Closed belief system
Closed belief systems are a powerful tool for causing large numbers of people to take actions that are generally harmful (or even against their own best interests) while believing they are doing so for a greater good.
Closed belief systems tend to have the following characteristics:
- They have key tenets that are sacrosanct.
- Disagreement with the belief system is likely to result in ostracism or even demonization (dissenters are evil, alien, unpatriotic, or "outsiders").
- Empirical evidence or arguments that show flaws in the system do not have to be addressed if they violate key tenets.
- In defense of the key tenets, it is permissible to use:
- There is usually a system of epistemic closure, i.e. a support structure (formal and/or informal) where stories that validate the system are circulated, largely unchallenged.