Keeping Your Mouth Shut Is a Thought Crime

3 ¾ min

Late last week I discovered that fashion influencer Jessica Mulroney (pictured above) was the latest to be guillotined by those waging the current cancel culture war. Mulroney, famed friend of Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, was called out by fellow influencer Sasha Exeter on Instagram.

Exeter challenged Mulroney’s white privilege, saying that she was “very well aware of her wealth, her perceived power and privilege because of the colour of her skin,” according to The Independent. Exeter also “claimed Mulroney… ‘took offense’ to ‘a very generic call to action’ for people to join the Black Lives Matter movement,” shaming Mulroney for failing to use her public platform to speak out on the movement’s behalf. Mulroney’s claim that she “did not feel that she needed to” only served to further anger Exeter.

I’ll not weigh in on the personal argument between Exeter and Mulroney. When such disagreements happen, it’s quite likely that apologies need to be made over poor word choices and offensive actions.

What troubles me, however, is Exeter’s insistence that Mulroney needed to speak out at all. What if Mulroney simply was unsure where she stood on the issue? It used to be that those who could keep their counsel and hold their tongues about a matter were thought wise. Is it now a crime to weigh evidence from various sides of an argument before taking a personal stand?

Unfortunately, public opinion seems to think it is a crime. Author Andrew Sullivan sums this difficulty up in a recent column for New York Magazine:

In this manic, Manichean world you’re not even given the space to say nothing. ‘White Silence = Violence’ is a slogan chanted and displayed in every one of these marches. It’s very reminiscent of totalitarian states where you have to compete to broadcast your fealty to the cause. In these past two weeks, if you didn’t put up on Instagram or Facebook some kind of slogan or symbol displaying your wokeness, you were instantly suspect. The cultishness of this can be seen in the way people are actually cutting off contact with their own families if they don’t awaken and see the truth and repeat its formulae. Ibram X. Kendi insists that there is no room in our society for neutrality or reticence. If you are not doing ‘antiracist work’ you are ipso facto a racist. By ‘antiracist work’ he means fully accepting his version of human society and American history, integrating it into your own life, confessing your own racism, and publicly voicing your continued support.

Perhaps you agree with Kendi. You certainly have the right to do so. But should that right infringe on the right of others to remain silent? To process their own thoughts? To do research and even come away with the opinion that, hey, there may be something to both sides of this debate?

Somehow, we have gotten into the habit of thinking that there is only one legitimate stance on certain issues. I’m not denying that this one side doesn’t have some legitimate points to consider – they do! But when we limit our thoughts and debate to only one side, we enter very dangerous ground. Benjamin Franklin recognized this fact years before the American Revolution was even fought. In July of 1722 he quoted an extensive passage from the London Journal in one of his infamous Silence Dogood columns:

‘Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech; which is the Right of every Man, as far as by it, he does not hurt or controul the Right of another: And this is the only Check it ought to suffer, and the only Bounds it ought to know.

‘This sacred Privilege is so essential to free Governments, that the Security of Property, and the Freedom of Speech always go together; and in those wretched Countries where a Man cannot call his Tongue his own, he can scarce call any Thing else his own.” [Emphasis added.]

We’ve seen a lot of virtue signaling in the last few weeks, virtue signaling which tells us there is only one right way to think of these matters. But is that not slavery of thought? If so, could it explain why actions made out of wisdom and discernment seem headed for the endangered species list?


[Image Credit: Canadian Film Centre (cropped) CC BY 2.0]

Annie Holmquist

Annie Holmquist

Annie Holmquist is the editor of Intellectual Takeout. When not writing or editing, she enjoys reading, gardening, and time with family and friends.

Add a Comment


Join the conversation...

You are currently using the BETA version of our article comments feature. You may notice some bugs in submission and user experience. Significant improvements are coming soon!


When they say "silence is violence" I wonder if that includes the crowd of onlookers who simply sat and watched while George Floyd was being murdered. They are from a generation of people who feel like if they post a video or tweet then they have done their part. When real bravery is needed, when the courage of their convictions requires real action that goes beyond "messaging," they are nowhere to be seen.


There must be two sides to any argument in order to debate every possibility of different outcomes. The people from Black Lives Matter only expect one answer -- their answer. I have a huge issue with any one sided argument. But there is also this: Why all the chaos and destruction? What happened to Floyd was beyond tragic AND the guilty parties are being disciplined and shamed. Why then is it necessary for BLM to go "Rogue" unless they have been " coached" to do so? I truly believe there is someone who is orchestrating this movement to keep the U.S. fragmented. Protests are a right, HOWEVER, RIOTS ARE NOT! Also, What makes BLM think they have the right to "shame" every White person? For WHAT? Because a rogue arrogant cop acted stupidly resulting in a man's death? If that man were White, you would only read of it in page 2 of the Newspaper. No, there is someone orchestrating BLM's moves to the detriment of our Country. Here's one for the BLM group: I am NOT ashamed of being White no matter what you spew forth. It is what it is. We are all placed on this earth to learn lessons -- and you, BLM, are being used by someone who does Not care About your Journey nor the welfare of the Black people. That someone only wants our Country to fragment and BLM is making that person's wish come true. Wake Up Black Lives Matter! You are nothing but a "tool" for the destruction of our Nation. Sad for you, sad for America!


Jessica Mulrooney is a bully and a hypocrite. "Pretty pictures are pretty pictures. Strive to use your platform for good and spread stories of incredible people striving to make this world a better place," she says in an Instagram post in January, shortly after Kate Middleton releases her photos of Holocaust survivors. Then Mulrooney subsequently defends herself by saying she was talking about Instagram posts "in general terms" and people were wrong to assume she was calling out Middleton, despite the timing of her post. Moreover, how dare they accuse her (Mulrooney) of bad-mouthing ANY post aimed at Holocaust awareness, when, afterall, she (Mulrooney) herself is Jewish? Fast forward to four months later when Sasha Exeter makes a "generic" post, aimed at no one in particular, about the importance of using one's platform to take a stand on an issue. Mulrooney not only accuses Exeter of calling her out personally, but threatens privately (in writing, no less) to get Exeter blacklisted in the business. What kind of person does that? I have been bullied throughout my career by women like Jessica Mulrooney. As a prominent Canadian stylist icon, she had become accustomed to abusing her power in the industry and went too far this time. She couldn't pull the "...but I'm Jewish, my criticisms couldn't have been aimed at Middleton's post..but my best friend is black, so I couldn't have bullied Exeter.." excuse card anymore. Jessica Mulrooney got what she deserved.


Nick P.
If I were in a room, alone with another person who was insane, I would not try to reason nor argue with them. I would try to help where I could. Offer them some comforting words and a smile. That person would have my pity and my empathy, but, if the insane individual began to act out on his mental illness, I would excuse myself. The current radical left and its curious onlookers have been acting up for an extended period of time and should not get anyone's attention other than those left behind, by choice or circumstance, in the physical and emotional space in which the mob occupies. Admittedly, I have found myself, at times, in a self-imposed lockdown with the criminally insane and have wished to change that situation, but, it is difficult, to say the least. However, as each day passes it becomes easier just to glance in the window or maybe a quick peek from the street knowing that staying out of the room of lunacy is a virtue onto itself. You and I should recommit to our core beliefs, building a defensive wall for the battle is at hand. Your mind and your heart are the spoils and the Left-wing radicals are gassed with delirium, poised to strike out at anyone or anything that is righteous, loving, kind, merciful, virtuous and true. We are a mist appearing and then disappearing. So little of our precious time to waste on madness. - ToastDispatch