Tags: groupthink | groupfeel | trump

Why Groupthink Does Not Exist

Why Groupthink Does Not Exist
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a special address to the nation, his first public comments after four weeks of nationwide "yellow vest" (gilet jaune) protests, on December 10, 2018, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris. (Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images)

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Tuesday, 11 December 2018 02:35 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Every night, Tucker Carlson, host of the eponymously named “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on the Fox News Channel, ends his broadcast by promising to be “the sworn enemy of lying, pomposity, smugness, and groupthink.”

One problem with Carlson’s pledge: groupthink does not exist.

Groups don’t think. In fact, it’s rare to find thinking individuals.

Take the focus group. It’s a market-research method, typically conducted face-to-face in a conference room with 10 or so potential or actual consumers or voters. Corporations, lawyers, and politicians hire focus-group facilitators to discern attitudes about products, people, ideas, and trends. A major drawback of the focus group is a behavior popularly known as groupthink: one strong personality will influence the opinions of the anodyne participants, resulting in a false group opinion. Such is the antithesis of thinking and a factor of political correctness.

Newsflash: groups don’t think; they feel. Groupthink is a misnomer, an oxymoron. Instead, collective, follower-based, emotion-driven behavior is groupfeel, which I explain in my conformity chapter (Chapter 15) of "Brand Is Destiny."

Nothing epitomizes groupfeel as dramatically as a street riot.

For the past week, a yellow-vested mob has been defacing and torching buildings, monuments, and cars in Paris, to protest President Emmanuel Macron’s gas tax — intended to “pay” for the ravages of global warming, a.k.a. climate change. The French already pay about $7 per gallon of gas, half of which is tax, and Macron’s eco-correctness duty was to add 25 cents to that heavy burden.

What hypocrisy.

These same mobsters, over the years, have clamored for bigger and pricier government, fewer working hours, and more free benefits — without thinking about the mathematics of such largesse. Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic-Socialist congresswoman-elect from the Bronx, the pampered French figured that the government should and would “just pay for it.”

Horrified to watch his beloved Paris burning, Macron rescinded the tax.

Two issues here: Nobody has proven, or can prove, that man causes the planet to warm; taxing people for this unproven hypothesis is a socialistic ruse.

Emotion — feeling — abounds.

In September, during the painful and divisive confirmation process of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, several women leveled never-proved sexual-assault allegations against him, in an attempt to derail his nomination. A conga line of Democrats and media pundits declared Kavanaugh guilty and all accusers innocent, without facts or due process. Mobs violently protested on college campuses, in the streets, and even at the front doors of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. Despite the damage to Kavanaugh, his family, and his reputation, there still is no evidence of his guilt, and a couple of his accusers admitted to fabricating the charges.

When the caravan of Honduran migrants began their 2000-mile journey to the Mexican-American border in October, President Trump immediately warned that he wouldn’t let them into the United States. Democrats, without data, described the 6,000 trekkers as helpless women and children (most are young men, many from gangs). Barack Obama, also without data, mocked Trump, calling his warning “a political stunt.” When they finally arrived in Tijuana with diseases and violence, the mayor, a Trump fan, shocked the elites by railing against the invaders and telling them to leave. Scores, but not all, have left.

Since Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy, deranged mobs, inside and outside the federal government, have relentlessly worked to destroy him, his family, and his presidency. Nonstop allegations of collusion with Russia have filled the mainstream news for 18 months. But, Robert Mueller and his team of zealous lawyers have proven nothing, even after draining the treasury of an estimated $30 million.

Now, because his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is possibly going to prison for paying off two of Trump’s alleged former lovers, a parade of empty talking heads on CNN and MSNBC predict that President Trump also will end up behind bars. Yet, according to Alan Dershowitz — former Harvard law professor, notable constitutional expert, and Hillary voter — Trump’s payoffs were totally legal.

Where’s all the thinking? It’s practically nonexistent. Perhaps Tucker Carlson will modify his nightly pledge to reflect this.

Recognize the power and reality of groupfeel. Whether running a business or a home, verify that the opinion that underlies your next critical action is based on fact, not feeling. Otherwise, you can err in a way that hurts someone, your organization, and maybe yourself.

Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs, speaker, media commentator, and author of "Brand Is Destiny: The Ultimate Bottom Line" and "Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding." Find him at MarcRudov.com. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Recognize the power and reality of groupfeel.
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Tuesday, 11 December 2018 02:35 PM
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