Spiral of Silence


Image by CarbonNYC via Flickr

Chuck Colson on his Breakpoint podcast recently discussed the spiral of silence. In a book by the same name, Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann explained that groups often marginalize themselves by failing to make their voice heard in the public arena. The spiral of silence is the phenomenon that media elites and opinion leaders have taken advantage of to push their ideas of morality. They broadcast, publish, and display them before our eyes as though they are already accepted into the broad culture. Since people do not like to go against the grain, we silently allow these ideas to push into our culture. For instance, take the opinion that homosexual relationships being legitimate. That people acting out homosexually should be allowed to be in the military. That people engaging in a homosexual relationship should be allowed to “marry”. That the possible homosexual actions of historical figures should be pointed out and taught to school children. As these ideas are pushed by our “friends” in the media, education, and government, over time the culture moves in the direction that they want it to go.

The way to get control of this problem is to get our views back into the public forum. To put our point of view out there so people can see it, hear it, read it, and have an opportunity to agree with it. Only if the message is available can people realize that there are other ways…  some way… a better way to live than what is being pushed by the popular media. If we our silent, however, we are doomed to become ever more marginalized until we have basically no voice at all.

So make your voice heard. Talk to friends and associates about your conservative views. Start a blog or podcast; or comment on other people’s blogs or podcasts. Many people are looking for a way of thinking and living that works.


About Conservative Educator
Conservative Christian Elementary Tech Teacher making a difference for students and teachers.

2 Responses to Spiral of Silence

  1. dschmus says:

    Yes, I have struggled with this as well. As a Christian conservative in a public high school, how much do I say when these issues come up? I try to use journal topics that get at some of these issues from less controversial entry points. For example, to talk about gender issues, I use a journal about whether girls should be allowed to play on boys’ football teams. The issue of whether gender matters is at the forefront, but it’s about a less controversial and emotional issue than say, gay marriage. But do I do that to stay out of trouble? And therefore am I wimping out? I really do struggle here.

    • That’s a good idea to begin to address the issue in a mild way. Part of the difficulty in a bringing up these topics with our students is the fact that they “are shameful even to talk about.” In my case with elementary school students I don’t think it’s appropriate at all. When you talk about wimping out, I have a hard time bringing up these topics with my colleagues face-to-face. For instance, one colleague has an “it’s everywhere, you can’t do anything about it” attitude. Others have an “I don’t like it, I can’t do anything about it” attitude. With many I do not know their attitude because I do not engage with them on this topic, but that engagement is what we need if we are going to move the needle on this.

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