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 Post subject: The Republic of Virtue
PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:35 am 
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Pretty long article but I liked this one quite a lot. It's from 2015 but you can see it being quite prophetic with the likes of Antifa and such out there now.

I do ilke bringing up Robespierre too as he's the classic archetype, the ur-example, of how the road to hell is paved with good intentions and morality enforced at the point of a gun (or the blade of a guillotine).

Here's a snip though to whet appetites.

Group Polarization

Group Polarization is a term used to describe the phenomenon whereby people placed in group situations tend to form more extreme opinions than they would on their own. Read the full Wikipedia entry – it’s fascinating. It offers a compelling explanation of the kind of radicalization and extremism that turned the French Revolution into the Reign of Terror. It is probably at play in any case of extremism you might care to mention.

The Wikipedia article states that the phenomenon “has shown that after participating in a discussion group, members tend to advocate more extreme positions and call for riskier courses of action than individuals who did not participate in any such discussion.” And moreover, “as long as the group of individuals begins with the same fundamental opinion on the topic and a consistent dialogue is kept going, group polarization can be observed.” (my emphasis added)

The French Revolutionaries were really into discussion groups. The Jacobin Club, the most influential of these groups, became progressively more radical and culminated with the rise of Robespierre and the institution of the Terror. Over the course of a few years the group’s republican orthodoxy shifted so far to the left that many original members – all republican radicals at the time – eventually came to be viewed as too conservative and thus as enemies of the revolution.

We also love our discussion groups. Chat rooms, IRC, Reddit, Twitter, and probably a whole bunch of things I’m not hip enough to know about. With the global and ubiquitous nature of the Internet, a consistent dialogue on a polarizing topic is not only feasible, it is the norm. When group polarization takes hold, we might call it an echo chamber or a circle jerk, but it is essentially the same thing.

In the interests of being nonpartisan, I have decided to refrain from citing specific examples, but they are not hard to find. Instead, let’s take a hypothetical online community who are united by a support for cause X. We’ll assume that cause X is something generally agreeable. As the discussion of X develops over time, polarization starts to kick in. The distinction between Xers and non-Xers grows more and more pronounced. An orthodoxy develops which admits of less and less deviation. Outsiders who stumble into the discussion are unable to navigate the accumulated culture and orthodoxy, are thus can be dismissed as a non-Xer.

From time to time a Robespierre or a Marat will arise – an incorruptible zealot of X. When this occurs, the orthodoxy will shift further to the extreme. Non-Xers start to look a whole lot like anti-Xers. At last, the group may start to look outside of itself to find and correct offences against X. Of course, by this time, with such an extreme and narrow concept of what really constitutes X, anti-Xers will be found everywhere. Previously disinterested parties will pick up on this obnoxious behaviour and decide that, hey! X and Xers need to be stopped! Cue the next online war.

“The gap in EU finances arising from the United Kingdom’s withdrawal and from the financing needs of new priorities need to be clearly acknowledged.” - Mario Monti

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 Post subject: Re: The Republic of Virtue
PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 6:15 pm 
Hair in the soap
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Definitely prophetic.


 Post subject: Re: The Republic of Virtue
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 10:33 am 
Sergeant Major
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Axiomatic stuff!

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