“The situation in which members of an ideological group become increasingly zealous and intolerant, eventually turning on other members.”
A social ratchet effect within a community. A process of moral outbidding, unchecked, which corrodes the group from within, rewarding those who put themselves at the extremes, and punishing nuance relentlessly.
Not to be confused with ‘virtue signalling’, ‘woke culture’, or ‘online mobs’.
A purity spiral can contain all of these things, but it is defined by the fact that it takes place in a defined community or society, where being purer-than-thou is always being rewarded, and holding a divergent, ‘less pure’ opinion is normally punished, a dynamic which leads to an inevitable escalation as only the most extreme can ‘win’.
The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory–Cultural Marxism
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