In our world today, there is a great danger of groupthink. That is a name given to the way in which a group begins to think and reinforce that thinking due to pressures put on the group. One of the classic examples is the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Even though there was evidence that the Japanese might attack the US, military officials discounted that evidence believing that Japan would recognize the futility of war with the US.
Recently Victor Davis Hanson wrote about the dangers of “elite groupthink.” This has become a real problem especially for the liberal elite who only read each other’s editorials and live in a world that reinforces liberal and progressive ideas.
What stimulated his commentary was a recent Washington Post criticism of MSNBC host Rachel Maddow for claiming that the discredited Steele dossier was largely verifiable. He also cited other examples like the House Intelligence Committee memos and the Mueller report.
But his last example was the best because it focused on all the economic predictions made after Donald Trump was elected president. It was a great warning to all of us to take such predictions with a large measure of salt.
Former Princeton professor and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman predicted that Trump would crash the stock market and that those stocks would never recover. Former Treasurer Secretary Larry Summers said Trump would bring on a recession within a year and a half. And the former head of the National Economic Council, Steven Rattner, predicted we would have a stock market crash of “historical proportions.”
I think you can see how accurate these experts were about the economic consequences of electing Donald Trump. It would be fair to say that just the opposite happened. And that illustrates the danger of “elite groupthink.” They were all saying the same thing and reinforcing the others’ dire predictions. This illustrates the danger of groupthink.