how intolerance wins

An interesting article by Nassim Nicholas Taleb on on why intolerant minorities always win – The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dictatorship of the Small Minority. They win because they’re intransigent on a particular issue and because the majority are not prepared to go to the barricades over issues that don’t seem to be of great or immediate importance to them.
He’s not talking just about politics and religion. His example of peanut allergies is very instructive. For the small minority of parents whose children supposedly have peanut allergies it’s an issue on which no compromise can be accepted. For the convenience of their children every child in the school has to be denied access to peanuts. For the vast majority of parents whose children do not have peanut allergies it’s not an issue worth making a huge fuss over. It’s not worth fighting for and so the majority chooses the line of least resistance and accepts the banning of all peanut products in schools.
While it applies to all sorts of issues the fact that an intransigent minority will almost always get its way has obvious and vast implications in the social and political sphere. It is not necessary for these intolerant minorities to convert the majority to their point of view. They can remain a small minority and still win every political battle.
Perhaps the majority needs to learn this lesson and to put it into practice. If a large enough proportion of the majority actually is prepared to put up a fight then the intolerant minority could be defeated.
There’s also a lesson for social conservatives. They have lost every battle in the culture wars because although the social radicals always were a tiny minority they were focused, intolerant and completely bloody-minded. Social conservatives assumed they were dealing with people who were essentially reasonable and open to compromise. A fatal mistake.
Another issue that Taleb dopesn’t touch on directly (although it’s implied in his article) is that successful intolerant minorities tend to be extremely well disciplined.
The article does perhaps offer some hope. It is always possible to learn from your enemies. Even if the number of social conservatives and anti-globalists prepared to put up a fight is relatively small they could succeed by adopting the same tactics – by being just as intransigent and bloody-minded as the SJWs and globalists.
The lesson is that if you try to be moderate and reasonable you will lose every time.  Maybe it’s time we gave intransigence and bloody-mindedness a chance.

One comment on “how intolerance wins

  1. James Higham says:

    Forgotten the quote about how organized they are, and funded. Normal people who bumble about never stood a chance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s