19 votes

Fox News Didn't "Steal" Your Parents

16 comments

  1. [16]
    sonamtashi
    (edited )
    Link
    I like and agree with this article to an extent, but I think the situation is more complicated than what both Price and O'Neil/Senko are describing. Price assumes that these people who were...

    I like and agree with this article to an extent, but I think the situation is more complicated than what both Price and O'Neil/Senko are describing. Price assumes that these people who were "radicalized" were always conservative. O'Neil/Senko assume relatives were radicalized by conservatives. But not all people who have been radicalized are the same, and not all of them have traveled the same path to radicalization.

    One of the big problems, so far, is that all of these articles, documentaries, etc. are based on anecdote. My response is also based on anecdote to be fair. But I will share an example that I feel contradicts, in some small ways at least, what Price is trying to say. I am a bisexual male whose gay partner was radicalized over a very short period of time. During the 2016 presidential election cycle he was a Bernie supporter. He wanted Universal Healthcare, free/affordable college, he was of course supportive of the LGBTQ+ community etc. In short, he was not a conservative. Being a conservative wasn't the prior cause of his radicalization.

    To give an idea of how this has changed, quite recently he told me: "the gay agenda is to make pedophilia acceptable to the mainstream." He frequently rants about the Jews now. He hates Bernie Sanders. He thinks Universal Healthcare, education, etc. are evil Socialism. He is terrified of Europe being taken over by Muslims. He is an extremely avid supporter of QAnon. Not only has he moved right politically, he is legitimately Fascist or Fascist-adjacent. He wants nearly all Democrats and celebrities rounded up and executed by military tribunals on live TV.

    You can't tell me he hasn't been brainwashed. You can't tell me he isn't in a political cult. I used to try to argue with him, but he would only get angry and ask why I "always have to be right." So I slowly stopped arguing. I still try to ask devil's advocate type questions and subtly challenge his opinions, but I seriously do not think it is safe to openly argue with or directly contradict him. He is in a cult. Having grown up in a cult I know you should not argue with cultists. This is the major thing the author of the article does not understand. Arguing and talking with cultists does not work. It only ever results in a backfire effect. The only reason people ever leave cults is a dissatisfaction with the cult itself. Dissatisfaction with the cult is what opens the mind to question the cult and to be open to discussion on the subject. Before that, arguing only pushes people further in. So you're left with two options: cut these people off or let them have their ideas and hope they eventually let it go.

    The author basically admits this is the case. Consider these quotes:

    When challenged on their views by their liberal or leftie children, they shut down, get defensive, or recite empty, Fox-News-approved platitudes that don’t invite further discussion.

    I understand why O’Neil chooses to avoid talking about politics with his mother. I deeply relate the sense that any attempt at fighting on these issues will lead nowhere. Hell, last year I wrote a piece on Medium about giving up hope of my conservative relatives ever changing their views. I know how hard it is to try and make someone see the light; how painful, draining, and traumatic those fights can become.

    They decided to shut out critical discussion.

    He says we need to challenge their views; make it known that their ideas and actions are not okay. This sounds nice in theory, but I think anyone who has significant experience with cults will tell you that this simply does not work. It just makes them angry. It makes them shut down. It pushes them further in. How are you supposed to talk to, or even argue with someone, who "shuts down critical discussion," or who "gets defensive and replies with empty platitudes" and simply won't listen? This is the very problem, and it is exactly why people in this situation have elected to stop arguing with radicalized friends and family members in the first place. Perhaps we should challenge them at every turn, but in order to do so we have to give up on having anything but toxic relationships with our family and friends. Perhaps the best option is to cut them off, but I don't think so (except maybe in extreme cases). I've seen a number of people eventually leave cults. The only way this ever worked was to accept them as people, even if you don't accept their ideas, and leave them to sort out their toxic ideas on their own. This doesn't mean you let them think you accept their ideas, but it doesn't mean you directly confront them regularly either. You let them know what you think, and you let your example as a regular, good person show them that their ideas are unfounded.

    Right wing politics is based on fear and hatred. To the far right, Democrats and leftists are not just wrong--they're evil. More and more this is the case. Immigrants are evil criminals. Democrats are sacrificing babies. The left is trying to introduce pedophilia as acceptable and they worship the devil.

    But normal, good people can slowly show them that these ideas are baseless. It doesn't work all the time and it takes a long while. But it is the only thing that ever seems to work.

    Certainly what I've described is mainly the far right and not more grounded conservatives. But to me those are the "radicalized" ones, the ones that are truly in the cult-mindset I've described. Most of my family is conservative. None of them have turned into this. None of them have turned into Fox News zombies. None of them support Trump. Of course this is all anecdotal, but so was the article. My family may be an exception, but they seemed to stop watching Fox News altogether when they started openly supporting Trump.

    So I don't think mere conservatism is the reason these people are being radicalized. I think the reason is fear and anger. This radicalization started around the time of the recession. Could part of it have been because Obama is black? Almost certainly. but the larger reason was because of the fear, anger and hopelessness people felt because of the economic collapse. Right wingers blamed things like "immigrants taking all our jobs" and the groundwork for what we see today was laid.

    Not all of the people who have been radicalized were conservatives. But they all were and are easily motivated or manipulated by fear and anger. Are conservatives more likely to be manipulated by fear and anger? Some studies suggest this is the case, but I don't think it is true of all of them. Many are just raised in conservative environments. Conservatives such as this are not motivated quite as much by these negative emotions, and they're less likely to be radicalized. Some Democrats, centrists and Leftists are motivated by these things, and some of these people have been radicalized without having to have been conservatives prior to the radicalization. My gay partner is just one example. His fear and anger (something he already had in spades prior to all of this) have convinced him that the LGBTQ+ community, a community that is directly fighting to protect and secure his civil liberties, is secretly a plot to introduce pedophilia. He has been convinced through fear and anger to accept an idea that directly hurts him.

    Such being the case, I don't think conservatism is what leads to radicalization. Fear and anger do.

    37 votes
    1. [2]
      Macil
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I was heavily around 4chan culture over the past decade and saw a lot of people get radicalized by the alt-right. What you describe mirrors a lot of what I saw. The phenomenon was not people who...

      I was heavily around 4chan culture over the past decade and saw a lot of people get radicalized by the alt-right. What you describe mirrors a lot of what I saw. The phenomenon was not people who were already conservative becoming slightly more conservative; 4chan wasn't significantly conservative in the past. It was people of all kinds (primarily people who weren't knowledgeable of politics outside of a pet issue or two) getting sucked in by memes (in the infectious idea sense) about society being under attack and "normies" being brainwashed to ignore or celebrate it.

      I found that videos from YouTubers such as Shaun, Hbomberguy, and ContraPoints can do a good job to help some put the nonsense in perspective and come back from it. Those YouTubers are fun people, they understand internet culture, and they do a great job of dissecting the worst parts.

      18 votes
      1. sonamtashi
        Link Parent
        Yes! This is exactly it. My partner and his parents talk about the chans a lot.

        Yes! This is exactly it. My partner and his parents talk about the chans a lot.

        7 votes
    2. [5]
      Qis
      Link Parent
      How does your partner describe their radicalization? That would be a tremendously stressful situation for me; I don't think I could continue to live and work closely with someone whose perspective...

      How does your partner describe their radicalization? That would be a tremendously stressful situation for me; I don't think I could continue to live and work closely with someone whose perspective had changed that much. Even those things we retain in common would be severely undermined by that kind of brainwashing...

      12 votes
      1. [4]
        sonamtashi
        Link Parent
        Yeah it is not something I can really handle either. I'm working on an escape plan because I think he's turning into a literal Nazi. He basically just describes it in grandiose terms. He's with...

        Yeah it is not something I can really handle either. I'm working on an escape plan because I think he's turning into a literal Nazi. He basically just describes it in grandiose terms. He's with the good guys. The Democrats are the villains, satanists, evil etc. It seriously seems like he thinks he's in a movie or comic book. He describes it all as himself being on the right side of things, seeing through liberal communist brainwashing, things like that (he has no idea what communism actually is).

        16 votes
        1. [3]
          vektor
          Link Parent
          Be safe and take care of yourself. Don't be ashamed to seek the help of others if needed; seems like you're in quite the pickle.

          Be safe and take care of yourself. Don't be ashamed to seek the help of others if needed; seems like you're in quite the pickle.

          18 votes
          1. [2]
            sonamtashi
            Link Parent
            Thanks, I'm working on it. I've told several people in my life what's going on. While they don't seem to understand just how bad it is, I'm pretty sure they would help me out in a pinch.

            Thanks, I'm working on it. I've told several people in my life what's going on. While they don't seem to understand just how bad it is, I'm pretty sure they would help me out in a pinch.

            12 votes
            1. ubergeek
              Link Parent
              Be very safe. Abusive partners have a tendency to spy into their partners private life as well, and that includes internet history. Like here...

              Be very safe. Abusive partners have a tendency to spy into their partners private life as well, and that includes internet history. Like here...

              20 votes
    3. Bullmaestro
      Link Parent
      And I thought all this LGBTQP crap was just a 4chan attempt to troll the gay community by trying to push a new pro-paedophilia acronym on them, which they understandably didn't take kindly to. I'm...

      To give an idea of how this has changed, quite recently he told me: "the gay agenda is to make pedophilia acceptable to the mainstream." He frequently rants about the Jews now. He hates Bernie Sanders. He thinks Universal Healthcare, education, etc. are evil Socialism. He is terrified of Europe being taken over by Muslims. He is an extremely avid supporter of QAnon. Not only has he moved right politically, he is legitimately Fascist or Fascist-adjacent. He wants nearly all Democrats and celebrities rounded up and executed by military tribunals on live TV.

      And I thought all this LGBTQP crap was just a 4chan attempt to troll the gay community by trying to push a new pro-paedophilia acronym on them, which they understandably didn't take kindly to. I'm actually shocked to hear that there are people who genuinely believe that the LGBT movement is a front to push paedophilia.

      It really does sound like your partner has spent way too much time on 4chan or Voat. That isn't healthy.

      8 votes
    4. [6]
      teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      What's so attractive about the alt right that it can flip someone around like this. Could this happen to anyone? Could it happen to me? You? There's a formula here that I don't know, but whatever...

      What's so attractive about the alt right that it can flip someone around like this. Could this happen to anyone? Could it happen to me? You?

      There's a formula here that I don't know, but whatever it is it works.

      5 votes
      1. [4]
        Eva
        Link Parent
        Their approach to marketing themselves is (or at least was) fun, while also managing to reveal information in situations where viewers will tend toward not applying scrutiny. It also helps that...

        Their approach to marketing themselves is (or at least was) fun, while also managing to reveal information in situations where viewers will tend toward not applying scrutiny.

        It also helps that they're right on a few things that are fairly obvious yet no one with common sense will admit.

        [MEME ABOUT HOW CLINTONS BELONG IN PRISON]

        [MEME ABOUT HOW CLINTONS BELONG IN PRISON]

        [MEME ABOUT HOW CLINTONS BELONG IN PRISON]

        [MEME ABOUT HOW CLINTONS BELONG IN PRISON]

        [WELL RESEARCHED AND CITED POST MAKING CASE FOR WHY SO]

        And after you get a few factually-correct yet inconvenient things, people will start assuming that the memes tend toward more truth than not. Slowly start increasing the controversy and absurdity of what you're putting out at this point.

        Highlighting that say, George Soros, is a bad person, will look correct on the surface (and largely is, he's basically the worst kind of person, but not in the way they imply), but then you can add more (fake) nuance to it, then start implying that he's part of a group (cabal is a popular term for them to use, obviously started from a point of racism but it's doubtful most of them understand that), and bam, tie it together with a few similar situations and you can start implicating people almost pseudorandomly, seeming entirely rational while you do so.

        12 votes
        1. [3]
          Omnicrola
          Link Parent
          I realize at this particular moment that I hear Soro's name bandied about all the time and haven't actually really dug into why. I fear the avalanche of misinformation that google will bring about...

          I realize at this particular moment that I hear Soro's name bandied about all the time and haven't actually really dug into why. I fear the avalanche of misinformation that google will bring about such a well known controversial opinion. From Wikipedia he seems like a wealthy guy who has exploited markets and wielded influence on a worldwide basis to accomplish a variety of goals while also contributing huge sums to philanthropic causes. Seems like...... a rich guy?

          6 votes
          1. Loire
            Link Parent
            Yep. He's a billionaire. Does typical billionaire things. He is vaguely liberal-ish with his donations and philanthropy so somehow he became the (((boogeyman))) for the aokt right though.

            Yep. He's a billionaire. Does typical billionaire things.

            He is vaguely liberal-ish with his donations and philanthropy so somehow he became the (((boogeyman))) for the aokt right though.

            7 votes
          2. Eva
            Link Parent
            More or less, yeah; exploiting/manipulating markets. If you can't tell, I'm vaguely in the "Most Conventional Billionaires Are Terrible People" camp.

            More or less, yeah; exploiting/manipulating markets.

            If you can't tell, I'm vaguely in the "Most Conventional Billionaires Are Terrible People" camp.

            2 votes
      2. ubergeek
        Link Parent
        It appeals to base instincts, really.

        It appeals to base instincts, really.

        5 votes
    5. Akir
      Link Parent
      Thank you for telling us about your personal experience. I personally believe that not everyone can be "saved" from this kind of thing. My father was also a "convert", but can you guess what the...

      Thank you for telling us about your personal experience. I personally believe that not everyone can be "saved" from this kind of thing. My father was also a "convert", but can you guess what the root reason why he made that leap? It turns out he was a psychopath, plain and simple. You can't argue people out of psychopathy.

      Honestly, everything about either side of this conversation seems to be oversimplifying the phenomenon a little too much; I just posted this one because it seemed to be closer to the truth.

      I do believe that it is possible to persuade conservative people to come to the left, but it is exhausting and can be monumentally difficult. You need to be able to show them a different world and find some way so they don't approach it as an outsider so they don't dismiss the truth. That can be very difficult indeed.

      4 votes