Unacceptable thoughts

I listened to Moral Maze on groupthink yesterday. It was moderately interesting though it didn’t really dig very deep. From the blurb:

The word was coined in the 1970s by social psychologist Irving Janis. It has come to refer to people who are passionate about a particular view of the world and who treat those who don’t share their values with contempt, or even hostility. Today, commentators talk also of ‘cancel culture’ – public denunciations of high-profile individuals whose beliefs are deemed to be incompatible with the prevailing moral orthodoxy. When ‘unacceptable’ private thoughts are made public, reputations can be trashed and jobs are sometimes lost.

People aren’t going to stand up and say “hooray for groupthink,” are they.

But there is a kind of groupthink we do want, or at least prefer to the alternative. It’s the kind that Trump isn’t part of the group of which. It’s the kind that prevents us from babbling all kinds of stupid hostile destructive shit at and about other people, and other groups of people. It’s the kind that makes vocal racism taboo, which of course doesn’t get rid of racism but does at least interrupt the process by which people pass overt explicit racism (and all its cousins) on generation after generation.

The thing is you can put all kinds of pejorative labels on that. It’s conformist, it’s social pressure, it’s inhibiting, yadda yadda. It’s politicalcorrectness. It is, but that’s a good thing.

But then of course it depends what the taboos are. Once they’re put on items like saying men are not women…not such a good thing.

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