Top Israeli Scientist: “Monkeypox Outbreak is Linked to mRNA Vaccines” – Twitter Censors Tweet


The Institute for Biological Research’s chief Prof. Shmuel Shapira (Photo: Knesset Channel – Source.)

Comments by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News

Pro-vaccine and pro-pharma scientists and medical doctors around the world continue to sound the alarm about the devastating effects of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Israeli Professor Shmuel Shapira, MD, MPH, served as director general of the Israel Institute for Biological Research (“IIBR”) between 2013 and 2021, where he sought to develop an Israeli-made COVID-19 vaccine so that the country would not be dependent upon the American Pfizer-made shots.

Dr. Shapira is also the founder and head of the Military Medicine Department of the Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine and the IDF Medical Corps. In addition, he is a Senior Research Fellow at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at Reichman University in Israel.

Shapira was previously deputy director general of the Hadassah Medical Organization and director of the Hadassah School of Public Health at Hebrew University.

Professor Shapira used Twitter last week to announce that he was “physically injured” after his third Pfizer vaccine, and that “Monkeypox cases were rare for years. During the last years a single case was documented in Israel. It is well established the mRNA vaccines affect the natural immune system. A monkeypox outbreak following massive covid vaccination: *Is not a coincidence.”

Twitter has reportedly forced him to remove these tweets.

We have previously reported how The Exposé discovered that “Monkeypox” is only circulating in countries where the Pfizer Vaccine has been distributed.

Israeli “Monkeypox Outbreak is Linked to mRNA Vaccines” Professor is Censored but Not Silenced

BY RHODA WILSON
The Exposé

Excerpts:

Professor Dr. Shmuel Shapira, one of Israel’s foremost scientists, suggested in a tweet that the monkeypox outbreak is linked to mRNA vaccines. Twitter immediately sprung to action and forced the Doctor to delete his message if he wanted to continue using their platform.

Professor Shmuel Shapira, MD, MPH, served as director general of the Israel Institute for Biological Research (“IIBR”) between 2013 and 2021, where he led Israel’s efforts to develop a Covid vaccine.

Dr. Shapira is also the founder and head of the Military Medicine Department of the Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine and the IDF Medical Corps. In addition, he is a Senior Research Fellow at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at Reichman University in Israel.

Shapira was previously deputy director general of the Hadassah Medical Organization and director of the Hadassah School of Public Health at Hebrew University. He is a Colonel (Res.) in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and served as chief of the IDF’s Trauma Division.

He has published more than 110 peer-reviewed scientific papers a. He is an editor of Essentials of Terror Medicine, Best Practice for Medical Management of Terror Incidents, and Medical Response to Terror Threats.

Last week, Twitter censored Prof. Shapira—who was “physically injured” after his third Pfizer vaccine—and forced him to remove a post which said: “Monkeypox cases were rare for years. During the last years a single case was documented in Israel. It is well established the mRNA vaccines affect the natural immune system. A monkeypox outbreak following massive covid vaccination: *Is not a coincidence.”

Prof. Shapira was the driving force behind Israel’s program to develop its own vaccine, and was the one who convinced authorities to launch the program under the IIBR, despite the fact that the institute has always been meant to serve defence and security needs.  In May 2021, Prof Shapira unexpectedly quit his role as director of IIBR.

In February 2022, the Israeli Ministry of Health (MoH) released results of a survey of about two thousand people, 3-4 weeks after they received the third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid “vaccine.” The survey asked about the adverse events people experienced following vaccination. “The results are absolutely devastating to the Covid-19 vaccine program and the push for vaccine mandates,” wrote Jackanapes Junction.

In May 2022 Prof. Shapira tweeted that he had received three doses of Covid injection and was physically injured “in a very significant way as many others were injured.”

The Divine Power of Seven


The Most Deeply Sacred Number   

Nearly everywhere you look in the Bible, you find seven. The number seven is mentioned over 700 times in Scripture. The Book of Revelation, alone, contains dozens of sevens – churches, bowls, lamps, seals, and the list goes on. Why are there so many “sevens” of sacred items? This is because in ancient Israel, the number seven was thought to be a symbol of divine perfection. As opposed to other numbers which derive their power from human endeavors, seven comes from God.

The Sevenfold Spirit of the Lord  

God’s identity is also tied to the number seven. If we look at the famous “branch of Jesse” prophecy in Isaiah chapter 11, we find that the Holy Spirit will come to rest upon the Messiah in seven distinct facets. Collectively, these attributes form the sevenfold essence of the Holy Spirit.

“The Spirit of the Lord shall rest on him רוּחַ יְהוָה ruaḥ adonai
The spirit of wisdom רוּחַ חָכְמָה ruaḥ hohma
And understanding וּבִינָה ruaḥ bina
The spirit of counsel רוּחַ עֵצָה ruaḥ etza
And might וּגְבוּרָה ruaḥ gevura
The spirit of knowledge רוּחַ דַּעַת ruaḥ da’at
And the fear of the Lord” (Isa. 11:2) וְיִרְאַת יְהוָה ruaḥ yirat adonai

Discover the Power of Hebrew  

When read in translation, seven may just seem like a coincidence, but in the original Hebrew, the words form a spiritual package, exploding with power. Reading the Word of God in the original Hebrew, new details will suddenly burst with meaning, and seven is no exception to this rule. Enroll in our live, online Biblical Hebrew course today and appreciate the Bible to its fullest!

Biden regime wages lawless TERROR CRUSADE against Trump’s America


Image: Biden regime wages lawless TERROR CRUSADE against Trump’s America

(Natural News) Beyond the obvious analysis of the FBI / DOJ / Biden terror crusade against President Trump and We the People, what I’ve pointed out in the Situation Update podcast below are three critical points to understand:

  1. One of the goals of the raid on Mar-A-Lago is to try to provoke an armed civil war uprising among the American people so that the DOJ and FBI can label all Trump supporters as violent extremists.
  2. The brazen nature of the raid on Trump’s private residence is strong evidence that the deep state plans a major disruption or false flag that would suspend the mid-term elections. It’s clear they are not afraid to violate the rule of law and anger the American people, since they believe they will never again have to answer to the people anyway.
  3. The Democrats now believe they have so much power that they no longer need to even pretend to be the good guys. Now, they are just brazenly carrying out acts of terrorism against the American people, with no regard for any blow back because, as stated above, they do not believe they will ever have to answer voters ever again (because there will never be fair and free elections in America as long as they remain in power).

So we are now living under a lawless, tyrannical terrorism regime that’s pretending to be a legitimately elected “democratic” government but is nothing of the kind.

Essentially, this means that no state, no state governor and no American is obliged to recognize the authority of any branch of the federal government under this regime, as the regime is utterly lawless and despotic and has abandoned every mechanism of due process and the rule of law. This regime now rules by force and coercion, not by the consent of the governed. Thus, America has transitioned from a nation of good will and a reasonable social contract of governance to an authoritarian regime that wields its political power as a weapon to destroy the political opposition, media opposition and election integrity.

Brighteon.TV

 

The Biden regime is now actively engaged in straight up treason against the United States of America, and the American people are slowly waking up to this horrifying fact.

They no longer care what you think, since your vote and opinions no longer matter to the tyrants in charge

The intention of this regime is to cancel or control all elections, online speech, media publications and all three branches of government from this day forward, establishing a unipolar political monstrosity that eliminates all opposition from any sector of society. They are very close to having achieved this outcome following the rigging of the 2020 election and the cooperation with communist China to weaponize SARS-CoV-2 and unleash a biological weapon against the American people in order to destroy the economy and control the masses. Even now, 70% of US adults have taken at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine, according to the CDC and reported by Reuters. This means that nearly three out of four Americans have been injected with a depopulation death jab, and some significant percentage of those people will be dead from the vaccine before the end of 2030.

Technically, that’s over 231 million Americans who have been injected with a death shot. If just 20% of those die in the next decade, that’s 46 million Americans who will be victims in this vaccine holocaust pushed by both Trump and Biden. (Yes, Trump started it and handed the baton to Biden in a tag-team effort.) Are you beginning to see the bigger picture yet?

Violence is what the regime wants… and that’s why we must not resort to violence

The truth is, the American people have been targeted for extermination by the regime. And if the people rise up, they will be deemed “extremists” and subjected to a domestic military response, likely coupled with a nationwide gun confiscation effort and a declared emergency that will attempt to suspend all elections. This is why it is crucial that the American people do not resort to a violent uprising to escape this tyranny. Peaceful methods must be employed so that the authoritarian regime isn’t handed a justification to increase their level of violence and tyranny against the American people. Furthermore, we must not give the regime an excuse to declare a state of emergency before the mid-term elections.

As we get closer to the elections in November, we fully expect the regime to become increasingly desperate, and we believe they are likely to do something truly extreme such as setting off a dirty bomb, detonating a nuclear bomb in a US city, taking down the power grid and blaming Russia, freezing the banking system with an engineered liquidity freeze, launching an EMP weapon against the US to blame China or North Korea, igniting World War III with China or Russia, unleashing a hemorrhagic fever virus against the population or igniting a civil war in some region of the country. There is nothing the regime won’t do to stay in power and terrorize the American people.

Do not be suckered into violence. That’s what the regime wants.

At the same time, do not give in to tyranny. Support pro-America candidates like Kari Lake and Blake Masters. Continue your preparedness efforts to survive after the chaos is unleashed. Have backup comms, food, emergency medicine and systems of off grid money such as precious metals or barter items. Voice your opinions to your representatives in Congress, and demand they take action to investigate the regime for its tyranny and lawlessness. Contact your state governor and demand they nullify the FBI, DOJ, ATF and IRS. It is now perfectly clear that America is going to be plunged into a horrific scenario of strife and collapse, and only those who are prepared and determined will survive the onslaught.

Learn more in today’s Situation Update podcast via Brighteon.com: (note – Brighteon is still not properly counting video views due to a caching issue that emerged after our recent platform migration, so video views are only showing about 1/20th of actual, and this bug applies to ALL video views since Monday of this week)

10 Reasons to Shut Your Mouth Before it’s too Late


Leadership Communication

“Being able to effectively communicate is the most important skill any leader can possess.” Richard Branson

Leadership communication: You have a goal every time you open your mouth. It helps to know what that goal is. Image of a hippo with a wide open mouth.

Leadership communication: 10 reasons to close your mouth.

#1. You dozed off.

If it doesn’t matter to you, stay out of the conversation.

#2. Listeners squirm like it’s time for a restroom break.

#3. You’re bloviating.

Everyone knows when you’re talking out of your butt.

You look stupid when you’re impressed with your own knowledge.

#4. You’re not learning.

Talking is learning in some cases. But usually, the person who talks the most learns the least.

#5. You don’t have a clear goal.

If you don’t know why you’re opening your mouth, keep it shut.

#6. You’re offering unrequested advice.

Fixers irritate listeners.

#7. No one cares.

Things that seem important to you may be irrelevant to others.

Don’t answer questions people aren’t asking.

Leadership communication: Most of the successful people I've known are the ones who do more listening than talking. Image of a deer looking at the screen.

#8. You haven’t listened.

Listening comes before speaking.

“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” Bernard Baruch

#9. You’re waiting for the other person to shut up.

Every time you can’t wait for someone to stop talking – so you can spout your wisdom – the conversation is a waste of time.

#10. You don’t respect your listeners.

Always talk ‘with’. Never talk ‘at’.

Leadership communication: 12 reasons to open your mouth.

You have a goal every time you open your mouth. It helps to know what that goal is.

Why open your mouth:

  1. Persuade.
  2. Explain.
  3. Convince.
  4. Direct.
  5. Challenge.
  6. Correct.
  7. Comfort.
  8. Energize/encourage.
  9. Connect.
  10. Learn.
  11. Listen.
  12. Equip.

2 quick tips for leadership communication:

  1. Practice brevity. Shut-up sooner, not later.
  2. Clarify purpose. Close your mouth until you have a clear reason to open it.

Rule #1: Only open your mouth to make something better.

4 Unexpected Realities Real Leaders Learn that Phonies Never Get


The tragedy of phoniness is an empty heart.

Real leaders learn to bring their best selves to work. Phonies wear a mask.

Phonies become phonies because they’re worried about opinions, approval, and recognition.

Real leaders learn to ruffle feathers. Image of pink flamingo feathers.

4 unexpected realities real leaders learn:

#1. Real leaders learn to ruffle feathers.

Phonies agree with others because they don’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers.

You serve no purpose when you go along to get along. But remember only a few things really matter.

Everyone you dance around pulls the strings of your life.

Speak your point of view clearly, kindly, and with curiosity. Never intentionally offend. Anyone who is offended by clarity, kindness, and curiosity isn’t worth the time of day.

It’s the way you speak that enhances or inhibits influence.

A nose in the air is off-putting especially when you’re right. Obfuscation is obvious and disgusting to all except puddin’ heads. Pretending your mind is open when it’s closed degrades everyone’s contribution.

When things don’t go your way, practice humility, maintain optimism, turn toward the future, and row like hell.

#2. Real leaders learn they don’t know.

Phonies pretend to know. But phonies never grow.

  1. People you mentor shape YOU.
  2. Problems you solve today equip you.
  3. Today’s skills build platforms for future skills.

#3. Real leaders learn to open their hands.

Authorize people to act without you. It’s short-sighted to hoard authority. Are they qualified? Open your hand.

Put a fence around the playground and let the kids roam free.

Boundaries protect. Freedom invigorates.

Phonies always play it safe. Image of a person wearing a Groucho Marx costume.

#4. Real leaders learn to step into the dark.

Phonies always play it safe.

I was afraid of the dark when I was a kid. Light from a crack in the door drove monsters away. Thank goodness mom left the door ajar.

A little light provides enough courage to step into the dark.

There is no “Deserve”


On a February evening, at bedtime, I received a text from an unknown number. At first, I thought it might be a scam. Then, as the possibility of the message being real sank in, I shared it with my husband. “There has been a rafting accident involving your son Evan in Guatemala and he is missing. Please call me.”

A search and rescue team found Evan’s body about 48 hours after his accident.  No words can describe the sorrow that engulfed us.  We’re still learning to integrate our sorrow with faith in God’s goodness and never-failing love.

Evan’s friends made and shared, after his funeral, a video with an audio clip of his voice. I’ve taken comfort in these words that spring up from the Source of Life:

“I truly have a blessed life.

I truly don’t deserve it. . .

There is no deserve.

There just is.”

– Evan Daniel Bogart

Since Evan’s accident, I have countless times, listened to these words savoring the sound of his voice.

I’ve pondered the turn of his thoughts from the idea that he never did anything to deserve the good things in his life to the acceptance that he gets to enjoy life anyway.

I’m so thankful his thoughts took that turn.  How easily the awareness of our own failures and weaknesses robs us of the fullness of life available at any given moment!

I could not rescue Evan from obsessing over his failures because until a few months before his death I was stuck in that place myself. I thought it was up to me to think the right thoughts and to tend my interior garden so I could be the kind of witness whose joy impacts others.

I recall a surprise my family planned for me upon earning a master’s degree from university. They pooled resources to fly everyone home to celebrate me for an achievement I felt (for reasons I won’t go into) that I didn’t “deserve”.

My family told me how proud they were of me, and I was beyond excited to have them all home, but I struggled to receive congratulations from those who love me most. Though no one ever mentioned it, I wonder if they could sense my resistance.

It’s often said, “you can’t give what you don’t have.” My lack of confidence worried me through years of parenting five children. How could I instill in them a confidence I lacked? Yet St. Teresa of Kolkata said, “When you have nothing, then you have everything.”  Mother Teresa’s words remind me that even as a wife and parent, it’s not up to me. In my nothingness, Jesus does not abandon me.

In the wake of Evan’s death, the sadness I experience because I didn’t live up to my own expectations as his mom is probably the hardest to let go. It seems I deserve it. But why should I cling to my failures when life and love await?

My love repeatedly falls short, but God’s never does. Mother Teresa is right. In my nothingness his love becomes everything. His love even goes so far as to redeem our failures.

We’re surrounded by a love we could never deserve. It just is.

What about you? Are you aware of the presence of a love you could never deserve? How will you respond to such grace?

The LORD’s acts of mercy are not exhausted,

his compassion is not spent;

They are renewed each morning—great is your faithfulness!

-Lamentations 3:22&23

What makes for effective prayer?


The key to effective prayer is knowing to whom you are praying and having access to Him. Then, pray. And pray some more.

We often think of “effective prayer” as prayer that leads to the results we desire. But prayer is not some incantation or formula to produce “results.” Rather, prayer is a means of communication with God. It is a privilege that He grants us and the means by which He often chooses to work. There is no doubt that God commands us to pray and that prayer is effective. The results of prayer are not only in the things we see God do in response to prayer, but also in the deepening of our relationship with God. So how can we pray effectively?

First, we must know God. A relationship with God is available only through His Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:6). When we put our faith in Jesus as the perfect God-Man who lived a life without sin, died on the cross as payment for our sins, and rose again victorious over sin and death, we are forgiven of our sins (John 3:16–18; Ephesians 2:8–10). God applies Christ’s righteousness to us and we become God’s children (John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

The Old Testament sacrificial system foreshadows Jesus’ work on our behalf. In the Jewish temple, there was a room called the holy of holies. Only the high priest could enter this room, and only once a year (on the Day of Atonement). The room was blocked by a large veil. When Jesus was crucified, the veil was torn (Matthew 27:45–54). Hebrews 10:19-23 alludes to this: “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Similarly, Hebrews 4:14–16 says, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” It is through Jesus that we have access to God.

Hebrews talks about approaching God boldly in prayer, and we can do so because we know Jesus. The first step of effective prayer is understanding that we can pray only because of Jesus; we approach God based on that merit.

We also recognize that prayer is only effective because it is God who answers it. He has promised to grant requests that are in line with His will (1 John 5:14–15). The more we know God, the more we will understand His heart. We’ll know that He is all-powerful and capable of anything (Luke 1:37). We’ll know His deep love for people and desire for them to come to Him (2 Peter 3:9). We’ll know His jealousy for His glory because it is good, and we will also become jealous for His glory (Exodus 20:5).

We come to know God and His will by His Word—the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16–17). We also come to know God through prayer.

God gives us examples of effective prayer in the Bible. We know that it is not the prayer itself that holds the power, but God Himself. He can stop hungry lions from attacking (Daniel 6), reveal the Lord’s armies and save lives (2 Kings 6:15–19), cause earthquakes (Acts 16:25–26), raise people from the dead (John 11; Acts 9:36–43), and more. It is God who is effective, and He invites us to join in His work through prayer.

God also gives us instructions about prayer in His Word. We find that being righteous—that is, following His commands and guidance—underlies effective prayer (James 5:16; 1 Peter 3:12; Psalm 34:15; Proverbs 15:8).

We also see that in our prayers we are to persist (Luke 18:1), pray with faith (James 1:5–8; Mark 11:22–24), be thankful (Philippians 4:6), be forgiving of others (Mark 11:25), pray in Jesus’ name (John 14:13–14), and have no sin unconfessed (Isaiah 59:2; 1 John 1:9). Our prayers should be focused on God’s glory, not our own selfish gain (James 4:3).

Again, these guidelines aren’t about our performance in order to get God to give us what we want. For example, we might persist in a prayer and God can still say “no” to our request. Rather, these guidelines speak to our relationship with God. We cannot expect God to answer our prayers if we refuse to walk in His ways or if we disbelieve Him. If our hearts are not aligned to His, it is unlikely that our prayers will be aligned to His will. When we approach God with grateful hearts that trust in Him and are eager to follow Him, He can change our hearts and mold our character. The accomplishment of His will becomes our deepest desire, and our prayers are offered toward that end.

God tells us to pray continuously and in thanksgiving (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18). We also rely upon the Holy Spirit both to guide us in prayer and to intercede for us (Romans 8:26–27). Prayer is part of the armor of God that helps us to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” and “be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (see Ephesians 6:10–18). The more we pray, the more we’ll want to pray. We’ll come to know God more deeply and see His faithful responses to our prayer. Our hearts will become more like His and our prayers will be more “effective.”

So “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7).

When Political Discussions Get Heated, Is It Best to Just Stay Out of It?


Keeping your head down when hot-button topics arise could come at a cost to your reputation.

Lisa Röper

When a hot-button issue comes up around the Thanksgiving table or in the cafeteria at work, does your stomach sink? In a deeply divided America, talking politics can inspire dread, prompting many of us to avoid sharing our views altogether. Faced with the prospect of saying the wrong thing or starting an argument, “staying out of it” often feels like the safest move.

But according to new research from Ike Silver, an incoming assistant professor of marketing at the Kellogg School, taking a position of neutrality can come at an unexpected cost. Consider Taylor Swift’s years of silence on political issues. Far from discouraging speculation about the pop star’s views, her avoidance seemed to stoke it. (Swift put an end to the guessing game by endorsing Democratic candidates in 2018.)

Silver and his coauthor Alex Shaw at the University of Chicago were intrigued by the public’s reaction to politics-averse figures like Swift. “People seemed to react so strongly to public figures that don’t take sides,” he says. It got him thinking: while there’s an intuitive appeal to staying out of controversial issues in the hopes of dodging conflict, “Could it backfire?”

Turns out, it can. In a new paper, Silver and Shaw found that declining to take a position on political and social issues inspires mistrust. Audiences often regard those who take a neutral public position not as principled or genuinely neutral, but rather as calculating and deceptive.

“People tend to interpret attempts to ‘stay out of it’ as strategic concealment for some self-interested reason,” Silver explains. “They assume if someone is saying, ‘I’d really rather not get into this,’ what they believe deep down probably contradicts what their audience believes.” Moreover, the fact that they are unwilling to speak their mind comes across as “inauthentic,” he says.

In fact, the researchers found, people often feel more wary of vocal fence-sitters than outright opponents. “In our experiments, neutral actors were seen as insincere and untrustworthy, even compared to political opponents,” Silver explains.

When “I’m Staying Out of It” Is a Losing Move

The researchers conducted 11 experiments to investigate perceptions of “staying out of it.” In one, they recruited 187 college students and asked them to watch a brief video clip of the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs responding to a reporter’s question about players kneeling in protest during the national anthem. The owner responds, “We aren’t doing anything on that today. … There’s really nothing to talk about.”

Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: In the first, they were told that the audience for the press conference (the news-station viewers and fans) was mostly conservative. In the second, they were told the audience was mostly liberal.

Participants rated what they thought the team owner really believed about kneeling during the national anthem by indicating whether and how strongly he opposes or supports his players’ actions. Then participants shared their own beliefs about the issue.

Finally, participants indicated how they would feel about the team owner if he had expressed a view that opposed their own personal view instead of taking a neutral stance, by rating how their perceptions of his sincerity, honesty, and trustworthiness would change.

“What we found is that although everyone saw the exact same video, they made opposing inferences about what the team owner believed” depending on what they’d been told about the audience, Silver says. Participants who had been told the team owner was speaking to a mostly liberal audience believed “there’s nothing to talk about” meant that he opposed kneeling during the national anthem, while those who believed his audience was mostly conservative thought the opposite.

In other words, people inferred that strategic motivation—the desire to hide his true beliefs—rather than genuine lack of opinion, guided the owner’s decision not to take a public position.

“Engagement in respectful political discussion, relative to avoiding the conversation at all costs, may be a safer and savvier interpersonal strategy than people realize.”

— Ike Silver

And, strikingly, participants found this seemingly calculated avoidance of disagreement less sincere, honest, and trustworthy than outright opposition. “Many participants, whether they were on the right or the left, said they’d trust him more if he just came out and disagreed with them,” Silver notes.

In other experiments, the researchers found the same pattern. Participants presented with a variety of hypothetical staying-out-of-it scenarios—a state representative declining to discuss removing Confederate statues, an English professor unwilling to share their views on protesting the police, a family member skirting the issue of COVID-19 mask mandates—made similar inferences about these actors’ underlying beliefs. Participants consistently assumed these individuals held views that would be unpopular with their audiences, suggesting that statements of neutrality are typically seen, fairly or not, as strategic ploys.

Better a Foe than a “Who Knows?”

In another experiment, the researchers tested how declining to state a position would impact whom people chose to work with for a cooperative game. They recruited 600 online participants to play a modified version of what is sometimes called the Prisoner’s Dilemma Game, explaining to participants that they would be paired with a partner and, at the same time as their partner, asked to choose between the options “Rely” or “Avoid.”

If both partners chose “Rely,” both would receive 25 cents. If both chose “Avoid,” both would receive nothing. If one partner chose “Rely” and the other “Avoid,” only the partner who chose “Avoid” would receive 30 cents. The idea is that while selfishly undercutting one’s partner is tempting, trust and cooperation yields the best outcome for everyone.

“In our version, we let participants pick who they wanted to play with as a measure of whom they trusted to cooperate with them in the game.”

To help them pick a partner, participants engaged in a belief-sharing exercise. First, participants indicated their personal positions on gun control, choosing between two statements: “I believe ordinary citizens should be allowed to own guns” and “I believe ordinary citizens should NOT be allowed to own guns.” The researchers told participants that their responses had been shared with two potential partners, who had been given the choice to either share their position in return or decline to take a position.

Participants were then prompted to choose between a partner who had declined to take a position and one who disagreed with their view outright. After choosing a partner, participants rated how much they trusted that partner and decided whether or not to cooperate in the game.

Participants showed a strong preference for partners who disagreed with them over partners who declined to take sides, with 61.2 percent opting to play the reliability game with a political opponent and only 38.8 percent choosing a partner who stayed neutral. Statistical analysis revealed that this preference was driven by trust: participants found those willing to voice opposing views more trustworthy than those who stayed out of it.

“We typically think of peoples’ positions on hot-button issues as a signal of their morality or trustworthiness—if you’re my political enemy, I don’t trust you,” Silver says. Nevertheless, in a situation where trust was directly at issue, “participants chose the person who disagreed with them at higher rates than the person who declined to take a side.”

Charging into the Political Fray

Taking a position, whether out in public or at home with a politically divided family, can feel scary. But, Silver points out, this research makes clear that appearing unwilling to take a side is also a risky move.

“Shutting these kinds of discussions down does more to harm interpersonal trust than people expect,” he notes. “Engagement in respectful political discussion, relative to avoiding the conversation at all costs, may be a safer and savvier interpersonal strategy than people realize.”

In fact, Silver points out, “this aligns with a broader set of findings coming out of labs across the country right now, suggesting that people’s perceptions of the amount of dislike between political parties are often overblown. In reality, our political opponents don’t hate us as much as we think.”

The same logic may extend to companies. “Conventional wisdom in marketing and management holds that business leaders should avoid political issues at all costs,” Silver says. “I think our research, in concert with lots of other research, is suggesting that the conventional wisdom is not quite right. Just playing neutral isn’t as safe reputationally as it seems.” If people judge brands and organizations in the same way they judge the public figures depicted in Silver’s studies, it stands to reason that corporate fence-sitting may provoke mistrust and drive customers away in just the same way.

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