Monday, June 26, 2017

Lunatic Fringe

'Cause you gotta blame someone
For your own confusion
We're on guard this time
Against your final solution
--Red Rider

Events over the past couple of weeks reinforce a tenet of social identity theory. Members of a particular group will underweight actions deemed undesirable by in-group members and overweight similar actions taken by out-group members.

One way to rationalize this form of cognitive dissonance is to classify in-group members performing undesirable acts into a subgroup called 'the fringe.' By doing so, people can distance themselves from bad behavior that otherwise would be linked to them by their association with the group.

Self-esteem is thereby preserved without having to admit complicity with the wrongdoing or having to leave the group.

Voila! The mental stress is thereby wiped away.

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