I'm not sure how you're using "whitewash" here.
I'm assuming you intend it to mean something like "tar & feather" rather than "covering up for."
Your questions are interesting as much in how you have phrased them as in what you are asking.
I don't think there is any avoidance of raising controversial subjects in the interest of group harmony, and to minimize conflict. However I do think that if "analysis" is substituted for "decision-making" the following from the linked article you provided is demonstrated almost daily
Thus the "ingroup" significantly overrates its own abilities in decision-making,(analysis) and significantly underrates the abilities of its opponents (the "outgroup"). Furthermore groupthink can produce dehumanizing actions against the "outgroup".
I think that the majority of A2K members (and this would include me) are "close minded" in the sense that they come to these discussions with pretty firmly held beliefs and opinions already in place, but that's not particularly unique to this forum. I don't think that most members refuse to or are incapable of learning something new regarding science, history, art etc., but not many are prepared to be persuaded by opinions that don't already align with their own. I'm sure it happens from time to time, and probably more so than is ever actually acknowledged, but I doubt it’s a common occurrence.
I find that most of the people who raise this as an issue are more focused on other people being persuaded by them than the reverse.
There are lots of impediments to rational discussion in this forum, but I don't think that a drive for conformity is a major one. It's impossible to determine the precise ratio of liberals to conservatives in this forum, largely because many of the liberals deny the label fits them, but it's probably fair to say that liberals out number conservatives. As a result, on any given subject, you will tend to find more expressions of a position that can safely be described as "liberal," than one that can be described as "conservative." It's just a case of numbers, not that people who would otherwise express a conservative position are somehow being coerced by the group to express a liberal one.
Your position on feminism, for example, is not widely held by members. I don't think that anyone who has disagreed with you would actually say otherwise if you could free them from the influence of the group.
In any case, the group can't banish rational discussion of any issue. If you start a discussion on abortion you are very likely to attract a fair number of people who will provide little more than invective, but should one or two people engage you in a rational discussion you can ignore everyone else (with or without the help of forum features) and conduct your discussion. While there may actually be one or two spineless members who will never buck the general opinion, the people with whom you have engaged are probably not going to be scared off by the group. Of course you have to resist engaging with jack-asses if you are only interested in a rational discussion. A lot of people have a hard time doing this, and it incorrectly leads them to the conclusion that a rational discussion cannot be held here.
Something being logical can mean that it conforms to a set of rules, assumptions and intention. If people come to this forum to be seen as a member of one group or another and derive some pleasure and security from a tribal association, than it is quite "logical" for them to "tar & feather" someone who expresses an opinion that is unpopular with that group. If they come here to engage in rational discussion than it is not.
I think though that the tribal associations are formed prior to anyone becoming a member here, and to the extent that group-think is involved it is in establishing their opinions before they arrive here. Sure there are a few cliques, for lack of a better term, but I've seen too many instances of people turning on
(as opposed to simply disagreeing with) others with whom you would expect a natural affiliation to exist to think they are much of a dynamic in this forum. A much more prevalent and unfortunate dynamic is the formulation of temporary “alliances” to mock or insult a given member. This calls to (my) mind a seventh grade girl’s room or a band of bachelor chimps rather than group-think.