📓 The Four Quadrants of Conformism.md (text) by @protopian
The Four Quadrants of Conformism
- Author: [[Paul Graham]]
- Full Title: The Four Quadrants of Conformism
- Category: #articles
- URL: http://paulgraham.com/conformism.html
- Princeton professor Robert George recently wrote: I sometimes ask students what their position on slavery would have been had they been white and living in the South before abolition. Guess what? They all would have been abolitionists! They all would have bravely spoken out against slavery, and worked tirelessly against it. He's too polite to say so, but of course they wouldn't. And indeed, our default assumption should not merely be that his students would, on average, have behaved the same way people did at the time, but that the ones who are aggressively conventional-minded today would have been aggressively conventional-minded then too. In other words, that they'd not only not have fought against slavery, but that they'd have been among its staunchest defenders.
- seems to me that aggressively conventional-minded people are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the trouble in the world, and that a lot of the customs we've evolved since the Enlightenment have been designed to protect the rest of us from them.
Why do the independent-minded need to be protected, though? Because they have all the new ideas. To be a successful scientist, for example, it's not enough just to be right. You have to be right when everyone else is wrong. Conventional-minded people can't do that.
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