Slouching Towards Totalitaria: The Groupthink Psychodemic, Part III

The Asch Conformity Test was a series of trials carried out at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, in the 1950s, aimed at discerning how susceptible people might be to peer pressure, and how far this was likely to influence them in the things they believed or claimed to believe. It has often been noted that human beings fear nothing — not even hunger or thirst — more than being cast outside their own tribe, and these tests, also called the Asch Paradigm, comprised a series of studies directed by Solomon Asch to examine whether individuals would yield to or defy a majority group, and study the impact their responses had on their opinions, beliefs and actions. The results show a strong propensity in a minority of humans to follow the herd regardless of facts or even personal understandings. Asch found a strong pattern of yielding towards an erring majority opinion in more than a third of his test subjects, with three-quarters being prepared to concur with the majority’s  ‘blunders’ to some degree — in other words, consensus was more persuasive that truth. Doubt creeps in when we are outnumbered, pressing us to trust the majority. 

Asch’s verdict: ‘That intelligent, well-meaning, young people are willing to call white black is a matter of concern.’ 

Some subjects, though suspecting something was wrong, lacked the confidence to go against the crowd. Some knew the others were wrong but went along so as not to seem ‘out of step’. Further trials over subsequent years discovered that, if one or more of the actors concurred with the subject’s opinion, the number of instances where the subjects answered with the majority was reduced dramatically. The bigger the group, the more likelihood of conformity. The level of conformity was dramatically reduced in experiments in which the answers were written rather than spoken publicly. 

This is why it has been so vital to the Covid deception that contrary views are excluded from public debates. Just one dissenting voice can liberate even a hesitant person to ignore the majority and speak the truth as he sees it. In a mass society, even a few dissenters can turn a general convocation around. That is why the authorities seek to blacken the reputations of dissenters, why journaliars demonise truth-tellers as ‘far right conspiracy theorists’, and so forth. It is also why PC ideas have proved so powerful in bullying the majority to remain silent on issues when certain perspective are defined as taboo. All goes to demonstrate Irving Janis’s third rule of groupthink: Its captives immediately move to marginalise ‘wrongthinkers’.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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