The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dictatorship of the Small Minority (

How Europe will eat Halal — Why you don’t have to smoke in the smoking section — Your food choices on the fall of the Saudi king –How to prevent a friend from working too hard –Omar Sharif ‘s conversion — How to make a market collapse

The best example I know that gives insights into the functioning of a complex system is with the following situation. It suffices for an intransigent minority –a certain type of intransigent minorities –to reach a minutely small level, say three or four percent of the total population, for the entire population to have to submit to their preferences. Further, an optical illusion comes with the dominance of the minority: a naive observer would be under the impression that the choices and preferences are those of the majority. If it seems absurd, it is because our scientific intuitions aren’t calibrated for that (fughedabout scientific and academic intuitions and snap judgments; they don’t work and your standard intellectualization fails with complex systems, though not your grandmothers’ wisdom).

The main idea behind complex systems is that the ensemble behaves in way not predicted by the components. The interactions matter more than the nature of the units. Studying individual ants will never (one can safely say never for most such situations), never give us an idea on how the ant colony operates. For that, one needs to understand an ant colony as an ant colony, no less, no more, not a collection of ants. This is called an “emergent” property of the whole, by which parts and whole differ because what matters is the interactions between such parts. And interactions can obey very simple rules. The rule we discuss in this chapter is the minority rule.

The minority rule will show us how it all it takes is a small number of intolerant virtuous people with skin in the game, in the form of courage, for society to function properly.

This example of complexity hit me, ironically, as I was attending the New England Complex Systems institute summer barbecue. As the hosts were setting up the table and unpacking the drinks, a friend who was observant and only ate Kosher dropped by to say hello. I offered him a glass of that type of yellow sugared water with citric acid people sometimes call lemonade, almost certain that he would reject it owing to his dietary laws. He didn’t. He drank the liquid called lemonade, and another Kosher person commented: “liquids around here are Kosher”. We looked at the carton container. There was a fine print: a tiny symbol, a U inside a circle, indicating that it was Kosher. The symbol will be detected by those who need to know and look for the minuscule print. As to others, like myself, I had been speaking prose all these years without knowing, drinking Kosher liquids without knowing they were Kosher liquids….[   ]

What do you think?

26.8k Points


0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
No Comment
11 months ago

Dave Chappells new stand up got a zero on rotten tomatoes. The media is now the dictatorship. There are no checks and balances for them.

Nico Norris
11 months ago

Direct democracy is the favorite tool of tyrants.

Alexander Glover
Alexander Glover
11 months ago

The US already has a dictatorship – by the rich and the corporations. Does not matter which ‘party’ is in power. Our true leaders have bought and compromised both.

Aris Totle
Aris Totle
11 months ago

A dictatorship doesn’t always come from the “Top Down”, lately it has been coming from the “Bottom Up”.

Rothman Hall
11 months ago

“It Can’t Happen Here”

-famous last words

11 months ago

There’s a dictator in the heart of every progressive

M Wing
11 months ago

Once you have lost Your freedoms, your comforts are sure to follow.
Totalitarianism requires a dictator

11 months ago

People are more interested in their comfort then in their freedom

11 months ago

Liberalism is just a nicer name for Communism.



Bacteria are thriving in the sky — and they influence the weather (

Would YOU Be Considered a Domestic Terrorist Under This New Bill? (