I’m not referring to actual wagons hauling actual band members. I’m talking about groups of people who have decided to think the same way without due consideration of all the information. Humans have a natural tendency to conform (fashions, fads, etc.) The few real non-conformists get the label “eccentric,” and summarily dismissed. That label applied to my father who always thought for himself. He was a curmudgeon with few friends, but he called it as he saw it (even if the way he saw it was screwed up). His main fault was making up his mind so solidly that it took a charge of dynamite to loosen him up to alternative thinking.

I especially notice the bandwagon effect expressed in blogs. For example, there are blogs where independent thinkers can express their independent thinking to other independent thinkers (bandwagons) and, in the process, lose their independence. Members of Political parties often confine themselves to party lines (bandwagons) instead of opening themselves up to other points of view. Members of certain religious groups are very often willing victims of “groupthink” (bandwagons) with their own special jargon. Atheists tend to stick together and parrot the current atheistic cant (bandwagons).

Bandwagons, I am thinking, come into being because people want to believe certain things and behave in particular ways rather than basing their personal philosophies and resulting actions on something substantial. Or, in the absence of substance, reserving their conclusions until they find it (it is, after all, okay not to have an opinion on everything).

While reading in the blogosphere, I notice that people who believe a certain way tend to read the blogs of others who believe the same way and merely applaud, cheer and conform to the thinking of the group. For them, “hopping on the bandwagon” becomes a convenient way to avoid thinking for themselves. Hats off to those brave and hardy souls who dare to disagree, challenge and debate those with whom they differ. We need to jump off our bandwagons and consider what others are saying. We might agree, disagree, challenge, debate, correct, suggest, applaud or, most important of all…learn.

My blogs:
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Filed under Apologetics, Atheism/Theism, Discernment, Discussion, Faith, Ignorance, independence, Intelligence, Mind, Persuasion, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Skepticism, Theism, Thinking

4 responses to “Bandwagons

  1. Johnny Bond

    SO if I agree with you, will I be riding your bandwagon? Or…is the bandwagon the new “slippery slope” argument?
    Dwight, I love your posts, they are frequently challenging and I love your heart which I have witnessed firsthand. I do wonder though about the first paragraph as you hale, and critique your father’s independence at the same time.
    You are correct, there are consequences to fully speaking your mind. The independent grows weary of having the floor slanted against them, with fingers pointed, or heads nodded in their general direction. It would seem somewhat easier at times to grasp at a small part of another’s stance that you can agree with and seemingly jump on their bandwagon. Perhaps people are hopping from one to another because there are pieces of each group that they agree with but not the whole?
    Sorry, I seem to be rambling a bit and perhaps straying in the path of oncoming traffic; however, I want to thank you for your post today as it spurs my mind to thinking where I default and stand with the crowd rather than standing with the truth.

    johnny b.

  2. Terry

    Hey Dwight. Your article on “bandwagons” started me thinking of my early days in “The Church” and how we used to ride “The church’s” bandwagon a whole lot. And how anyone that didn’t ride our bandwagon was, in fact, riding their own bandwagon. Then I started riding another band wagon and all those who disagreed with what I was saying jumped onto their bandwagon and told me to get off my bandwagon and it didn’t matter what bandwagon I was on there was always someone on their bandwagon telling me to get off my bandwagon and to climb aboard their bandwagon. So my question is:
    “When is an opinion not an opinion and when does an opinion become a bandwagon”.

  3. dwhitsett

    Johnny, great to hear from you. My father was a complicated man with the usual human mixture of strengths and weaknesses. He was an independent thinker who encouraged the same in his sons. At the same time, he was a difficult man to have as a father for various reasons. There were things about him that I applaud and other things that I deplore. Sorry, that’s just the way it is (was).
    When we agree with a certain group that doesn’t necessarily mean that we have jumped on their bandwagon. I like some things the Democratic Party stands for but the same goes for the Republicans and others. I am, however, not on their bandwagon. If I was, I would unquestioningly cheer their party lines. Bandwagons are made up of people who, on some level, fail to think for themselves.

  4. dwhitsett

    Hi Terry. An opinion is not an opinion when we can’t give good reasons for having it. An opinion is never a bandwagon since bandwagons are made up of people, not opinions. Re-read the article…I suggest that we all get off of bandwagons and think for ourselves.

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