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Conformity and the Machinery of Loneliness

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

A series of excerpts from my book have been running in The Federalist. The most recent is from the chapter I wrote on self-censorship and the conformity impulse: The Weaponization of Loneliness and the Conformity Impulse. Whenever we induce self-censorship we stifle our real viewpoint in the arena of public opinion. In it I discuss Solomon Asch's conformity experiments of the 1950s. Below is a youtube video from a replication of those experiments during the 1970s:


And if a contagion of self-censorship grows around us (mostly due to fear of being socially rejected) a "spiral of silence" causes the opinion to take on a minority or even "fringe" status, while promoting the illusion that the propagandized narrative is the majority opinion. This has major consequences for public discourse and public opinion polling.

Here's a longer excerpt from my book that ran in American Greatness: Mobs and the Weaponization of Loneliness. In it I discuss the mob in action, the uses of mobs by totalitarian actors, and the elements of mobs. The common denominator is that individuals who join mobs are usually atomized, not connected to strong and healthy relationships in family, faith institutions, and community. They therefore seek to belong to something and are vulnerable to becoming easy fodder for power elites who use mobs to push their propaganda forward.

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