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Why “Everybody” is Wrong

In the months leading up to George Bush’s 2003 invasion, “everybody” thought that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. In the months before the housing bubble burst, “everybody” insisted that the market was healthy – nothing to worry about. At one time, everybody knew that asbestos was a great material for use in home building, and that BPA was a harmless additive in plastics that hold our food and water.

What does everybody say is true, today? Could everybody be disastrously wrong, again?

It’s not everybody, of course. Everybody doesn’t believe the same thing, ever. There are always creative, alternative perspectives if we’re willing to hear them. Usually, though, we tend to assume that the most prominent voices speak for everyone.

But what if we don’t know that much, after all? What if we’re just playing a massive game of follow-the-leader? What if those leaders are taking us right off a cliff? Again.

Maybe it’s time we stopped hearing so much from everybody. Maybe it’s time we heard from you.

Related Posts:

I’m Great, How About You?

I Don’t Know (And Neither Should You)

  • Scott King

    Well stated, Micah! Yes, a HUGE error in thinking in the world (especially I find in the “democratic” world and in the “church” world) is this underlying, yet deadly, idea that the majority is always right. History, as you point out, has very frequently proven that is wrong.

    Recently with the Supreme Court rulings on marriage equality, I heard that same outcry : “well…the majority in (name that place!) still believe it is wrong so that means the Court made a huge error”….so wrong……..as way back as with issues of slavery and racial equality and civil rights, etc., etc., the “people” and some vocal leaders HAD to be overruled, though in a majority, for their causes and objections were, simply put, WRONG and perhaps even evil!

    In the church world I am noticing the same thing….people bowing to the larger group when they know that something that most people are just accepting just cannot be true. Instead of protesting and speaking out, they cower behind the comfort of “majority” rule. Lord forgives us! In my experience it has been some acquiescing to the presumed “unity” of the larger community as opposed to hearing the individual and his/her own story.

    • Great point, Scott. Sometimes the majority is right, too! But we definitely shouldn’t assume it.

  • Great post, Micah!

    I think the majority of people in your examples were swayed by conventional thinking and bought into what everyone else was saying. They didn’t stop to think for themselves. I believe they call this “group think.” We owe it to ourselves to think for ourselves.

    What comes to mind is things that people are sure are in the Bible, but they’re not. Unfortunately, few people bother to check, they just pass on the same misinformation.

    • Thanks, Peter. Groupthink is hard to avoid, but hopefully we’re choosing (and diversifying) our information sources well. The same voices that have led us astray in the past will continue to do so in the future.