The Curse of Conformity
I often find myself debating the inner-workings of humanity in general. Our inner obsessions and endless pursuits of power, wealth, pleasure, and opportunity. What is it that drives us to place ourselves on a pedestal of authority over our fellow men? What is it that causes us to bask in our own glory, fueled by our own arrogance and yet eaten away by our own ignorance and vigorous pursuits of personal pleasure? The nature of man is to pursue his own wants and needs, he seeks to satisfy the individual rather than the collective, he seeks to satisfy himself over his brother, his neighbor, or in some cases his child. When “collectivism” is brought up within political conversation, the first thought in people’s minds is most often of socialistic or communistic tendencies; but concern for your brethren is not a trait of political societies or governmental forms, but rather a law of God and of humanity itself. We have all fallen into the trap of a political and social system which “expects” us to perform, to behave, to speak, and to act in certain ways, when these borders of “normalcy” are violated, men and women alike are deemed outcasts, “antisocial,” and “different.” Many would say that by making such arguments I am taking the liberal approach to the issues which plague mankind and society in general, but in reality adhering to any firm system of belief is traitorous to human nature, and to the power of the mind itself. In each society and in each respective political system, different values and beliefs are given to those of the Conservative and Liberal belief systems. What many fail to understand is that a liberal approach, and a liberal way of thinking are usually among the greatest ways to obtain a true Conservative stance on the issues. Through “thinking outside the box,” we may empower ourselves and our minds as a whole, and we may make our own decisions rather than adhering to a strict belief system or to the firm “norms” of our societies. I myself often fall victim to “conformity,” and there is nothing wrong with trying to “fit in” when it comes to the general affairs of our lives. We must draw the line when our silence implies our consent to the wrongdoings of others, when our conformity begins to act as a plague upon our hearts and our sacred values and laws. There are those who openly show their outrage for those who conform within the borders of society, but there is no shame in respecting the rules and norms that our society has developed. I suppose I should provide an example that clearly outlines the point I am trying to make:
Before the reign of Adolf Hitler, one of the world’s most feared and hated dictators, the people of Germany, just as the people of any society do, conformed to their society’s rules, to the laws of their nation, and to the norms of their various groups and institutions. There was nothing wrong with their conformity to the customs, norms, and rules of their society, and they committed no crime in adhering to these rules. When Adolf Hitler claimed power, the people were thrilled and invigorated by his passion and his populist standpoint. Once Adolf Hitler began his systematic elimination of all that he deemed “unworthy” or “unfit” to plague this “new society” that he was constructing, the masses of the people were silent and no outrage could be seen. The people conformed to such evils, knowing that something heinous and evil was taking place right under their noses, but they adhered to these new “norms” and rules set forth at the hand of Adolf Hitler in order to form his “new society.” In doing this, the people were no longer simply conforming to their society and way of life, they were now conforming and refusing to acknowledge evil itself, and in doing so they became sheep, blindly leading themselves to their own imminent slaughter and destruction as a people and a nation. There is a clear difference between conformity to the simple norms and rules of a society, and conformity to something that we know is wrong and against our values and laws as human beings and subjects of the Lord Jesus Christ himself.
So at what point does our silence and conformity become a crime against humanity itself? The distinction bears resemblance to the “thin blue line” often referred to in the fields of law enforcement. There is also a thin line between good and evil, and between conformity to the laws of society, and conformity to the evils that society and individuals leading that society wish to inflict upon innocent populations. We must respect this line, and it is our responsibility both as citizens and as people in general to analyze the effect of our conformity. Will we stand silent in a simple debate over political issues? Or will we stand silent in a time where our brothers, sisters, and children are dragged away at the hands of a terrorist and inhumane regime that is bent on death, destruction, and power? What is the difference, and how is it that so many generations of people have fallen to the facades of populist politics and conformity in itself? I leave this question up to you.
This Article was originally written on www.aconservatism.com