WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

Don’t be afraid to say what you believe

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Preference falsification can undermine much of what most of us like to think we truly believe. A recent Black Pigeon Speaks video defined this concept as misrepresenting one’s beliefs under perceived social pressure.

We all practice preference falsification at times in order to avoid conflict or to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. BPS cited the phenomena as one reason that the 2016 election surprised so many folks. People responded to pollsters as if they supported Clinton while they actually harbored Trumpophilic beliefs. Although they didn’t know the pollster, the perception was that, “Everyone was voting for Clinton and I need to state that also.”

The whole idea sounds quite innocuous and just an interesting observation. However, if people will not voice their real thoughts regarding their preferences and what they consider correct and moral, opposing ideas can take hold. This a variation on, “when they came for group X I did nothing and now they are coming for me and no one is left to defend me” concept and with the same malevolent consequences.

It seems that preference falsification is more prevalent among those of a conservative bent as they tend to be more polite, deferential and willing to give the benefit of the doubt. It could be summed up as, “Conservatives think liberals are people who just have bad ideas while liberals think conservatives are bad people with even worse ideas.” To that point, which group tends to immediately label as Hitler those whom they oppose? I have yet to see where a conservative assigns that moniker to a liberal, but the converse occurs constantly.

Those of a conservative bent must stake out our positions and push back, firmly but politely, on the wrongheaded and often malevolent positions of those who would fundamentally transform America. If you believe that infanticide is wrong and babies born alive after a botched abortion should be protected, then let the governor know; or if schools begin to push for gender-neutral pronouns, look into alternative educational venues.

Whatever the case, preference falsification can have nefarious and negative consequences on society. Those of us who perceive that change for change’s sake isn’t always desirable or beneficial need to stop participating in preference falsification and say what we stand for and stand for what we say.

Tom Haitema

Wilson

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