[Paleopsych] crowds

Michael Christopher anonymous_animus at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 12 19:14:46 UTC 2004

>>Actually, this idea that the masses want a dunce 
is a rather old idea, and fortunately one that has not
proven itself.<<

--I don't think people consciously WANT a vacant
leader, but the nature of the system is to elevate
those upon whom people can project their ideals. In
small groups, a leader may in fact accurately reflect
the spirit of the group, but in groups of millions,
leaders tend to be well-marketed, rather than chosen
for their ability to tap into the collective vision. 

Political correctness also becomes a factor, because
even a small group can derail a campaign by attacking
the candidate (swiftvets, for example). Because of
this, Republicans who are moderate or liberal on
social values must keep silent to some degree, or face
the wrath of social conservatives. This may do a great
deal of damage to the GOP. They can't win without the
conservative Christian vote, and Bush has set the bar.
Now, a Republican social moderate like Giuliani or
Schwarzenegger, normally highly desirable to the GOP,
could suffer because next to Bush, they just don't
have the conservative Christian vibe nailed. As an
independent, I am willing to support Republicans who
stand up to the religious right and against political
correctness. It's one thing to be friendly to
Christian voters, another thing to be silenced out of
fear that groups like Dobson's will pour cash into a
state to defeat a socially moderate Republican.

Political correctness on the Left has also been noted,
but it tends to happen without comment on the Right.
Religious nationalism, more than any other social
movement, tends to force politicians into a box.

>>Take a look at "Wisdom of Crowds" by Surowicki. He
demonstrates that aggregate wisdom is remarkably

--Only when there is a mechanism which accurately
unfolds the intelligence of the group. When groups are
forced to pick sides, and there are only two sides,
things tend to get distorted quite a bit. The lowest
common denominator is elevated, rather than those who
truly reflect the genius of the crowd. This is also
why Clinton and Bush could both get high approval
ratings. It's not that the crowd is schizophrenic.
There's a natural pendulum swing from liberal to
conservative and back again, due to each side going to
excess when it has its turn. In individuals, that
swing is also seen, but individuals have more ability
to shift in a coherent, graceful way, as opposed to
the slamming between extremes we see in politics. 

One positive for our culture: unlike many other
cultures, liberals and conservatives in our society
tend to have friends and family on the other side.
Which means that even when an election is highly
polarized, there is a natural tendency for family and
friendship to moderate the extremes and prevent
violence. In many parts of the world, different
religious, racial and political groups have no contact
with those who are different, and violence is much
more likely.


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