"The Same Thing" finally makes its grand reveal; the left's civil war has begun!
I think the mental phenomenon you describe as "The Same Thing" is a novel thought construct with roots in the well-grounded and understood thaw-reprogram-refreeze cycle. A solid foundation.
You immerse your target in the ideology at the Yale Bookstore as you observed and once you have them "thawed" with something like feminism, (a totally reasonable concept most people see as fair and just) you can get in RadFem, BLM, 2SLGBTQ+/the Rainbow Fist, DIE, ESG, BDS, River-to-the-Sea, (note the TLA's? Simple Slogans for Simple Thoughts for Simple Minds) all of "The Same Thing" ideological concepts.
You've reprogrammed the target, a mind that came to learn after all, and the simple human resistance to being wrong, cognitive dissonance, tribalism, network effects, etc. re-freezes it solid. NO ONE will re-think, and you've got a committed ideological army like Dear Professor Rickford and associated minions that will never walk away, despite their facile "apologies" that they don't mean for one second because it was written by the PR firm they undoubtedly hired.
As far as Chris Anderson from TED, I expect you're right, it's #2. The man's livelihood depends on being generally near-Fake Left, but reliably Rad Fake Left from time to time. No longer the honest broker he might have once been.
Theo, nails as usual.