According to a new report from The Clarion Project, radical minority populations are capable of doing a lot of damage because the majority of the population is too tolerant of their off-the-wall activity.
Clarion’s new investigation seeks answers to why small groups are able to wield so much power over the majority of people in a society. They reference the work of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a writer, statistician and risk analyst. In Taleb’s book, “Skin in the Game,” one chapter delves into the subject of a small minority acting as a dictatorship.
According to Taleb, the tolerant majority succumbs to the will of the intolerant minority to keep the peace, because the minority group is typically unwilling to listen to reason or alter their viewpoint.
[Taleb] uses an example of a family whose daughter decides to only eat non-GMO food. For simplicity, the entire family switches to this diet.
When they attend a barbeque in the neighborhood, the hosts provide non-GMO food for everyone, for the same reason, it’s easier to go along with it.
This impacts the local grocery store, which will now alter its stock to fit increased demand for non-GMO food.
Thus, even though only one person actually made the shift to eat non-GMO, that decision impacted the whole neighborhood.
Such patterns follow for moral principles as well.
Because of the impact a committed follower of a particular rule can have, Taleb argues, “once a moral rule is established, it would suffice to have a small intransigent minority of geographically distributed followers to dictate the norm in society.”
Taleb says radical or extreme actors in Islam are “easily able to capitalize on the tolerance of those around them,” dominating the conversation, because they won’t listen to other points of view. He says there are questions as to whether those in the “enlightened West” might allow their customs and freedoms to be altered by “intrusive policies” which might be introduced.
“We can answer these points using the minority rule.” Taleb writes. “Yes, an intolerant minority can control and destroy democracy. Actually, as we saw, it will eventually destroy our world. So, we need to be more than intolerant with some intolerant minorities. It is not permissible to use ‘American values’ or ‘Western principles’ in treating intolerant Salafism (which denies other peoples’ right to have their own religion). The West is currently in the process of committing suicide.”
The Clarion Project suggests that with that knowledge, the public may put the problem into perspective, as it is understood that not all Muslims are extremists and may be influenced by the minority, which is true in other countries and cultures. Yet the knowledge also suggests a solution: If even a minority of those opposed to the extremism stands up and fights, becoming intolerant themselves, they may wield strong influence, as well.
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