One of the things all ideologies attempt to control is your mind. You can and do think whatever you like. However, when you join a religion or cult your thought processes are filtered through the lens of that ideological position. That filter is the control point for the individual to adhere to the ideological position. Every and any religion has this key point to it’s existence and it creates a pathological adherence to the belief. The most important part of the expansion of religion is to silence its critics. Once people begin to critique and challenge an ideological position, it is the job of the zealot to silence opposition by any means necessary. Sometimes, force is used to make this happen.
In the days of early religion, dissenters were treated to a reward that only an ignorant zealot could come up with. If they’re wrong, and offend you…. kill them. One only needs to read historical texts to see the punishments toward anyone that says god isn’t real, the king is a fraud, the emperor is a tyrant, or any number of challenges to the authority and beliefs of that society to see that it was often met with death. Fortunately for us, murder is not longer an acceptable action to challenging someones beliefs in most civilized societies. However, the alternative isn’t much better in some cases.
Yet each ideological position has a common thread which permeates the belief. They must control the way you think so that you will defend the belief and not think critically. If you question, if you suggest that the ideology might have flaws or things that don’t agree with reality; you have options. You can be reprogrammed back to the fold through a twisted set of arguments which are meant to bring you back to the fold. The other option is you leave and are ostracized by the ideology. It becomes the in-group/out-group situation. First attempt to keep them in the group, if that fails kick them out.
We have an innate fear of being out-group. As a social species we tend to want to stay where it’s safe which is with those we feel comfortable with. When your safety is threatened you will want to adapt and stay in the group. Ideologically this means you would change your view, defend it in some way, or apologize and stay silent. The exodus from an ideological position to a rational one would require a base. A social net where people could feel welcome. This would also be a group that agrees with what you’re saying. This too, is dangerous because if an ideological position manifests from a group you agree with, you can be setup into the same position you were in to begin with.
But thought policing takes on a different shape. It’s not a sociological construct made to coerce, intimidate, or encourage you to stay within the in-group of the ideology. No, thought policing starts at the fundamental level of dogmatism. Every ideology has some dogmatic principles which seem rather benign and often times align with human behavior. For example, the christian dogmatic principle of sin is relatively benign on it’s own. It’s essentially anything you do wrong according to the beliefs of the group. What are those things you can do wrong? Well, it starts with the fundamental principles of human behavior and social interaction. The concept of doing the least amount of harm is rooted in every group throughout our history. Our moral conundrums outline this extensively when we consider things like if it is wrong to kill someone. When you get into the “what if” questions on the root of the situation, killing someone, you find moral justifications manifest based on the situation. Seldom will one sway from the least amount of harm to the most amount of people.
Keeping with the christian view, sin is then used to control how one thinks. Starting with the easy ones, where it focuses on not hurting people, you progress into not questioning what you believe. One need not look any further than the 10 commandments to determine if this is true. Four of the six commandments are purposely written to state that one should not question the will of god, defy him, question him, or even take his name in vein. The other five are based on social interactions that we already did before. Finally, one of them are written to demand control of your very thoughts. In this way, Christianity attempted to own morality through the concept of sin.
If we take the same concept of policing ones thoughts to every other religion we will see a dogmatic pattern of control that is often used to manipulate people into believing the most absurd things. The most prevalent of concepts is that of bias. The only bias anyone will ever see is explicit bias. The outward expression of biases is the version we could call a number of names depending on if that bias is harmful or not. Where people get things wrong is when they attempt to conflate unconscious bias as implicit, and implicit bias as explicit. In the era of post-modern thought, unconscious bias is the attempt to literally control your thoughts. But as all other ideologies before it, it takes a view of human behavior and applies dogmatism in an attempt to manipulate the situation. Those that believe it, and have the qualities of an effective leader, use the dogmatic principles to their favor in an attempt to grasp power. Once power is established, the leader attempts to subjugate as many as possible to the new dogmatic principles. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The fact is, unconscious bias is not entirely understood. If we adhere to evolutionary facts, unconscious biases would be gut reactions to situations developed through instinct and our early development. Implicit biases are equally elusive. But what we do know is most implicit biases build on our unconscious ones and are taught through our environment and our nurturing. Simple examples would be sexual preference. An unconscious bias would be initially defined by your sexual attraction: gay, straight, or both. From what I understand, males are more black and white in this particular unconscious bias. Either your gay or your not. It’s rare that someone is more sexually fluid as a male than a female. At any rate, this base attraction toward one sex then becomes further defined as we develop. You like people with light hair or dark hair; green eyes or brown. Any number of attributes are all influenced by your sexual preference and your environment as you develop. Even then, not much is understood about this particular subject. Why do people prefer green over brown eyes? Because reasons, that’s why…
The idea that people are racist/racist/homophobic/insert label here because of unconscious or implicit bias is a ridiculous notion. It’s your explicit biases that would be racist. Explicit biases are the ones that are rationalized based on the previous biases. You prefer white people to have sex with? It doesn’t make you racist to not want any other race. What would make you racist is if you rationalize not desiring other sexes with white people being better in some way to others. That expression, or interpretation of your preferences is explicit and would potentially be racist if you rationalize that white people are better at sex and thus why you prefer it. It’s unfounded and probably not true as the experience is entirely subjective.
The parishioners of the secular ideology would stop you before you explained your preference and say the act of having a preference is inherently racist to begin with. If you preferred the opposite sex they would have additional labels to ostracize you from all of civil society. It’s the same wolf in different wool attempting to arrest your mind and further the ideology.