There are basically four things that make people band together to defend an idea to its ultimate consequences, even if they are clearly being irrational, stupid, or fanatical.
1. A growing investment (or handicap). 2. Imitation (or positioning in the group in relation to others). 3. Lack of criticism (or endogroup bias). 4. Moral display (or reputation). None of these factors is remotely related to truth or objectivity.
Let’s explain two of the most important factors.
Investment or handicap
This dynamic is very clear in religions. Faced with the threat of erosion of religious pillars in the face of secular society, religions do not usually weaken their rituals and ideas, but rather increase their purity and the difficulty of accessing the creed .
This will expel many believers, but it will also encourage the faithful who remain in the congregation to do so with greater fervor. More resistant to changes from the outside. All these taxes in the form of rituals, clothes, internal norms, dimes and diretes, reinforce what in psychology is called endogroup bias . That is, the belief that we belong to a group that protects and defines us.
Even, formally, a culture is a sect crossed by endogroup biases. Like political parties. All require investment, display, and lack of self-criticism.
We have all practiced, to a greater or lesser extent, the "moral posture", synthesizing the article Moral posture: it’s everywhere, it has nothing good , by Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke , and translated by Karnayna Project :
In an attempt to impress their peers, posturettes fabricate moral charges, rally in public embarrassment cases, announce that anyone who disagrees with them is obviously wrong, or exaggerate emotional displays. There is a particularly worrisome form of posturing, which we call intensified augmentation. It occurs when commenters make stronger and stronger claims in order to outdo each other. Each wants to show greater moral acumen.
This is why moral posturing can be so damaging . The rise contributes to group polarization, where individuals come to have more extreme opinions after deliberating with others, rather than moving toward a moderate consensus. The upshot of a moral arms race is that people will tend to take extreme and implausible views, and refuse to listen to the other side . You can expand on all this in the following video: