Mark Twain reflects on belief systems, and the social pressures that bring them to bear:
Morals, religions, politics, get their following from surrounding influences and atmospheres, almost entirely; not from study, not from thinking.
…A political emergency brings out the corn-pone opinion in fine force in its two chief varieties – the pocketbook variety, which has its origin in self-interest, and the bigger variety, the sentimental variety – the one which can't bear to be outside the pale; can't bear to be in disfavor; can't endure the averted face and the cold shoulder; wants to stand well with his friends, wants to be smiled upon, wants to be welcome, wants to hear the precious words, "He's on the right track!" Uttered, perhaps by an ass, but still an ass of high degree, an ass whose approval is gold and diamonds to a smaller ass, and confers glory and honor and happiness, and membership in the herd. For these gauds many a man will dump his lifelong principles into the street, and his conscience along with them. We have seen it happen. In some millions of instances.
It is a tremendous article. I highly recommend reading it through.
I’ve often wondered why I do it. Why do I even bother to take issue with someone else? Does it change their minds? Are these people really going to abandon their party and platform because of anything I say? Mr. Twain makes an excellent point about the fad influences on our thinking having much more of an impact than any amount of gas I could expel.
I’m reminded of the excellent movie, “Arthur Christmas”, wherein young Arthur tells his 136-year-old granddad that his recent suggestion is impossible. Granddad rebuts, “They used to say it was impossible to teach women to read.” What do “they” know? More importantly, why do “they” matter?
How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think. – Adolf Hitler
So why do libertarians (and other third party types) do it? Where is that gene that makes us less inclined toward acceptance and more-so toward, as Georg puts it, a normative posture? In earlier posts, Laura has linked to personality tests with the fascinating result showing a preponderance of INTJ types – or thereabouts. Such types are a small percentage compared to others and it seems only natural to find them appearing together on a website such as this.
We don’t submit to the script. I’m not saying we’re right, however, only that we feel comfortable to step outside of the norm. But what is normal? Rather, what SHOULD be normal?
Robb Wolf once explained that many believe something is normal but, in reality, it’s only “common”. And who has always promoted the common? Politicians. It’s much easier to accept the talking points and know where you stand as a group, rather than stand individually with just your own conviction exposed to the world.
So, I’d day we’re either a bit more courageous or a lot more nuts than the average citizen. Maybe just well-informed? Probably a combination.
The secret of life is to appreciate the pleasure of being terribly, terribly deceived. – Oscar Wilde