Monday, April 21, 2008

Groupthink

Not wanting to add too much to Freemania's take (with links to others) on David Edgar's piece in the Saturday Guardian about lefty apostates, I've only a couple of short observations:
  1. If lots of other people are saying it, it probably isn't worth saying. I don't think that politics is a suitable setting for the development of a personal social circle or peer group, and the most annoying blogs and bloggers that I've found tend to be the ones who try and cosy up to like minds. There is no fun in discussing anything with people who agree with you very much, and groupthink is a poison. So the more 'apostates' the better, I say. Oddly, the Euston Manifesto decent left association seems to be widely misunderstood, (if sometimes amusingly and weirdly obsessively by Flying Rodent Malky Muscular). I've never met a group of people who vary as widely on so many things, apart from broadly agreeing with the statement that they signed.
  2. It's really annoying when someone urges you not to argue a position because solidarity demands that you shouldn't. Solidarity is where you do something together. Like strike, or some other direct action where unity is a tactical necessity. Arguing is completely different. Rival social forces respond to concerted actions. Arguments are, in themselves, feeble things - until they help to shape some social force that can actually carry out an effective direct action. Groupthink, and me-too arguments (I'd include joint-letters to newspapers or petitions in this) actually delays the shaping of such social forces.
All of which means that David Edgar is really very right wing. Yay!

These are probably slightly daft arguments that I'll regret making once I read the comments. But I'm making them anyway. Whaddaya think?

2 comments:

Shuggy said...

There is no fun in discussing anything with people who agree with you very much, and groupthink is a poison.

I like that. I often wonder if I'd take half the positions I do if it weren't for a deep boredom with everyone agreeing about everything and making that tedious and faintly oppressive assumption of sameness.

Many of the usual pathologies of defection can be detected in the current crop.

There's Edgar's article distilled in a single quote. "I don't agree with these people - what's wrong with them? Oh, I know..." Then they go on to issue anathemas. He's like those unbelievable tossers you meet from time to time who've done a bit of psychology. You know, unlike those who've done a lot and therefore realise that nobody knows anything?

Shuggy said...

Solidarity is where you do something together. Like strike, or some other direct action where unity is a tactical necessity. Arguing is completely different. Rival social forces respond to concerted actions.

Oh, and I like that too...