This section is from the book "Principles Of Sociology With Educational Applications", by Frederick R. Clow. Also available from Amazon: Principles of sociology with educational applications.
Giddings makes a useful distinction between "rational like-rnindedness" and "formal mte-mindedness." The like-mindedness of a group is formal when it comes down out of the past and is accepted by the members without question; some of them may not even be aware that there are people different from themselves. But communication with other groups reveals the differences, and differences stimulate discussion. Now discussion leads at once to trouble unless differences are tolerated, and necessity may demand that trouble be avoided. Discussion, therefore, is a constant exercise in toleration; the minority must not be silenced, much less persecuted. In this way discussion leads to rational like-mindedness, to grouping on the basis of opinion. Questions which cannot be settled by discussion must either be excluded altogether, just as religion is at a mixed reception, or else they must be referred to some judicial tribunal for settlement. Intense like-mindedness of the temporary kind, as in a mob, rarely gains headway now, because habits prevail which are unfavorable to it. Intense like-mindedness of the enduring kind, like fanaticism or bigotry, when not deliberately excluded from discussion, becomes toned down into various shades of rational like-rnindedness. The social mind is then less positive, less liable to sudden outbursts, but vastly more intelligent and capable of adjusting itself to new conditions. It becomes public opinion in the best sense.
A people who, like the Russian peasantry, accept only a unanimous decision as binding, have advanced a very small way in political development. The discovery that "counting heads would save the trouble of breaking them" marks one of the greatest advances that mankind have made in their hard upward course. ... - Ritchie, Principles of State Interference, p. 74.
The bitter rivalries that formerly existed between schools have been much moderated with the coming of inter-school contests in athletics and oratory. These contests, being carried on by responsible organizations and under carefully prepared rules, have done much to establish rational like-mindedness among students in place of formal like-minded-ness. The unregulated hazing that once infested our colleges has now either disappeared or else been brought under control; student life has been diversified with a variety of organizations; the surplus energy has been drawn off into legitimate channels. Faculty and students are less frequently at odds since their representatives began to meet as members of committees and other governing bodies of organizations which are run primarily by the students. At such meetings, along with the serious discussion to achieve rational ends, there is small talk about weather, theaters, and other mild subjects, which builds up a subconscious social mind in the form of sympathy, good-fellowship, a readiness to believe that the member of the other group is thoroughly human and can be touched by a rational appeal.