Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Beware of Group Think

My favorite feminist is the former Director of the L.A. chapter of NOW, Tammy Bruce, because she breaks the mold. She is openly gay, pro-choice, gun-owning, pro-death penalty, and voted for President Bush! I may not always agree with her but I love her spunk. You can't type someone like that in stereo.

Recently I heard her speak at Florida State University about some of her experiences as a NOW Director and progressive feminist with a conservative bent. One of the things she noticed was how colleagues in the pro-choice movement would react win she or someone else within the ranks would question or consider a new perspective outside the party-line. There were a lot of black-and-white thinkers who could not handle alternate perspectives and would question a member's loyalty if they deviated. A kind of group-think mentality developed where one was afraid to differ or disagree.

I have seen this same attitude in many churches and in evangelicalism. There is a general understanding that one must hold to certain views, beliefs, doctrines, perspectives, and political thought. I'm not saying a group shouldn't have core values and beliefs they share. But the black-and-white mentality can take over a group so that the gray areas are forced to go black or white. If it goes too far it becomes very unhealthy. A person can lose their individualism as they are consumed with fitting into a fellowship, avoiding conflict (which is not always unhealthy), and sacrifice their own personhood on the alter of group-think. Independent thinkers can't handle this, which is probably why Ms. Bruce left NOW and is who she is today.

The key I suppose is striking a balance between sharing a broad set of core values or principles and welcoming independent thought--not always an easy thing to do but well worth the effort.

1 comment:

gothceltgirl said...

I really like your expression of your viewpoints and I encourage you to check out my blog. I am pro-choice, but I found this from the links on the side after reading about stamping out fundamentalism. I am writing something about that since I was raised in a fundamentalist environment myself. I really hope to get a following at some point on my blogs. http://blog.gothceltgirl.info and the main website is without the blog.
I also have another website http://blackirispublishing.net
I'm not spamming you. I just hope that other bloggers will read mine as well.