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On opinion cascades and marriage, read Doug Mainwaring today

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

If you wonder how the whole issue of genderless marriage took off so fast — from fringe issue to public policy in just a few years — read Doug Mainwaring’s excellent article in today’s American Thinker: “Manufacturing Consent on Same Sex Marriage.” You’ll find in it a fascinating discussion that goes beyond Marketing 101. In fact, you’ll wish that that there was an insightful “Propaganda 101” course readily available to all. What has been happening is as confusing to folks as the current understanding of marriage seems to be.

Some of us thought that the public square was for talking through issues that were controversial. Then after we reasoned things through, we’d talk some more just to be sure. We’d argue. We’d debate in a civil society that allowed all views to be heard. We’d vote on public officials or referenda. We’d try to learn. To think independently. And so on . . .

Silly us. All the while, “availability cascades” were being tweaked and organized and used to create an illusion of consent for things that seemed implausible, rendering them “plausible” as more and more people were sucked into the spiral of silence that political correctness demands of dissenters. As people feared social ostracism, they complied. What passed for “debate in the public square” was manipulated and rendered predictable.

I plan to write more on this subject myself, especially since the frenetic pace of genderless marriage policy provides such an excellent illustration the mechanics of opinion cascades, and the understanding of how fragile they really are. (Doug and I also co-authored a piece on this last year, which you can read here.)

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