Group Mindsets in America: Repeating the Same Mistakes Uncritically

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improve our institutions and therefore our lives" (Group Minds, p. 1). This thesis is based on both sociological and psychological theories, established empirically, dealing with group mentalities and how choices and decisions are made by groups rather than by individuals.


Despite this tremendous emphasis placed on independence of thought, Lessing suggests that we act otherwise. She suggests that we become, in many ways, paralyzed by peer pressures and by group affiliations, so that choices and actions more reflect group mindsets than individual beliefs and values.
This essay will argue that Lessing's thesis is persuasive and that perceived group imperatives do, in fact, overwhelm individual dissent and reason. The implications are startling because this type of group mentality results in the repetition of mistakes made in the past. These mistakes, for purposes of this essay, will be classified in terms of repeated wars, repeated infringements of civil liberties, and repeated economic disasters.
The reality of war, backed up by the research studies cited by Lessing, is an illuminating example. The American people are told that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. The evidence is sparse. Many people disbelieve the assertions, and many more people see no compelling rationale for war in any event. This is not unlike the "length of wood" example presented by Lessing. A majority, or a persuasive dominant group, asserts that "black is white" and the minority ultimately concedes. ...
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