Manners generally help moderate our positions and make interesting productive discourse much more likely.

Yeah people make a hobby of being offended these days, but a lot of people also make a hobby out of trying to gaslight and get a rise out of folks.

You aren’t going to bait me into getting myself cancelled!


I have one far left person who can discuss politics reasonably in person. One.

I avoid the topic with almost every person I know who is outspoken about their wokeness/leftism. Some seem to assume I share most of their beliefs.

I think this feeds into TDS and related behaviors. Some of these ideas are so unhinged and disconnected from reality that a discussion becomes all risk, no reward for me. People never get the benefit of someone willing to vocalize disagreement, so they believe their ideas are much more popular than they really are.

For example, I’m not ready to unpack my sister in laws statement that racism is somehow at the root of a shooting that took place in front of my Nieces’ school.

I’ll just ask for the pepper instead.

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Maybe more people are taking offense because they consider themselves “allies”. Whereas before, folks used to only get offended (or announce something was offensive) when something was directly offensive to them personally, but now a straight white guy will call out something that is offensive to a black lesbian woman.