Political ‘groupthink’ is Australia’s ruin

by PAUL COLLITS – ONE of the great scourges of the age is groupthink. 

Understanding its origins, manifestations and outcomes is key to understanding the imponderable policies that we have thrust upon us today without majority support. 

The three great lies of the twenty-first century rely on absorbed ideology, endlessly repeated and easily taken on board by those who fail to understand they’ve been conned.

Everywhere you look, we are confronted by ideological zealots and useful idiots proclaiming received “truths” that somehow come to be adopted as public policy, and which are never seriously challenged.

The three great lies of the twenty-first century – that we face a climate “emergency”, that a middling virus should cause us to shut down everything, and that self-proclaimed victim groups get to run the world – rely on absorbed ideology, endlessly repeated and easily taken on board by large groups who seem not to notice that they have been conned.


The man who coined the term “groupthink” was not, as it might be supposed, George Orwell, but rather Irwin Janis, in 1971.

Clearly, Janis drew heavily upon Orwell’s classic, 1984. His original article appeared in the journal Psychology Today, his book, Victims of Groupthink, a year later.

Janis’s work has been raised in recent times, with obvious good reason.

One was in a book published posthumously in 2020 by the late, great Booker, aka Christopher Booker, a British commentator and warrior with his colleague Richard North in the climate wars (Groupthink: A Study in Self delusion).

More recently, Robert Malone (co-inventor of mRNA vaccine technology and now a trenchant critic of COVID policies) has written on groupthink at The Brownstone Institute.

Drawing on Janis, Malone notes:-

  • The group develops an illusion of invulnerability that causes them to be excessively optimistic about the potential outcomes of their actions.
  • Group members believe in the inherent accuracy of the group’s beliefs or the inherent goodness of the group itself. Such an example can be seen when people make decisions based on patriotism. The group tends to develop negative or stereotyped views of people not in the group.
  • The group exerts pressure on people who disagree with the group’s decisions.
  • The group creates the illusion that everyone agrees with the group by censoring dissenting beliefs. Some members of the group take it upon themselves to become “mind-guards” and correct dissenting beliefs.

Malone seeks an explanation for the COVID policy fiasco, and with Janis’ understanding of groupthink, it is easy to see the connection between virus policies and groupthink.

What is groupthink?  As one definition has it: “… mode of thinking in which individual members of small cohesive groups tend to accept a viewpoint or conclusion that represents a perceived group consensus, whether or not the group members believe it to be valid, correct, or optimal.”

Janis based his work on a series of case studies related to US foreign policy decisions. Others have seen far wider application.

Not all victims of groupthink are mad. But their decisions and behaviour as a group might suggest otherwise.

Hence groupthink is central to the “madness of crowds” literature. For example, Friedrich Nietzsche suggested that: “Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups.”

Douglas Murray’s much lauded book, The Madness of Crowds, owes its core message to Orwell as well as to Charles McKay’s 1840s book of the same title.


The famous McKay quote goes like this: “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

There is also the compelling “mass formation” work undertaken by the Belgian academic, Mattias Desmet, specifically in the context of COVID.

Desmet has advanced a persuasive argument as to how the masses can be duped into following harmful, indeed, catastrophic, orders from on high.

Suddenly, we realise that the 1930s Germans were not alone in succumbing to crazy, evil ideology. It is another piece of the explanatory jigsaw.

Laura Dodsworth (A State of Fear) has added the critical role of nudging and fear-creation in the achievement of popular compliance with COVID totalitarianism.

The role of scaring the hell out of under-informed citizens has been critical in sustaining the COVID state of fear.

The relationship of high-level groupthink to the “rational ignorance” of the low information voter has been explored by the late American economist, Anthony Downs.

Downs suggested that it is not in the interest of the average voter to inform himself of the full story in relation to complex policy decisions. True enough.

This suggests a glorious and convenient partnership between elites and outsiders that delivers the ideological outcomes favoured by elites.

Aided by the elites’ rigging of information flows and the censorship of contrary narratives. Hence the narratives of the political class persist on the back of under-informed voters.

So, how does the groupthink story fit into the West’s catastrophe?

In particular, if we accept that the COVID State consists of multiple actors playing different roles – the international actors conspiring to subjugate the deplorables, the national leaders that I would call useful, panicking idiots, the managerial class committed to rule by them and screw everyone else, the compliant media, mostly bought up and bought out by Big Pharma and/or Gates, the academics on the take and totally unmoored from their scholarly roots, and, finally, the low-information voters who go along to get along – then which of these myriad actors can be said to be victims of groupthink?

Does groupthink explain all of it, or just some of it?

Well, Janis’ original research was all about political decision-making. So, it is likely that groupthink on COVID was mostly likely to explain the actions of politicians. Totally.


Once the Chinese “solution” to the virus they themselves invented and exported was accepted by Italy, then all bets were off.

Half a century of pandemic science went down the toilet. Boris Johnson led the race to the cliff.

Idiotically, the foolish politician ScoMo leapt onto Team Covid. And all the rest followed.

Now, some of the decision-makers were also part of the international conspirator class. With Macron, Trudeau and Ardern, there was no groupthink. It was pure ideology. Quite deliberate. Direct line to Davos.

But mostly, the decision-makers were groupthinkers and useful idiots.

There have been a number of right-of-centre explanations of the COVID catastrophe.

There are the conspiracy theorists who suggest that “they” planned it.

There are the rational sceptics (think Toby Young) who decry conspiracy theories and prefer the “stuff-up” theory. It was all a mistake, an unfortunate confluence of unrelated factors and political incompetence and naivete.

Then there are the “convergent opportunism” folks, who suggest that disparate actors have swooped in on COVID opportunities to advance their own global agendas. They have much evidence to commend their thinking.

Finally, there are the political theorists. Like me. Who dig into the theory and practice of political decision-making in an attempt to explain policy outcomes.

And here we come back to Janis. Groupthink doesn’t really explain the mass submission by the public to COVID fascism.

A diverse population cannot be thought to be a tight “ingroup”. More lemmings with low information and self-interest driven to “go along”. Pathetic, but that is life.

Nor does groupthink explain the ideology of the globalists. They mostly, actually believe it. With massive self-interest built in.

So, we conclude, the groupthink theory of COVID decision-making is spot on, but only in relation to the politicians. Well, they did the deed.


With upstream ideological connivance from their puppeteers, and downstream acceptance by the clueless, distracted plebs.

With Irving Janis, we progress in our understanding of a world gone mad.

The question remains, will Charles McKay’s hope that we will recover our sanity, individual by individual, come to pass? We can only hope so.

The green shoots are there. But making common sense and rationally based inroads into the political class – a currently lethal combination of useful idiots and determined ideologues – will take some doing.PC

Paul Collits

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH:  Federal Environment Minister Chris Bowen. (courtesy The Guardian)

3 thoughts on “Political ‘groupthink’ is Australia’s ruin

  1. This phenomenon of the present times is, one must say, not solely a modern phenomenon as throughout the history of man there have been many such episodes centring around different contemporary events. We apparently do not learn from them or rather the ‘group’ does not realise that it has become such as it permeates all society, but most often its upper echelons. Education has little deterrent force as many who fall for its allure are intelligent enough folk who, as individuals, should know better.
    And yet here we are. Catastrophic climate alarmism which includes the Barrier Reef’s supposed demise, rising sea levels, no polar bears, diminishing ice – all temporary phenomena with perfectly natural explanations and yet some of us take up banners and zealotry and will truck no dissent.
    Madness it is but tell that to the PM and his cronies, big business, the media, the chattering classes and then take cover.

  2. By the way, the offshore wind turbines being planned for coastal waters locations off Victoria and New South Wales will be the tallest ever erected in Australia, the rotor blades will reach higher than the height of Sydney Harbour Bridge and ruin the coastal environment and views from shore.

    Wildlife will be at risk from the rotor blades and other hazards created by the foundations, and the danger of oil leaks as the amount of oil to lubricate the rotor drive shafts, bearings and seals amounts to several heavy transport truck capacities in each wind turbine.

    The cost rarely mentioned includes replacement every twenty years on average, removal, replacement and disposal. As compared to a coal fired power station of the latest ultra super critical technology added to HELE (High Energy Low Emissions) technology that are usually given a fifty year accountable working life but well maintained could generate for eighty years or more.

    Wind turbines need “firming” back up generators, gas fired is one system, storage like short burst batteries that require many hours of recharging after being discharged, very expensive pumped hydro but Australia does not have the rainfall and suitable sites for many, and what the wind indiustry often calls “spinning machines” or grid stabilisers not needed when power station generators perform that function. And now the renewables are calling for a separate transmission line grid to make inefficient renewables more efficient, meaning profitable to operate.

    AEMO rates wind turbines with Capacity Factor 30% to 35% meaning percentage of Nameplate (design maximum output) also called Installed Capacity, so 100 MW of Nameplate is at best 35 MW delivered intermittently, subject to the wind. Solar has a much lower Capacity Factor. Power stations are around 95% Capacity Factor.

    Add the already $7 billion every year incentive subsidies paid to renewables based businesses plus we the consumers end up paying for the not cost effective renewables via electricity charges that continue to increase and are forecast to continue to rise.

    For Australia coal remains the most cost effective option to generate essential baseload and peak demand. However, if reducing CO2 was important nuclear power stations large or small modular reactor generators are less expensive than wind and solar when all the above costs are taken into account .

    American self made billionaire Warren Buffett once remarked that nobody would invest in renewables (wind and solar) without subsidy incentives. In Australia that industry receives incentive subsidies, but like all businesses can claim expenses incurred in creating taxable profits and if they use liquid fuel in off road applications can also apply for a fuel tax rebate.

  3. It is amazing how governments and politicians, mostly from developed nations, were fooled into accepting that natural climate change and weather conditions are an emergency including a warming tipping point from which there can be no return if not stopped by reducing “greenhouse gases” according to the UN IPCC propaganda presented at the Kyoto Japan Climate Conference in 1997 soon after the Howard Coalition Government replaced the Keating Labor Government in 1996. Apparently the computer modelling and other information presented at the Kyoto Conference convinced Prime Minister John Howard that the government he was leading needed to participate and take action as recommended and they decided sensibly that greenhouse gas emission reduction must not damage the economy.

    UK Mathematician (Hereditary Lord) Christopher Monckton audited the climate change computer modelling and reported that it was flawed and did not match historic record data. His report was criticised, the IPCC said the science is settled (science is never settled) and attacked Monckton generally and banned him from speaking at IPCC meetings and conferences. Monckton was one of many critics including many scientists in Australia and around the world. After election of the Abbott Coalition Government in 2013 scientist Dr Jennifer Marohasy and colleagues advised the Minister responsible for the Bureau of Meteorology that they had audited media releases on climate and discovered that historical weather data had been ignored, records before 1910 for example not taken into account. Apparently Prime Minister Abbott was in favour of an independent audit being conducted at the BoM but was unable to convince a majority of Cabinet Ministers. According to reports the Minister wrote to the BoM management referring to the Marohasy letter contents and received an acknowledgement that omissions and errors were a problem that would be dealt with. Flawed computer modelling has been reported in various countries. It has been pointed out about computers: garbage in, garbage out.

    There are a number of Australian scientists who have criticised the IPCC climate hoax including Professor Ian Plimer (see his comments here at Politicom), the late Professor Bob Carter, Dr Jennifer Marohasy, Professor Peter Ridd and others. Climate changes naturally and has done since time began, climate zones are different around Earth, about 130,000 years ago major climate change gradually took place in the land we call Australia, rainforests retreated to about 3 per cent of cover today and were replaced with eucalyptus that tolerates warmer and drier conditions (the land of droughts and flooding rains – bushfires and floods and more). And in between times there was a major ice age when Australian Aborigines and other people camped around a lake now known as the Gulf of Carpentaria. Much later and only a few hundred years ago there was what was called The Little Ice Age and the present now slowing down warming cycle following melted ice, Earth Cycles, naturally. Solar activity decline (Maunder Minimum) leads to colder conditions on Planet Earth, and followed by an increase and warmer conditions.

    Much more.

    The architect of climate hoax politics is claimed to have been the late Canadian billionaire Maurice Strong who was for some time a United Nations official. He died in China after being granted asylum there when the Environmental Protection Agency of Canada was after him for illegally extracting water from an aquifer beneath land he owned in Canada. Interestingly, opposed to what the leftists call capitalism, free enterprise system, he apparently admired the Chinese Communist system and his cousin had been a very close friend of Chairman Mao (Little Red Book author). In October 2015.

    Just before the IPCC Paris France Conference United Nations Official Christiana Figurers addressed a meeting and said that climate change was being used to destroy and change the capitalist system as we know it. With due consideration for the economic vandalism that so called renewable energy represents, unreliable wind and solar installations (farms is a feel good marketing reference), electric vehicles transition being gradually forced by governments rather than leaving the market and consumers to decide on their best choice, and other impacts on economic prosperity, leftists demanding closure of coal mines, refusing to lift the ridiculous bans on uranium and nuclear energy, and many other examples, that political agenda is well underway in 2022. And based on propaganda, climate emergency claimed coupled to greatly exaggerated descriptions of natural disasters and even lies: Great Barrier Reef in danger of being ruined, and the latest official report states the opposite, and again supports what Professor Peter Ridd, Dr Jennifer Marohasy and other observers and researchers of decades experience have been pointing out.

    I read a while ago that the UN based threats to condemn the condition of the GBR is blackmail, the GBR is picked on because it is a major tourist attraction for Queensland and therefore our national economy. In other words cooperate on climate change politics or else.

    Prime Minister Morrison was pushed to close coal mines when he attended the COP26 Glasgow Conference, Australia was also asked to increase already signed and ratified in 2016 Paris Agreement emissions target, and PM Morrison refused to cooperate and effectively undermine Australia’s economy.
    Another demand was for a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 (I call net zero economy), instead of a commitment PM Morrison indicated Australia has “an aspirational goal” subject to development of new technology and without damaging the economy. This was reported as a commitment by the Coalition Government and aspirational goal ignored.

    And now the Albanese Labor Government with applause and votes from the dark Greens and the pale green Teal (not a political party) group of Independent MPs and others is increasing the Paris Agreement emissions reduction target (based primarily on essential for life Carbon Dioxide, CO2) and with an earlier than 2030 completion date. Australia is already on track to achieve the Paris target and was one of the very few signatory nations for the Kyoto Agreement that achieved the target, and Australia well exceeded it. CO2 that amounts to 410 parts per million in the atmosphere (0.410%) and most is from natural sources, not human activities. Reports on US nuclear submarines indicate that when submerged CO2 level can reach 8,000 ppm inside with no harm to the crew. If there was 1,500 ppm in the atmosphere crop yields would increase more than they have been reported in recent times. At the Copenhagen Conference the delegation from China reported that based on records from 3,600 years of their civilisation there were three warmer than the present time periods and each brought greater prosperity as crop yields increased.

    We elect fellow Australians to be our representatives in parliaments to look after our best interests, local government, states, territories and Commonwealth or Federal Government. Instead far too many during more recent decades have cooperated with and supported the global climate hoax and related agendas.

    It’s no surprise, therefore, that only one third of voters supported Labor at the last election in May, and only a fraction more supported the Coalition of Liberal and National with one third rejecting the major parties. I believe this trend will get worse for those parties because we the people in the majority have had enough.

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