Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Netither Liberty nor Safety - Ideology and Groups

Returning to Robert Higgs' book, Neither Liberty nor Safety, more on ideology. Here (p.68), he writes: 
People acquire and sustain their personal identifies within groups by their interaction with other members: first in families, then in various primary and secondary reference groups. 
He describes the group(s) that one selects or is socially-connected as those that align with a person's interests, values and morals--the kind of person he thinks himself to be.  Certainly race and religion are important too; that is, their physical appearance, ethnicity, are also factors.  Dr. Higgs continues, 
People crave the comfort of association with those they recognize as their "own kind".  In the absence of community membership and involvement in a group's common purpose, people tend to feel alienated and depressed.
Needless to say that groups are important. When/as these groups diminish or disappear, what is left for those that remain but a sense of abandonment and alienation.  

In this time in our culture, alienation or atomization runs rampant; the fragmentation of a population into many small, seemingly insignificant parts, persons alone.   In desperation for relevance or significance (finally, power), such persons will join large groups--often politically-based,l according to Robert--using this association or platform for power.  

As (and how) these political groups grow is in part by using pressure and guilt to woo or compel others....  Sure, those that join have some satisfaction but at what risk; that is, to what degree must (or do) the persons compromise their individual or personal beliefs for the sometimes called or suggested as "the greater good".  He concludes, 
To behave differently, a person would have to act different; and being different would require the internalization of a different ideology. 
Some more questions: 

  • Why do we choose the groups we do?  
  • Why do we choose a group and then, for some significant reason, leave the group--going so far as to criticize or condemn that group?  
  • Why do we lead and/or follow, sometimes compromising our internal ideology, ethics and beliefs? 
Maybe in part because conformity is more important than compromise. 

 Social Groups: Crash Course Sociology #16

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