Tactics to Convert Right Wingers? Are these tactics the same as converting religious fundies?

Is there any difference between converting a far right winger and a religious fundamentalist? 


Some background


I'm sure just about all of us know a right winger or two, perhaps more.  Some of these right wing fundamentalists may be very close to us, our friends/co-workers or to members of our families. 


I have a family member (not in my immediate family, but close) that I'm concerned about.  I'm hoping the AN group can help me with some conversion tactics.   I'll refer to him as "RW" (right winger). 


About RW:


RW has had Rush and co invading and hi-jacking his brain for years.  He avidly follows Rush, Beck, Mark Levin as well as local right wing programming.  He buys damn near all of Becks stupid ass books.  He listens to RW radio ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT.   RW believes every word he reads and hears from these demagogues and he has been convinced that every other viewpoint is wrong  - way wrong.


RW has a large network of fellow right wingers. 


RW has a "Don't Tread on Me" icon as his facebook profile pic.  Well over 90% of his facebook posts are right wing propaganda.  He has a large following (over 500 facebook friends), including children.


RW is indoctrinating his teenage children.  His 3 kids "like" Bush, Reagan, Beck and "conservative" facebook fan pages.


RW is Christian.  Raised Methodist but converted to Catholisim when he married into our family.  He is an active member of the church.


RW and I used to get into FB battles - until I de-friended him.  I had to for two reasons.  I have a job and can't spend all day battling it out on social networks (he does not have such limitations) and I feared that one of us would write something that would break our ties permanently.  We haven't conversed in several months.


I did some research and came up with this article:

Fighting Words: How to Humiliate -- and Convert -- a Right-Winger

What do you think, is this a viable technique?  Shame, ridicule and humiliation?  Do you have other recommendations that are less confrontational, but still effective?  Personal experiences to share?  References?  Anything? 


As always I'd appreciate your advise.  I'm sure others with similiar problems will as well.

Tags: Conservativism, Fundamentalism, Right, Wingers

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for responding Park. Yes, I know RW put as much thought into picking a political position as he did his religion - none.

Re RW's personality type, I'd call him the prototypical "Strict Father" described in chapter 4 of Lakoff's "Thinking Points"

In a nutshell, Lakoff's description of absolutist, hierarchal, rule driven, disciplinarian fits RW almost perfectly.

I know that there won't be a simple answer. Unlike RW, I get how complex things are, especially when dealing with emotions. I'm just hoping that someone has had some success that will help shed some light on what approaches might work the best.
What about taking the opposite approach and attacking the core beliefs? Perhaps even his religion and God belief? If I can get him to question his God belief, would that translate over to questioning all his beliefs?

Perhaps I attempt to chop the tree down at the trunk instead of trying to cut off each individual branch? It would take more swings of the axe, a sharp blade, heavier blows, a lot of sweat but would not that be the best way to take down a tree vs from the top down?
yes it does - thanks.

"very rarely will attacking that core of a person lead to a productive change... and even if it was successful, it could lead to an identity crisis and turmoil in their lives as they try to figure out who they really are. think of a MID LIFE CRISIS. thats essentially what would happen"

and this "MID LiFE CRISIS" is one of the best things that ever happened to me. This is exactly how I gave up my religion, God belief and political positions, and how I learned how to become a skeptic and critical thinker (work in process still).

The AN is full of people who dropped the core beliefs in their religion, and subsequently, their god belief. Certainly nothing is more foundational than that. Was this a gradual process or a sudden "shock"? Im sure it's a continuoum from left to right, but for me, it was a shock, and a good one at that.

This shock caused me to become highly skeptical of all my beliefs, especially my political views. I was not nearly as far "right" as RW, perhaps because I never listened to Rush, but I certainly was an unabashed and proud conservative.

Am I an anomoly? I don't really know, but I do know that the "shock" approach worked for me. Yea, I know, evidence from personal experience is not necessarily valid, and I have not seen any studies, but I have read a lot of stories, and I mean a lot, where people have had similiar experiences. I know Matt Dillihunty from Atheist Experience advocates for the "shock and awe" approach to deconversion.

I suppose the difference between RW and I is that I gave the shock to myself, vs getting the cattle prod from someone else. I THINK I would have came to the same conclusions, but I didn't go through that, so can't be conclusive.
"I personally have found philosophy especially helpful, because its easy to pick a persons conviction, question it, and then lead them to a better response"

Can you elaborate on this? What type of philosophy, how did you use it, and do you have any reco's on introductory philophy readings?
Depends on how racist or war-mongering they are. Rabbits foot?
Ask em', why vote for a so-called leader that is so pro-life yet so anti-people?


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