We are undergoing a weird “tipping point” moment. The fringe is exploding into the consciousness of netizens all over the globe.
For better or worse… it’s happening.
If you need proof, mull this one over: We live in a world where Alex Jones has a White House press pass.
Again, for better or worse, it’s something one would’ve, upon watching an Alex Jones video on Youtube a decade ago, found inconceivable.
For liberty lovers, there’s good news on this front. We’ll give you a couple of good examples in just a moment.
First, though, let’s take a look at how such sweeping societal changes work.
Contrary to popular intuition, they have little to do with the mob rule or top-down commandments. Not even close.
The tyranny of the minority.
“Society,” Nassim Taleb writes, “doesn’t evolve by consensus, voting, majority, committees, verbose meeting, academic conferences, and polling; only a few people suffice to disproportionately move the needle. All one needs is an asymmetric rule somewhere. And asymmetry is present in about everything.”
Here’s a micro example:
Think about the family of four where the daugher has gone strictly non-GMO and is completely and utterly unwilling to compromise. If it’s GMO food, she simply doesn’t eat. Over time, after much hassle and debate, the parent who does the shopping just decides to buy more and more non-GMO for the family. Before they know it, the family is eating mostly non-GMO not because they had a firm stance on it either way — but because they were flexible while the daughter was not.
The incredible rise in non-GMO, organic and non-gluten food choices began, make no mistake, with those stubborn individuals and the “flexibles” slowly piled in after.
Three to ten percent of the population.
While Taleb believes we need just three to four percent of stubborn individuals to make massive change, scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) believe it takes about 10% of the population holding an unshakeable belief for it to be adopted by the majority.
Their findings were published in the July 22, 2011, early online edition of the journal Physical Review E in an article titled “Social consensus through the influence of committed minorities.”
Regarding the study, the RPI blog reports:
“The scientists, who are members of the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC) at Rensselaer, used computational and analytical methods to discover the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority opinion. The finding has implications for the study and influence of societal interactions ranging from the spread of innovations to the movement of political ideals.
“When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas. It would literally take the amount of time comparable to the age of the universe for this size group to reach the majority,” said SCNARC Director Boleslaw Szymanski, the Claire and Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor at Rensselaer. “Once that number grows above 10 percent, the idea spreads like flame.”
For our interests, here are a couple of ways the “creative minority” is pushing good ideas into the mainstream funnel.
Monetary liberty is an unkillable idea.
It isn’t just bitcoin. The whole cryptocurrency ecosystem is on an absolute tear. According to CryptoCoinsNews, the total cryptocurrency market capitalization (price per coin times amount of coins in circulation) is at $42.6 trillion.
“That marks,” says the crypto blog, “more than a $10 billion gain in 10 days.”
Normally, the “altcoins” — cryptocurrencies which aren’t bitcoin — fall with the rise of bitcoin, but this time, not only are they steady, many of them are seeing tremendous gains.
This may signal a tiny bubble in the midst, sure. But it also shows a rising interest unlike anything the industry’s seen.
What’s even bigger than bitcoin is the idea of bitcoin. This idea of money that’s outside the reach of bureaucrats and can’t be wielded as a political weapon at the expense of the many.
In a world where a 13-year-old can create his own currency in less than an hour, it’s becoming hard to see how flag money will be able to destroy this idea without destroying itself first.
We’ve seen societal disruption on this scale before. The invention of the printing press was just as radical and dangerous to the status quo as bitcoin is today. Nevertheless, information was freed from the clutches of monopolizing forces. It didn’t happen without conflict or friction, to be sure. But it happened and we’re all the better off for it.
Long-term, Hayek’s holy denationalization is happening, too. And something else is popping through the soil…
Never before has the world seen so much support for cognitive liberty as it does today. Marijuana, coming full circle, truly has been the “gateway drug” for this movement.
The majority of Americans, whether they like marijuana or not, are beginning to recognize the incredibly devastating effects the War on Drugs has had on the country at large.
The incredible support for the legalization of marijuana in the past few years is only the beginning.
We came across a small, but powerful, example this week on social media.
If you have any doubts of this trend, take a look at the Ada County sheriff’s office Facebook page to see how intolerant the “creative minority” are becoming when it comes to the War on Drugs.
Last Wednesday, the sheriff’s office shared a pic of a marijuana bust. There have been 600 comments thus far to the bust… and they don’t hold back.
Check it out here.
Want to predict the future? It’s important to realize today’s popular thought is irrelevant. It only matters what the “intolerant minority” is doing today to sway the masses tomorrow.
All it takes, says Taleb, “is a small number of intolerant virtuous people with skin in the game, in the form of courage, for society to function properly.”
As Margaret Mead put it:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today