Perspectives: Groupthink, how to create crimes of opinion

OPINION – Say it isn’t so. The Canyons School District in northern Utah is back in the news thanks to another politically correct flap over Chick-fil-A donating food to a Draper elementary school, opponents decrying the school’s acceptance of the donated lunches as a perceived alignment with the  Chick-fil-A CEO’s value statements.

The Canyons is the same district that was in the spotlight last year when a student at Alta High School jokingly donned a white pillowcase with eyeholes during a school pep assembly.

Was it a silly thing to do? Absolutely.

Was it an act that could be interpreted as making light of what a Klansman might wear? Yes.

Was it an act of overt racism aimed directly at the school’s minorities? Hardly.

But in the age of political correctness, never underestimate the willingness of opportunists to take offense to dizzying new heights.

The anti-racism witch-hunt that followed would see both the Principal and Assistant Principal of Alta High placed on leave and both eventually leaving the school. Meanwhile, the Canyons School District’s office of civil rights sought to find and punish the student who had worn the pillowcase.

With typical politically correct overreaction, district officials somberly affirmed that there is absolutely no room for snickering at youthful foolishness that fails to conform to acceptable attitudes.

It should have stopped there, but when enough professional offense-seekers got wind of the incident, it quickly reached critical mass.

The U.S. Department of Justice got involved and Sandy police cited three students for misdemeanor unlawful acts for the incident.  Two of the students were also cited for defiantly texting an image of a burning cross with the words “Alta pride.” What should have been a molehill of poor taste quickly swelled into a mountain of alleged bigotry.

The district soon announced it would institute plans to combat racism. After all, students behaving insensitively could only be seen as proof of deep-seated, institutional racism running rampant through the high school. But the worst intervention was still to come.

The infamous Southern Poverty Law Center came to Salt Lake City to “train” select parents, students and faculty in forming acceptably sensitive attitudes.

To understand what is happening in this sensitivity training, one must first recognize the consensus building and group manipulation techniques that are being employed.  Professional alarmists like the SPLC rely on tolerance workshops to conduct a not-so-subtle form of psychological warfare.

The goal is to create a culturally Marxist mindset through values clarification. Old school Marxists referred to it as “collective spirit” but the group manipulation tactics are the same ones that have been utilized for centuries by those seeking to dominate others.

It’s a psychologically proven fact that groups are easier to control than individuals. With this in mind, consensus-building exercises like the ones taught by the SPLC are an effective tool to indoctrinate groups of people with politically correct dogma using the power of peer pressure. It’s highly effective on those who don’t recognize that they are being manipulated.

A recent article in the New American magazine lauded author Beverly Eakman whose book “How to Counter Group Manipulation Tactics: The Techniques of Unethical Consensus-Building Unmasked” should be required reading for anyone who wishes to retain their individuality. The quest for official conformity takes many different forms, but the ultimate goal is still thought control. Control the thinking and everything else follows.

Eakman cautions that such tactics may be encountered in “the workplace, a community forum, airport security, or the PTA” where consensus is valued above individual conscience and over unique ideas. It’s the same old Marxist tactics, just reinvented and marketed as “sensitivity.”

She writes: “A consensus is essentially a collective opinion that isn’t necessarily reflective of anybody’s private view. Manipulators get away with this because the collective good (or “team”) trumps the individual — a socialist concept. Provocateurs, or agitators, often call themselves ’facilitators’ because that sounds neutral. But what these pros really do is to work the group over to ensure a predetermined outcome which they call a ’consensus.”

Resisting such tactics will invite being ridiculed, pressured and ostracized by the facilitator and members of the group when you refuse to engage in their politically correct consensus. Sadly, this has always been part of the price paid by individuals who refuse to surrender their conscience to collective thought.

It helps to remember that the facilitator’s goal is to assimilate you into the Borg of politically correct thought. So long as you refuse to give in to the groupthink, you will prevail.

The freedom to think for oneself is of inestimable value.  Sacrificing that freedom for the sake of psychologically manipulative conformity is simply unacceptable.

In a free society, holding unpopular opinions should not be a crime. Nor should clumsy, insensitive, juvenile humor be criminalized just because a few overly sensitive officials blew someone’s poor manners out of proportion.

If there was ever a time our society needed individuals who are unafraid of thinking independently, it’s now.

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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4 Comments

  • Murat September 13, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Fighting groupthink: a worthy battle, for sure, but undoubtedly a losing proposition. The Borg has become far too powerful a force to be even remotely mitigated by a few articles like this one containing the deathbed pleas of independent thinkers, a species on the verge of extinction.

  • nathan September 13, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    I have not been assimilated…..resistance is NOT futile.;-)

  • damie September 14, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Or maybe parents don’t want kids fed high calorie deep fried junk food which is saturated with MSG without specific permission- by anyone, The war-drum beat for a restaurant that doesn’t have an outlet within 200 miles of here congtinues on this “news” site continues.

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