Techniques that Sway.
You, Too, Can Teach Your Group To Jump Through Hoops.
The Dogma-Driven Life
Groupthink is group behavior stemming from collective consensus, but under pressure. There is usually a companion issue of threat to dissenters, exclusion, overwhelm. This combination fosters uncritical adoption of ideas, and the sense of cohesion among members of the group.
Engagers in Groupthink come to see themselves as highly moral, and others flawed ://www.cedu.niu.edu/~fulmer/groupthink.htm; ://www.abacon.com/commstudies/groups/groupthink.html. And that supremacism, monopoly on the right, is never challenged in the group.
See a consequence of Groupthink in World War II - the Nuremberg trials - at ://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/nuremberg/nuremberg.htm. See it in action in film. FN 1. Know what you are talking about if you hear "Hitler".
Stadium at Nuremberg, Germany, behind the Nazi Documentation Center there. Groupthink Central.
How can people preserve the right to independent information, assessment and decision-making, when others are pushing the group in a rave-wave as though any investigation into merit is unnecessary, and undesirable.
Success of Groupthink is a combination of
- methodology and
- driven leaders and
- people wanting to be fed, not to have to question.
In governments and aggression and politics - still the dogma-driven life - but the partisan edge carries the weight of immediate punishment legislatively for dissenters. The party identity as a source of personal power supersedes even own self interest, if one's own economic position will indeed be the worse for staying with the party. Then again, one's identity may well be more important than a common good. No easy answers.
B. The Big Eight Characteristics of Groups that Thrive Because of Groupthink Behaviors:
See the abacom.com site- www.abacon.com/commstudies/groups/groupthink.html. This discussion focuses on political groupthink, governmental movements as exemplified by Nazi Germany and Nuremberg. In less drastic ways, the process is similar to ongoing politics, religious proseletyzing, social views.
It is important to remember the extreme successes that Groupthink offers, to see what indeed can and did happen. What are the little seeds are out there now. Abacom highlights these characteristics:
1. Invulnerability. The Group sees itself as invulnerable, ignore peril, will undertake great risks for the cause, extreme optimism about outcome.
2. Rationalization. The Group rationalizes collectively why the group is right, and discredit dissenters within or opponents on the outside.
Groupthink. Demonize the opposition. Angelify thyself.
3. Self-satisfaction. The Group sees self as moral, and promotes its members in ignoring or spinning the ethical consequences of decisions as to others.
4. Poisoning. The Group constructs and spreads negative stereotypes to describe opponents, competitors
5. Pressuring. The Group pressures members to conform
6. Self-censorship. The Group members internalize their concerns, do not express own criticisms of group and process
7. Spin. The Group leaders promote an illusion of unanimous agreement; the members do not question; silence is consent
8. Thought-Monitoring. The Group develops thought-guardians, patrollers of subgroups and individuals, that to seek out and counter or block adverse information, that might otherwise cause members to question group goals and methods.
C. How can an Individualist, who believes in that, Avoid Groupthink.
Take adequate time, cross-fertilize, critique, reassess. Go again to ://www.abacon.com/commstudies/groups/groupthink.html
Participate in a network of interacting policy groups. Going it alone is risky. One group reports back to another group for critique. Groupthink does not do that. Groupthink lays out the dogma. An individualist banding with other individualists needs impartial people in charge, leading discussions, investigations. Individualists need to vet, explore outside experts, and engage in a system of "devil's advocacy" - exploring difficult questions of alternatives. Then, before individualists commit to an action, have a "last chance" review to be sure there is not a better way.
If you are a leader or member of any group, and want to avoid Groupthink, and value ongoing individual access to information, assessment and decision-making, go to www.abacon.com/commstudies/groups/groupthink.html.
If, however, you want your group to "groupthink" as a verb, then you will learn from the "what to avoid" list, do those things instead, and promote the Big Eight Groupthink Behaviors up there
D. How Propaganda Methods Promote Groupthink:
How did the Nazis Launch and Implement their Groupthink. How could ideas like that succeed?
These topics are based on G. Stark's Moderne politische Propaganda, our summary of details on that site, identified as a 23-page propaganda pamphlet, contained in the German Propaganda Archive 1930. This is from Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI. ://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/stark.htm.
This reads like a contemporary political advertising course for advertisers, sales pushers.
1. Groupthink Approach: Tailor the message. Know your audience, the differences in mindsets, in cities from rural areas. What works in one setting, may not in the other.
Individualist Geezer, not necessarily outdone by Organized, Mechanized Groupthinkers
Rural areas (remember we are referring to materals from that abacom.com site) can absorb more fundamental, straight-talk approaches; if they stay to listen, they might consider. Cities may require subtlety. Persuade obliquely. Is that so? Both settings benefit from use of local media, with local persons conveying the message, promoting community calendars, events.
2. Groupthink effort. Sustain, focus the effort. There are similar focusing techniques used in selling products for commerce and profit. But those are seen as transient interests. Selling ideology requires dedication, the gradual but systematic "enlightenment" campaign, for a changed worldview, not just a purchase.
3. Groupthink Organization; Promote, Promote, Promote. Unify the effort, set up regions, each with central apparatus, each with identified persons in charge, each to set up smaller, local groups. That happened in our own town recently, with one group wanting a big budget allocation suddenly morphing their efforts into parades, news releases, T-shirts, kids parroting "we need to win this" - and the other town priorities ignored.
Promote individual contacts, at homes, visuals in the community. Local persons reaching local persons through spoken words, study groups, speakers' bureaus.
Hold educational and discussion meetings to assess issues, progress, target areas, build enthusiasm from meeting to meeting, setting themes for meetings from current scandals or sensational events that can be promoted in just a few words, in order to draw the indifferent.
4. Groupthink Administrators: stay directly involved. Attend gatherings of like-minded people, also to monitor their commitment. Engage in shows of support by promoting local cultural events and demonstrations. Be seen. Say you have a phone number, then - oops - message box full. Meanwhile, keep demonizing.
Groupthink wants, in effect, to put The Others on Trains and ship them out. Here, Jasenovac, Croatia.
5. Groupthink Programming. Manage dissenters, provide "witnesses" to the advantages of the message, include opportunities for audience responses with slogans
Materials. Written materials include pithy stickers, easily applied anywhere and often, and hard to remove, as constant reminders of the message. Or the equivalent of that kind of mass communication with little effort. Hard to believe all this stems from WWII era, but there we are. Forgetting history again.
Who cares where the Trains of others go? Here, Theresienstadt CZ.
Keep the momentum going. Slogans and points simple and memorable. Cartoons for ridicule work well. Vary the text type and size to hold attention; sideline individual thought.
Flyers? Those were found to be of limited use if just handed out - often thrown away. So leave them in places where people go, rather than distributing by street-handouts. Leave individual copies at random in public places for others to see. Offer trial subscriptions to periodicals. Distribute periodicals to places of business, and ask for them if not seen readily.
6. Groupthink promoters blend in. When distributing, wear ordinary people clothes, no uniforms, ordinary "regular person" address, no formal identification as to affiliation; and time the distribution with good opportunity for the recipient to actually review it soon after receiving.
Transparency? Never. Never let on who you are, what your real goals are.
7. Groupthinkers promote efficiency. Centralize producing materials and distributing - the effectiveness and economy of the "fan-out" technique - one effort from the top becomes widely distributed by those in the system. Like in our town, with the special interest budget overwhelming everybody else.
Groupthink kills some of the most creative, educated, among us. Here, Auschwitz ovens. Think also Crusades, expulsion of minorities.
.8. Groupthinkers create interest. Spark interest first, raise unanswered questions, then answer the question - (see Burma-Shave?). Example, fair use modification:
a. You lack Drive!
(says the sign: what?)
b. You soon will have Drive.
(the corner of your eye picks this up. What on earth?)
c. Tomorrow you will have Drive.
(now you respond - with that, they have you. This I gotta see)
d. Drive. The daily evening (online) newspaper.
(Yes! say you, now hooked. I want one!)
How does this work:
Groupthinkers take little steps. These are small things each. There is a cumulative effect of those little steps, sliding the message into every nook where people would look without thinking, until finally, the culminations began, the mass rallies, the Groupthink.
Hitler was a master at it. But be careful with that reference. We have to separate out the techniques from the man, because it is too easy to dismiss and discredit the man because of his extremes. The techniques are all around us, however.
Ultimate demonization. Montenegro memorial, firing squad, WWII.
Then ask: Are extremes even for us that far away if we ignore the techniques that persuade people to accept what is happening. Torture a problem? Nah. What we do is not torture. And they deserve it. You need it....
You look. Look at some materials. Are any of these little steps helping to persuade you, of things that just maybe you would reject if it were presented outright.
D. Graduates of Groupthink School. Have professional Groupthink spreaders, or very good amateurs, spread into groups we know?
Look at national and international prominent social and religious policy makers and promoters, talking heads, Swiftboaters, administration officials state and federal, and perhaps leading or otherwise in your own place of worship, or monopolizing the once-diverse coffee shop.
Where there is a group, there shall be vulnerability to groupthink also.
E. History, current events, American Culture. Does Groupthink help explain spreads of religions, political or social belief systems.
How about the success of propaganda methods, forms of government, whether a culture gravitates toward patriarchy vs. matriarchy, and which values each system may promote. Is Groupthink behind gender biases, any other -ism or -anti.
Is Groupthink involved at the FLDS ranch? See general encyclopedia-type overview at://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalist_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter_Day_Saints. Is it ticking behind any other group that sets itself apart, with mantras that others are inferior in thinking or attributes. For a look at Groupthink's role in evolving patriarchy so that it becomes inseparable from religion itself, see Martin Luther's Stove, Third Disobedience, Patriarchy, If It Was.
Source: From 1930.
This vastly reduced summation is from that Calvin College sits, a partial translation of the 1930 materials at ://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/stark.htm.
Memorial stones, BuchenwaldGo there for the full text. At that calvin.edu site, click on the home page for other Pre-1933 materials, 1933-45 materials including texts of speeches, and also East German Marxist propaganda 1949-1989.
Other sites: Propaganda leaflets at ://members.home.nl/ww2propaganda/wastue.htm; translation methods and purposes at ://www.londonmet.ac.uk/depts/hal/ug/applied-translation/la2001c-week-2-translation-method/home.cfm
The "innocent" look of the Propagandist
Now go a step further: Is it true that Groupthink only apply to groups we don't like, people whose techniques work well against us, or that we don't agree with, not to ourselves. It can't possibly explain why we believe what we believe.
Fie! Fie! See ://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19990802
FN 1. Films. Movies, Photography, Document Groupthink in action.
1. Triumph of the Will, Leni Reifenstahl's 1934 film of Hitler's rise, including footage of rallies at this stadium, at ://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock/provocations/leni/3.html; more at ://www.riefenstahl.org/director/1935/; and at ://history.sandiego.edu/gen/filmnotes/triumph.html. View the whole film.
2. Judgment at Nuremberg, 1961, starring Spencer Tracy, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift. The topic of Hitler's rise and fall and the war crimes was that riveting. Catch 6 minutes of the verdict here - ://www.rottentomatoes.com/movie-1011299/. At least the topic is being discussed on YouTube.
Groupthink and propaganda. Formula for success. History's troupthink and its results. Does individualism have a chance. Extremism in politics. It depends on Groupthink. History's Groupthink. Groupthink promotes persuasion. Think the end-result.