by Dave Hodges, The Common Sense Show:
n large part, the American people have been conquered through the principle of groupthink. Throughout history, groupthink has played a prominent role in coercing the public of any nation into going to war for the benefit of the elite ruling class and their financial bottom line.
Groupthink is a term coined by social psychologist Irving Janis in 1972, and it occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment”.
Groups affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend to take irrational actions that dehumanize other groups. A group is especially vulnerable to groupthink (e.g. Neocons and the Iraq War, radical Muslim elements within the government and the coming great American purge followed by WW III) when its members are similar in background, when the group is insulated from outside opinions, and when there are no clear rules for decision making.
It is the premise of this article that groupthink is being used to “nudge” Americans into accepting a new paradigm which is suicidal for the country’s continued existence.
The Meat and Potatoes of Groupthink
In his book, Victims of Groupthink, Dr. Janis has documented eight symptoms of groupthink:
The illusion of invulnerability is often perpetuated when a cause first becomes public. “If God is for us, who can be against us” is often the kind of mentality that permeates a group in which self-righteousness will somehow protect the group from the faulty decisions of their leaders. It would be interesting to ask the tens of millions of dead people who died in the two world wars in the 20th century how well this illusion works. This illusion of invulnerability creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks. For example, when NFL player, Pat Tillman forsook his lucrative playing career and volunteered to serve in Afghanistan, following 9/11, he was killed by military leadership for expressing the anti-war views he increasingly came to believe. In the early days of a movement, people lose their minds and volunteer to give up their lives in order to kill complete strangers in order that billionaire bankers can make billions of dollars of more money.
The members of a group quickly fall into a type of collective rationalization in the early days of group think. “If my neighbors believe in our course of action”, it must be perfectly OK to engage in things like genocide and mass murder (i.e. war). The members of the group discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions regarding a course of action even when it becomes clear that the course of action is immoral or even suicidal.
Belief in an inherent and self-righteous morality. This view is often expressed, as President George W. Bush once said “You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists”. The members of the group believe in the righteousness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions. This type of group psychology has given history some of its darkest days.
Stereotyped views of unfavorable out-groups is perpetuated. Stereotypical and extreme negative views of the “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary. This leads to the creation of devices like the infamous “Red List” which will ostensibly be used one day to rid the country of any dissenters.
Direct pressure on dissenters in the group begins to surface in the early days of a movement. Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views. Political correctness is often used to usher in a group think kind of paradigm change. We have witnessed the climate change arguments and the advancement of gay marriage where nobody dare speak out against the concept at the risk of being branded “prejudiced”.
Self-censorship becomes a critical operating component of the group. People fear speaking out, so they don’t. Doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed for fear of retaliation from the group and its leader. This is when a society begins to live in fear of its government and the establishment behind the government.
The illusion of unanimity is perpetuated in and among the members of a group. The majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous. This becomes the well-spring of prohibitions on free speech, politically motivated round-ups and deportation to concentration camps (i.e. FEMA camps). Nowhere, can we find a better example of what happens when six corporations control 98% of the media. Browse through the networks, during the news hour, and you won’t find a stone’s throw difference between the way that CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN and Fox, report the news. It is the ultimate example of groupthink. And it is the single most important reason that we have a “sheep mentality “among 95% of the people in this country.
Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ becomes a key operating component of the group. Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions. This is the central operating principle of the maintenance of group think. Any dissension inside the group is quickly dealt with as if the dissenter were a member of the group of which their group is aligned against.
Examples of the Fallacy of Groupthink
Historians often point to examples of groupthink “fiascoes”. Dr. Janis offers as examples “the US failures to anticipate the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Bay of Pigs invasion, the escalation of the Vietnam war, and the ill-fated hostage rescue in Iran”. Certainly, the flawed policies enacted in conducting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are prime examples of this erroneous thinking brought about by the eight elements of group think. And this flawed thinking has led to the rise of ISIS, with the help of the CIA.
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