The dimly-lit streets of our discourse

Edwin H. Friedman, from his book A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix:

But the most important ramification of the herding phenomenon for leadership is its counter-evolutionary effect. In order to be “inclusive”, the herding family will wind up adopting an appeasement strategy toward its most troublesome members while sabotaging those with the most strength to stand up to the troublemakers. The chronically anxious, herding family will be far more willing to risk losing its leadership than to lose those who disturb their togetherness with their immature responses. Always striving for consensus, it will react against any threat to its togetherness by those who stand on principle rather than on good feelings

The effects show up in language usage, in the administration of justice, in education and welfare policy, in divorce settlements, in the emphasis those who specialise in conflict resolution put on compromise, in the conduct of public meetings, and even in the world of sports. And in some institutions the togetherness forces put such a premium on inclusivity that those who do not agree with making it the overriding principle of the organisation are isolated or rejected, thus creating Orwellian “Animal Farms” in which diversity is eliminated in the name of diversity.

It has been my impression that at any gathering, whether it be public or private, those who are quickest to inject words like sensitivity, empathy, trust, confidentiality, and togetherness into their arguments have perverted these humanitarian words into power tools to get others to adapt to them.

Note well that Friedman died in 1996. The tolerance police have been patrolling the dimly-lit streets of our discourse for much longer than I realised.