Consensus, Collusion, and Conspiracy Theory and Individual Choice

Adam Tabriz

Groupthink vs. unadulterated Fact or mere slippery slope to the domination of the Masses
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Consensus is a commonly accepted viewpoint or decision of a group of people; the collective judgment or belief; the solidarity of thought. On the other hand, conspiracy is a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. Almost all of us can delineate between the two phenomena without any hesitation. However, not everyone is willing to see the commonality of the two and thus recognize the cause and effect of extravaganza.

Behind every Consensus, there is a Theory and Concept

Consensus theory is a social concept that wields a unique political and socio-economic scheme as a standard for a fair system. A task within which social change should occur within the social institutions provided. Consensus theory contrasts sharply with conflict theory, which holds that social change is merely accomplished through disagreement.

Consensus theory sees the absence of conflict as the balanced state of society. Thus, there is a sweeping coalition among all members of a particular community about norms, values, rules, and regulations.

For every Conspiracy, there is always a Consensus.

A conspiracy theory is a consensus on an event or circumstance that invokes a group of people, typically perceiving it as sinister yet influential. What makes conspiracy aside from fact is the level and quality of subjective factors associated with the theory supporting it and how much those 3rd party influences impact the constituents.

Conspiracy can take any form and shape; however, it often is politically motivated. The term carries a hostile understanding, indicating that the appeal to collusion is biased or insufficient evidence. In reality, a consensus reached on a conspiracy theory is barely a conspiracy; rather, it pertains to a hypothesized collaboration with particular traits, such as a disagreement with the mainstream consensus. And true that ideally, the latter is supposedly the group of experts such as scientists; nevertheless, assuming that all experts are devoid of the conspiracy consensus is controversial. Logically, it would be naive to believe in the ever collective where we live; experts don’t fall into the trap of the Groupthink phenomenon.

The Slippery Slope of Theory, Concept, and Fact

A slippery slope of theory, concept and even fact can lead to a path of critical thinking and political rhetoric. The party declares that it takes only a relatively small first step to kickstart a chain of relevant events culminating in some significant course of action, called conspiracy. That is irrespective of whether the initiation factor is false or fact. In reality, the core of this slippery slope is that a particular conclusion under the debate is inclined to result in unintentional impacts. The power of which banks on whether the small step is genuinely apt to lead to the effect. That is known as “warrant.” It is sometimes used as a form of fear-mongering in which the probable consequences of a given action are exaggerated to scare the audience. However, differentiation is necessary since, in most cases, it might be demonstrable that the small step as likely does lead to a consequence.
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

The Assumption is not a Concept.

Of course, not everything we assume is a concept or theory. All it takes is to hit the slippery slope of the conspiracy campaign irrespective of truth or falsehood on its support. We assume often suffices to put us on the wrong path. Such assumption is subject to many modifying factors, including how we see the source of information, idolization, rhetoric, and common sense.

With particular emphasis, common sense is not always as common as it seems. Common sense is an old phrase based on an individual’s life experience and reasoning. That makes common sense not as much of actually being common or even sensible in collective terms simply because it varies between individuals and may not be utilized even when many sources could agree on what it is in a particular circumstance. So, we assume and seem conspiracy to the mainstream does not necessarily falsify and intrigues the information, nor does it strengthen the validity of mainstream consensus.

We assume it is the kick-starter of conspiracy, and the consensus nurtures it.

Consensus, Collectiveness, the Tyranny of the Masses

Once an assumption becomes the accepted consensus of a group of people, it can go further, incorporating itself in the collective minds of the masses. The media, including those participating in the supposedly fact-checking mission, plays a catalyst to propagate their precedence. That would be vitalizing to the affected society only if individuals in the community reigned on such information (devoid of bias and interpretation). Otherwise, that consensus is nothing but a seedbed for mass tyranny.
By Author
“Hushed up in the mass, don’t grasp the tyranny of the masses.”

Groupthink: The Psychology behind false Consensus and even Conspiracy

The psychological extravaganza within the masses creates a desire for conformity, resulting in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. That is the rationale of the groupthink phenomenon. Hence, once a consensus based on the assumption is reached (fact or false), not surprisingly to avert stigma, any constituents of the faction by default conform to those norms creating what some people call “fact” and others “conspiracy.”

“The average citizen barely comprehends what Group polarization is, hence if constituencies plan to resist polarity, they must first embark admitting to the right reality of the groupthink.”
Photo by Compare Fibre on Unsplash

The reality of Consensus and Conspiracy

The conspiracy is the ugly cousin of the consensus. It is merely used to demonize the minds of one group and rationalize the intention of the rest. The distinction between a healthy consensus and the negative one rests on the purpose, no matter what we call it. By no means should dubbing a theory as a conspiracy invalidate it; not calling it a fact should place one hundred percent faith in its cause.

But how do we distinguish Conspiracy from Healthy Consensus?

Indeed, the central challenge to effectively conveying consensus (scientific in particular) is that people often dismiss information contrary to their prior beliefs. It is also true that one can persuade people. However, such persuasion takes much effort from taking the individual out of the mass influence and groupthink stigma. Nevertheless, the latter factors require transparency and upholding the unrestricted freedom of speech and eliminating interpretive media journalism, perpetually serving as the catalyst to mass consensus, the vehicle for conspiracy, and the empowerment of selected factions to that mass status.

“Mass media kowtows be it to the mainstream in their sociopolitical alley, the tyranny of the masses or the interest of a lone oppressor. That is exactly why they always contempt their disposition.”
“Even under the most rigorous checks and balances, it seems to me that the masses’ tyranny feeds on the sense of responsibility of its constituents, insight of populist norms, and the glorification of their common cause.”

#Conspiracy #Collusion #Consensus

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