09 February 2010

Altering Thoughts

The suggestion the US Federal government might play a role breaking the closed circle of conspiracy groups and introducing new thoughts has triggered discussion at BoingBoing.

Does society (and therefore, government as its elected governing body) have a responsibility to introduce "facts" (which can still be disputed, but on balance are generally accepted in that society) into a group of people who frame their lives around an alternative view of reality?

It's a tough question. I tend to like the old quotation, "...just don't frighten the horses."

There are a lot of people out there consciously choosing to act against society. I'd focus on them before committing resources to conspiracy groups who aren't committed or approaching the aim of attacking society.

I'm no expert on group dynamics, but as an opposing view to the idea of the State as Superman-to-the-rescue, there is research (I think I read it in The Economist) that groups will actually police themselves, given the freedom to do so. Obviously some groups are sick and don't/can't do this, and other groups police themselves according to rules the wider society sees as destructive (like bikie gangs), but it remains an important point. Citizens need space and responsibility to grow into and behave as adults.

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