I was pondering the application of what has been termed “groupthink” to various disastrous events in history—the Bay of Pigs, the Iraq War, the Titanic, the Edsel—and by extrapolating I think I see one real danger for the Republican Party … one which is actually easy to rectify. I’m speaking of Grover Norquist’s Pledge which all Republicans have taken insisting that, under no circumstances, will they raise taxes on the Federal and even on the State level.
This pledge is a fine example of groupthink and it is leading to a disaster.
First, anyone taking a pledge to an individual who is totally outside of the government is clearly accepting a treasonous position. Our elected government is pledged to the support of the people and the Constitution of the United States. If, as it certainly appears, a government representative takes a pledge that overrules his governmental responsibilities, that representative is failing to uphold the Constitution and is by definition showing loyalty to someone outside of the government and therefore is committing what is defined as a disloyal, treasonous act.
When does “We the people” mean Grover Norquist?
But putting treason aside, the Norquist pledge has evolved into a rite of passage every Republican must accept. To refuse and especially to openly criticize the pledge would be political suicide for any Republican. The importance of taking the pledge is an excellent example of groupthink. Republicans have decided that raising taxes is the worse thing they can do … worse even that letting the United States slide into bankruptcy and third-world status.
What will it take to break the disastrous groupthink and save the future of this country?
David McRaney (You’re Not So Smart) suggests that there has to be an asshole in any group who will question the benefit or veracity of any ideas lest the entire group decline to the evil of groupthink.
Research shows that groups of friends who allow members to disagree and still be friends are more likely to come to better decisions.
This doesn’t sound like today’s Republican Party, does it? Maybe it’s because they are all assholes. Then again, it seems that working together, non-idealogical analysis of the problems, and a willingness to compromise might begin to tear down the barriers to progress. Are the conservatives and Republicans up to this radical concept of government that works? I suspect a lot of folks in the government will be out on their keester before they realize how destructive they have been.