On Wed, 19 Jul 2000, Robin Hanson wrote:

> It seems you posit that people who reason will be inflexible, and those
> who don't will be flexible and go with the crowd, which won't happen to
> be where reason would lead.  But under this theory, how do you explain that
> the people on the *other* side from you of the crowd are also inflexible?

The concept of anchoring may explain such inflexibility.
Some people get inculcated with some concept, and then cannot shake it
off.  An idea which is not grounded in fact but sounds plausible can
easily get anchored.  Examples include religious ideas, conspiracy
doctrines, anti-semitism and racism, and crackpot economics.

But I don't see why this would be more prevalent among those we think of
as extreme.  The difference seems to be that for meainstream ideas such as
the major religions, anchoring does not seem to be inflexible because we
are not shocked by the idea, while for non-mainstream views such as
neo-Nazis, their refusal to budge is more apparant and shocking.  Even if
they do budge a little, they would still be in an extreme position, and
the movement would not seem like much when viewed from the center.

Fred Foldvary  

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