Conformity Shows Loyalty
"The world has too many people showing too much loyalty to their groups. That is why I’m so proud to be member of ALU, anti-loyalists united, where we refuse to show loyalty to any other groups. My local chapter just kicked out George for suspicion of showing loyalty to California, and we chastised Ellen for expressing doubts about the latest anti-loyalty directives from headquarters. We’ll only lick loyalty by showing we are united behind our courageous ALU leaders. All hail ALU!"
Sounds pretty silly, right? But I hear something pretty similar when I hear folks say they are proud to be part of a group that fights conformity by pushing their unusual beliefs. Especially when such folks seem more comfortable claiming their beliefs contribute to diversity than that they are true.
We use belief conformity to show loyalty to particular groups, relative to other groups. We rarely bother to show loyalty to humanity as a whole, because non-humans threaten little. So we rarely bother to try to conform our beliefs with humanity as a whole, which is why herding experiments with random subjects show no general conformity tendencies.
Our conformity efforts instead target smaller in-groups, with more threatening out-groups. And we are most willing to conform our beliefs on abstract ideological topics, like politics or religion, where our opinions have few other personal consequences. Our choices show to which conflicting groups we feel the most allied.
You just can’t fight "conformity" by indulging the evil pleasure of enjoying your conformity to a small tight-knit group of "non-conformists." All this does is promote some groups at the expense of other groups, and poisons your mind in the process. It is like fighting "loyalty" by dogged devotion to an anti-loyalty alliance.
Best to clear your mind and emotions of group loyalties and resentments and ask, if this belief gave me no pleasure of rebelling against some folks or identifying with others, if it was just me alone choosing, would my best evidence suggest that this belief is true? All else is the road to rationality ruin.