The Abilene Paradox
July 21, 2003 3:15 AM Subscribe
The Abilene Paradox: A sunny afternoon, a family playing cards on a terrace. One of them thinks they should move - not that he cares, on the contrary, but he thinks the others want to - so he proposes a trip to Abilene. No fun, hot, bad food. Back home one of them admits that he had preferred to stay home. Everybody would have liked that, only they did not admit to it when it was still time to enjoy the afternoon.
Everyone talks about free speech, but it's surprising how few people (even its most vociferous defenders!) realize why it's so important. The Abilene Paradox -- which describes in familiar terms how entire groups can be motivated to act contrary to their own wishes -- can only occur when communication breaks down...or is broken down. Just a bit of pragmatism to start your day.
posted by effugas (8 comments total)