It has been said that the term “silent majority” originally was used to signify the billions of people who lived upon the earth at one time but do so no longer. It is for us, the living to be heard. Every country, organization, or profession has its silent majority, that is, those from whom we do not hear. In the chiropractic profession they are described in various ways. They are often called “those that are not into the straight-mixing battles.” They are the ones who do not get involved in politics. It does not matter to them how others practice for his manner of practice does not hurt them. They do not mind if a chiropractor mixes even if they themselves only adjust or, on the other hand, if they are into mixing, it does not bother them that others only adjust. “Live and let live” is their motto. It has been suggested that this majority is disgusted with the “radical elements” of the profession (both straight and mixing) that appear to be tearing the profession apart. I would like to offer the following observations concerning the silent majority.
The analogy of the silent majority being those that occupy the graves is apropos. Like those that are dead those of the silent majority do not think about how their manner of practice impinges upon the profession and more important, what the ramifications of no opinion as to how chiropractic should be practiced will have on the profession. Having no opinion is not a virtue. It demonstrates an inability to think and to develop concepts concerning chiropractic. It has been suggested that 90% of our profession is in this category. That is a sad indictment upon chiropractic. Worse than having no opinion is having one and failing to act according to the dictates that created the opinion. Like the great volume of those that have gone before, the chiropractic silent majority contributes nothing of value to the world. Those that make up the radical extremes of the profession are at least doing something.
I may not agree with the Langworthys, the Buddens, the Nugents,the Schultzes or the Janses and their present-day counterparts but they had a direction. They have served to focus our attention on important issues that confront the profession and its growth. You cannot resolve these issues by silence. Historically, the complacent silent majority have always been selfish people, preoccupied with self, afraid that change will force them to give something up or that they will lose their present status. The Tories, during the American War for Independence were not so much desirous of British rule but concerned that the status quo would be lost. I’m sure we would all agree that what we enjoy in this country today is much better because a few “radicals” were not content with the status quo.
In addition to the above observations, the dead have no future, at least in this world. This is probably the most important issue to be addressed. If it were left up to the silent majority, there would be no future to chiropractic any more than there would have been a Protestant Reformation, a Magna Carta, a Declaration of Independence, an Emancipation Proclamation or a Civil Rights Movement. The silent majority is always satisfied with the status quo. “Why all this internal fighting? Why can’t the profession be like it was twenty years ago instead of all this bickering?”, they say. They want peaceful co-existence. Chiropractic cannot survive with a status quo. This is not 1895 or 1935 or 1955. Government regulation, medical scrutiny, public awareness and scientific investigation have all changed and increased. It is necessary that we change also. The silent majority does not recognize this necessity. The “radical fringe” on both ends have recognized the need for chiropractic to change in order to successfully move into the 21st century. It just so happens that they differ on how that change should take place. The mixer believes we must become more like medicine and the straight believes we must become less like medicine. With so obvious a difference of opinions, both sides cannot be right, however,one thing is sure. Taking the position that chiropractors should continue as they have for the past 90 years, that is, everybody doing his own thing, is not the direction to go. It is no direction. There is no future in being dead (apart from theological implications) and there is no future for chiropractic if the silent majority rules. It has been said by many that the radical extremes of the profession are destroying it. I disagree. If anything destroys this profession it will be the inactivity of that vast number of “the chiropractic dead” who do not think about, care about, or love chiropractic enough to want to see it move in one direction or another. They only care about themselves and maintaining their present status. It cannot be done. The way the majority of chiropractors (the silent majority) practice is a legally, scientifically, and rationally untenable position that will destroy our profession. Only the two extreme positions expressed will insure the future of the chiropractic profession. (Both will insure its future. One of these positions may create the real possibility that people will not be able to receive an adjustment to correct a subluxation in 50 years.) The silent majority can be silent no longer. Every chiropractor must think about what he is doing every day in practice and whether he is making a contribution to society, one which no other profession is making. He needs to consider the implications of what he is doing or not doing upon the future of the profession. v4n5


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