Groupthink

According to a CNN poll – yes, CNN – approximately 75 percent of Democrats do not want Joe Biden to run for another term as president. And when you combine the number of Democrats who reject Biden with the rest of the population that rejects Biden, you end up getting an overwhelming and sizeable number and segment of the American population.

In turn, with their proverbial ship sinking – along with the inability to overcome the stinginess which inhibits a winning strategy – the Democrats have now resorted to something which is common in authoritarian societies in order to bring the opposition down with them, namely, to charge one’s likely opponent with a crime. But in this case, one should ask, what are the legal grounds upon which to charge one’s opponent with a crime? Is it legal to charge one’s political opponent in America for giving a political speech? Organization is needed to give a presidential and political speech. So far, the entire investigation on the part of the ‘January 6 Select Committee’ has surrounded the organization behind the political speech given by an elected president of the country. And if a regular person is ensured the right to political speech by the ‘First Amendment’ of the constitution – let alone an elected president who is endowed with executive powers through the highest law of the land – then how is it possible to incriminate the organization of the speech which is protected by law?

Thus, the shakiness and weakness of the logic and rationale behind all the talk about charging a former president with a crime because he or she organized and gave a political speech that is protected by the law of the land – in addition to the slippery slope of setting such a dangerous precedent of charging people with a crime because they organized and gave a political speech – goes to show not only the endangered and precarious state of civil liberties in the United States, but also the flawed thought processes and irrationality of Washington. Regardless of how distasteful and turn-offish Trump is to certain elements of American society, the idea of charging a person with a crime for organizing and giving a political speech – regardless of the consequences and implications of the speech – sets a dangerous precedent for American government and society, especially when the organizing principle of America not just as a country, but as a concept and experiment in democracy, is liberty. Plus, bitterness on the part of those who dwell on the consequences of someone’s political speech does not justify charging someone with a crime. And as outlandish as someone’s idea of a stolen election may seem, people are entitled to their ideas and views, especially when they reflect the ideas and views of a large segment of the country’s population based on mainstream polling and statistics.

This idea or theme – namely, the flawed thinking and irrationality of Washington – became the subject of in-depth scientific inquiry and study on the part of the late Yale scholar Irving Janis. I shared one of Janis’s articles – which was published in The New York Times in 1973 – on the subject of “Groupthink” in Washington. Much of what stems from “Groupthink” in Washington is granular and singular, namely, the endangerment and harming of virtually anyone who does not conform to it. “Groupthink” was something we touched upon as a class when I was in grad school during a course on international relations theory. Also, I have experienced “Groupthink” and its harmful effects on a personal level and as a person who held uncommon and unconventional views within a local community which conformed to such thinking.

In turn, “Groupthink” does not allow anyone to hold accountable the people who killed a Christian journalist in Palestine, even though the “Groupthink” boasts about its “Judeo-Christian values” and their supposed superiority over Islamic or Chinese values, even though all people are virtually the same and are equal. The list goes on, and for the time being, one can only scratch the surface before the consequences and implications of long-standing irrationality and flawed logic fully unfold.

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