Humans are pack animals

The observation that most humans are “pack animals” and conformists leads me to conclude that in addition to having the obvious detrimental effects of forcing conformity to harmful and even dangerous beliefs there are ways this human characteristic can be exploited to the advantage of freedom loving people. In essence we need to align the pack norms with our principles rather than let the anti-freedom movement align them for us.

I haven’t read it, but I suspect Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascoes would be very insightful. In the absence of my doing the proper research here are my speculations on the gun issue and how we might take advantage of this human characteristic:

  • The more gun owners “come out of the closet” the more difficult it is for the anti-gun bigots to herd the pack in the desired direction.
  • The more times you take a new shooter to the range the less people there will be who accept the implied characterization by the bigots of all gun owners as actual or imminent criminals.
  • Every time you speak up when someone else is denigrating gun ownership you make it more difficult for others to agree with the anti-gun position.
  • Every time a piece of pro-gun legislation is introduced and/or passed it makes it harder for the anti-gun forces to introduce their legislation even if it is mostly unrelated to the pro-gun law. Hence getting a state preemption law passed (YEAH Mike!) helps prevent “assault weapon” legislation from getting a toehold. Another example would be a law requiring the ownership of firearms in one city throws into question a proposal in another state or city to limit gun ownership.
  • Every court ruling that says gun ownership, no matter how narrowly defined and incremental from the existing group think, is a right protected by the constitution it makes it harder for the bigots to get critical mass for restricting some other aspect of gun ownership.

We need to create a “pack” where gun ownership and freedom is the predominant viewpoint. When the forces of anti-gun bigotry and socialism are viewed with justified contempt the forces of freedom can then advance and turn back the terrible cloud hanging over our country and the world.

When Prophecy Fails also gives us insight and ideas for breaking people out of the pack

Are there any pro-freedom psychologists and sociologists out there that can contribute more on this topic?


3 thoughts on “Humans are pack animals

  1. Lordy, Lordy, dragging me back to my class on Small Group Communication in ’76!

    Wikipedia seems to have a decent article on it (from an ADD quick scan).

    The operative principle is effectively a form of Political Correctness. Members of a group value their membership in that group more highly than they do truth. This expands to how they judge (and subsequently discard) “new data” which contradicts their view of the group beliefs.

    This jogged my thinking about Glowball Warming. Groupthing would explain much of that whole debacle.

    In the same way the ongoing myths about violence perpetrated with guns (NOT gun violence) and refusal to accept any contrary data points pretty clearly to GroupThink.

  2. Dr, Glenn Myer fronm the Insights Training list is a psychologist, I believe. If you send him a link to your blog he might respond.

  3. Joe,
    Took a new shooter to the range with a bachelor party over a year ago. He was a liberal from New Orleans. Initially he was on the sidelines as we shot my ‘arsenal’ (his words for my 8 guns). The groom to be eventually grabbed him and had him fire the .22LR. Next was the .38 special. We thought he was going to need plastic surgery to remove the smile from his face after the second magazine through the AR-15. Not only did his opinion change but I was informed last month that he purchased his first pistol (.22LR) and joined a shooting club in New Orleans.

    He relayed to me that he never would have put the words ‘fun’ and ‘gun’ together prior to the range trip and thanked me. If each of us can inform/change the opinion of just one anti then the world would be a better place.


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