tipping points and the phony consensus

This is an amplification of my earlier post how intolerance wins but I think the subject is important enough to justify a second post.
My theory of politics is that it mostly comes down to the human desire to conform. Our strongest instinct is to ensure our acceptance within our social group.
Most people do not hold strong political views. If you asked the average person to explain his political philosophy you’d get some vague platitudes. It’s only a very small minority that actually holds very strongly held views on politics. Those small minorities do however have an extremely disproportionate influence merely by virtue of the fact that they are strongly motivated.
Most people choose the line of least resistance. At any one time there will only be a small range of political opinions that are socially acceptable. The average person chooses a political allegiance from within that range. It is socially acceptable to be in favour of unlimited immigration or to be in favour of very very high levels of legal immigration with a few token attempts to favour better qualified immigrants; it is not socially acceptable to be opposed to legal immigration. It is socially acceptable to be in favour of homosexual marriage; no other position on that issue is acceptable.
These limits on acceptable political views are largely enforced by social pressure. If everyone in your office claims to be in favour of open borders then anyone who disagrees will face social penalties. The most you can hope to get away with is disagreeing privately while pretending to conform outwardly. In actual fact there may be others who also disagree with the accepted view but because no-one dares to express open disagreement you will still feel totally isolated socially if you dare to dissent. If everyone in your family claims to be an enthusiastic proponent of homosexual marriage then you’d have to be pretty bold to express a contrary view.
This is how particular beliefs become the consensus view. It is crucial to note that it is not necessary for an opinion to be held by the majority in order for it to be accepted as the consensus view. A minority, if it is sufficiently motivated, sufficiently bloody-minded, sufficiently intransigent and sufficiently hysterical, can impose its view as the consensus view. Most people will then conform because for most people it’s just not worth the grief to swim against the tide. Especially when you’re dealing with SJWs. They are prepared to go well beyond mere social pressure – they will if they can cause you to lose your job for daring to disagree with them.
The consensus view is, more often than not, a phony consensus enforced by fear.
This might seem depressing but there is another side. The consensus view prevails as long as the number of people prepared to question it is so small that such people can easily be marginalised, isolated and neutralised. If however enough people are prepared to question the consensus can quickly become rather shaky. If there are forty people in your office and you’re the only one openly dissenting you’ll end up either being forced to conform or forced to leave. But if two or three other people openly dissent then it’s not so easy for the consensus to be enforced. And pretty soon you’ll have a couple more doubters challenging the consensus, at which point the usual SJW intimidation tactics become relatively ineffective. It’s all a matter of reaching a tipping point.
And bear in mind that of the forty people in that hypothetical office it’s likely that at least twenty-five do not have any really strong views on the matter at all. They just go with the flow. If a contrary view that challenges the consensus becomes socially acceptable and if there are no longer any effective social penalties for holding that contrary view then many of those “undecideds” may well find the contrary view to be rather attractive.
The key to success is to borrow a page from the SJW playbook – be just as intransigent and just as stubborn as they are. It’s not necessary to overturn a monolithic hostile majority – what appeared to be a hostile majority was probably always only a vocal minority.

One comment on “tipping points and the phony consensus

  1. James Higham says:

    Most people choose the line of least resistance. At any one time there will only be a small range of political opinions that are socially acceptable.

    Very much so and it allows through all sorts of untoward things.

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