Consensus of Two

When reading sites that avow socially unpopular ideas, especially those that contradict dominant ideological structures, I frequently come across people saying things like “when I talk to people in private conversations they admit that the ideas have merit, but no one is willing to say so in public” and concluding that there’s actually a vast, untapped wellspring of people who agree with their positions.

What never seems to occur to them is that many of those people are conformists of the worst kind, the sort that seeks always to match the society around them – ideological chameleons. And when an ideological chameleon has a private conversation with an individual who espouses unusual positions, the effective society they’re in has only two members.

The implications for any positions which are considered distasteful but not actively abhorrent are clear. Those who lack the courage of their convictions, or who have no convictions to speak of, are likely to say all sorts of things privately that they will contradict publicly, even if only by remaining silent.


2 Responses to “Consensus of Two”

  1. It’s also possible that we are talking to an extremely unrepresentative sample of people.

  2. mitchell porter Says:

    I’d agree with you, but other people might be watching.

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