The philosophers knew people needed to reflect on the choices behind their beliefs.
A person with a strong inclination to follow the crowd can actually become a reflective and independent thinker, and this possibility can be influenced by factors such as contact with thoughtful writing and dialogues on the subject.
People’s natural dispositions are not taken into account often enough in considering their political and religious belief systems. The natural psyches of human beings fall across different spectrums with a main spectrum falling between a person who is inclined to follow the crowd with a lack of personal reflection and a person who is inclined to stand outside the crowd to observe and examine. The benefits of following the crowd include the strength of the crowd, but the lack of personal reflection that crowd following often entails can lead people with this disposition to trample on “the other.”
Following the crowd for the sake of fitting in caused many of the same problems in the past that it does today. However, these problems manifest themselves differently today than they once did. In times and places where a person was once expected to be Christian, did the followers of a “Christian” crowd ever trample on the misunderstood sinner? Those crowds didn’t understand the real Christian message, but the focus of the crowd followers was less about figuring out what was true to the real philosophy of the belief system at hand than what they had to do to fit into the crowd. In modern times and places where people are often expected to be secular, do the followers of a “progressive” crowd ever trample on the misunderstood Christian? The same disposition that led people to trample on the “sinner” now leads people to trample on the Christian.
People often use terms such as "progressive," but how much talk is given to what a person's natural inclinations are and why else they believe what they believe? The disposition to follow the crowd can be at the heart of a problem on both sides of an aisle. This is not to say that a person is chained to their disposition, however. A person with a strong inclination to follow the crowd can actually become a reflective and independent thinker, and this possibility can be influenced by factors such as contact with thoughtful writing and dialogues on the subject.