I read a very interesting article yesterday.
Key to the modern world – the sinister groupthink by Christopher Booker.
The more astute may snigger at the paradox where I quote another's thoughts and agree with them, but there are two factors that exclude this as a drop of "groupthink" – the first is that I have held the view for some considerable time myself but haven't been erudite enough to express my views, and the other is that having read the article I thought about it and didn't just jump in with a mindless "I agree with that because he says so".
The septic tank of groupthink is one of the great curses of modern society.
At the shallow end we have the Social Media where nothing is questioned yet all is absorbed. Someone writes that "scientists have found that ten million people a year are killed by jellyfish" and the immediate reaction is "wow! I never knew that. I must retweet/share to all my friends". A lie is propagated and the next thing there are calls on governments to eradicate jellyfish. No one ever seems to look behind the lie to check the facts.
One of the most insidious and one of the most frightening of these groups is Avaaz. Someone there comes up with a "worthy cause" and promptly several million members whack off gestures of support, and I can guarantee that only a miniscule fraction have understood, even less studied the "cause" they are voting for. While I have nothing personal against Avaaz, and I'm sure the people behind it have nothing but the best intentions, their use of groupthink is scary.
At the deep end of the septic tank we have the major groups such as Warble Gloaming and the Health Fascists. It is now widely believed amongst the general public that there is an alcohol and an obesity epidemic. They believe it because they read about it in the papers or see it on television. Yet these same people live their daily lives without ever seeing a drunk or an obese person. I don't expect them to be au fait with the latest statistics [which show no such “epidemics”] but even the evidence of their own eyes is ignored.
I used to be a victim of groupthink on the subject of tobacco. I used to sincerely believe it was bad – very bad. But in the last few years I began to think for myself. I began to read up on the subject and tried to keep an open mind. But the more I read the more I became convinced that the groupthink was wrong. One of the telling pointers was that within the "smoking is evil" camp, everyone was quoting someone else and no one was coming up with hard facts. We hear of so many deaths a year caused by smoking but no one ever says where these figures come from. There are those who will chide me and sneer at my beliefs but I would ask them – why are they so convinced I am wrong? Do they have the facts that I somehow missed, or are they just parroting the groupthink – smoking is bad because everyone knows it's bad?
Warble Gloaming is another classic areas or groupthink and it demonstrates one of the primary symptoms – a demonisation of the "non-believers". If you don't believe in the whole climate affair then you are a deluded Flat-Earther and should be ignored or even vilified. The fact that the whole climate scam is collapsing around their ears is completely ignored – I see it's white but the groupthink says it's black so it must be black.
I may have said it before, but one of the reasons I rant here occasionally is not to convince people of my beliefs. What I really want is for people to THINK. When someone states something as fact, don't just accept it; question it and look at the logic behind it. Don't be fooled by the old "science is proven" crap. Don't fall for the "everyone knows that" trap. If you want to put up a counter-argument, don't just parrot something you have heard somewhere else.