Paladiea has two very interesting and relatively brief pieces about conformity posted at My Blahg. In The Gilded Cage of Conformity, Part I, she talks about two kinds of people, leaders and followers, and how conservatives use societal pressure to suppress undesireable changes. She cites, as example, the non-acceptance of homosexuality, suggesting that by boiling down any conservative argument against it the result will be “it’s not normal” which, she says, is societal pressure at it’s most basic. Their idea says homosexuals don’t fit in and should be shunned. Interestingly, she notes that this principle holds true for most conservative arguments.
In The Gilded Cage of Conformity Part II Paladiea discusses humanity’s willingness to conform, citing Stanley Milgram’s experiments with volunteers who when given permission were prepared to administer a lethal voltage on an other human being who would not conform. She uses this example
to illustrate one of the fundamental problems of society today. People are abdicating responsibility for their own actions. From driving SUVs to voting in governments that condone torture. People are just checking out of the active decison making process. And not only that, but they are urged to.
People wonder why conservatism is so attractive, it’s this very reason. If you listen to any speech by Bush, or any advocacy of the patriarchy, the message is clear; “Listen to your superiors, they know best”.
She speculates that people may do so because it’s easier than thinking and also cautions that this may be why the Holocaust happened.
She closes her contemplations wondering how we combat this. I’d like to rephrase the question. How dow we engage/re-engage people into active decision-making? What conversations do we need to begin so that those neuropathways can be re-opened?