One of the more challenging things for dissidents to grasp about politics within a liberal democracy is emergent behavior. This is behavior of a group that does not depend on properties of individuals, but on the relationships within the group. Right-wing people tend to reject this in favor of reductionism. Individuals act out of material self-interest, so the actions of a group must be out of self-interest. This means the actions of all groups can be reduced down to individual motivations.
The fact that this form of analysis has never been useful in combating radicalism and irrationalism never seems to matter. There is something about the mind of right-wing people that prevents them from questioning this analysis. Perhaps it is simply the product of the rational mind. People who seek to live orderly lives naturally assume order is the default state of mind. To accept the existence of the hive mind is to question a fundamental understanding of existence.
Regardless, emergent behavior is a real thing and accepting it is key to understanding and predicting the behavior of the forces of darkness. The best example is a flock of birds darting among trees at dusk. There is no lead bird calling out commands to the rest of the birds. Instead, every bird is both a leader and follower, responding to the actions of the birds around it. When a bird on the edge of the group moves toward a bit of food, the rest respond in a cascade of corresponding action.
Another useful way of thinking about it, at least within the context of political behaviors within left-wing systems, is the synchronization of metronomes. Everyone has probably seen the demonstration where they take a group of metronomes operating at different rates and sit them together. In short order they are swinging at the same rate. There is a bit of math to it, but the demonstration is enough to make the point. While not emergent behavior, it is a good way to visualize it.
We have a real world example of it this week at the Olympics. This was supposed to be the Olympics where the glories of black girl magic broke through the toxic masculinity of white supremacist culture. Instead, Naomi Osaka was bounced by a nobody in the tennis competition. Then, Simone Biles led her team to a stunning second place finish in the first phase of the gymnastics competition. She topped it off by quitting on her team in the finals and they lost to the Russians.
Inside the hive, this was not expected. They had prepped their stories celebrating black girl magic and side pieces on diversity being the strength of the team. The jock sniffers were in the pumpkin patch waiting for the great pumpkin to arrive only to have reality turn up instead. Faced with disconfirmation, they did not throw down the paper straws from their soy lattes and question the power of black girl magic. Instead, they frantically scanned their hive looking for support in their belief.
Eventually, one of them came up with a way to fit this unexpected turn of events into the narrative of black girl magic. You see, Biles was not a petulant loser who quit on her team at the biggest moment. No, she is a hero for selflessly omitting herself from the competition so the team could carry on without her. Within minutes every sports reporter was blinking this signal to the other members of the hive. By the end of the day, this was the official narrative being told on every sports show.
The reductionist looks at this and assumes there must have been word from central command that instructed everyone to get on board with the new story. At the hollowed out volcano where the deep state operates, they had a meeting, and this new narrative was created and quickly e-mailed to all sports ninnies. It is an exaggeration, but that is how many on the right assume the media operates. They believe it is carefully choreographed performance operating along rational lines.
Instead, what is the norm, as in the case of the Olympics story, is something similar to what Leon Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schachter observed in their study of the Seekers, a UFO cult in the 1950’s. Faced with the undeniable disconfirmatory evidence, individuals look to the rest for support in maintaining the belief. If there is strong enough social support, they find a way to rationalize the disconfirmation within the general framework of their beliefs.
This is the natural behavior of radical groups. They have strong social relationships within the group, because it is ultimately the point of the group. The members join as a form of self-abnegation. They swap their hated sense of self with the identity of the group, which is why they are fiercely loyal to the group. It is also why they treat criticism of the group as a physical attack. From their perspective, it is an attack on their person, because their person is fully integrated into the collective.
This is why left-wing groups are immune to reality. The fact-driven right-winger can spend his life presenting his evidence and the radicals will either ignore the disconfirmation or assimilate it into the ideology, like a snake digests its meal. There is no shot caller at the top directing it. The members are not conscious of it. Those silly sports reporters covering for the Simone Biles are not even aware of what they are doing, because they have lost all self-awareness.
This is why that left-wing person in your life acts different in isolation than they do when within their hive. Their on-line behavior, for example, is aggressive in defense of the hive, while in person they are often quite meek. On-line, they have the sense of being in the collective, so they act accordingly. In person, they are the soldier isolated from his unit, thinking of nothing but getting home. It is also why the radicals are the most intensely on-line. Social media has become their virtual hive.
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