No can do.

We drift.

Our standards aren’t set in stone. They change over time, often based on the situation we’re in.

This explains how cults or extreme views occur. Not all at once, but bit by bit.

Until one day, people wake up and are shocked to discover that they’re advocating for (or doing something) that is clearly wrong. It didn’t make them uncomfortable yesterday, but the reality of what’s being done is so different from the person we’d like to be that a break occurs.

The question is: If no one else was doing this, arguing for it, insisting on it–would we? Is it something you felt strongly about before the tribe and its leader took it on?

We can avoid this by staying away from institutions that profit from pushing participants further than they’d want to go on their own. If the heroes are extremists (in any sense of that word) don’t be surprised if participants are pushed to be so as well. And even more powerfully, we can remind ourselves of our first principles, about what matters more than winning or being popular.

Standing for something is a good way to avoid having someone stand on you.

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