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How to Convince a Conservative: Stage 1 - Pushback, De-otherization, De-education

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Thunaraz
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Joined: 14-07-17
Jan 24 2018 22:58
How to Convince a Conservative: Stage 1 - Pushback, De-otherization, De-education

So...

TL;DR - Met a friend at work. He knows im an ancom. Thought he had workerist sympathies or was maybe apolitical. turns out he is a conservative republican. So now we're in a weeks long debate and im trying to convert him as a project/experiment/im bored at work. Scroll to the next set of dashes to skip intro.

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I made a friend at work a while ago. He's the NICEST dude ever. Very giving, humble, generous, and just kind of an all around comradely, decent guy. Helped me on numerous occasions and has never once asked for or expected reciprocation. He doesn't even LET me give back to him what I borrow. He wont have it. When we first met by chance at work, we were surprised to learn that we are both long-time users of a certain herbal opioid agonist that left twitter and podcasters seem to be so very fond of. We became fast friends, we traded and shared {REDACTED}, he is my only friend at my work and it was good to finally find one because I am sometimes an abrasive person.

At first I absolutely had no idea of his political views. There was one conversation we had soon after meeting where he said that he had previously been a liberal but that had changed over time. I didn't really care. that wasn't the basis of our friendship.

At work I babble about politics a lot. I pretty much express my real views, but I leave out the ideas about armed insurrection and I don't put a name to it unless youre a close friend. Though nobody really cares. I speak to management face to face everyday and have never once gotten in trouble for it. they're a pretty relaxed bunch, luckily.

One day new friend came to me and said "The courts are screwing me over right now so I might be switching to your side haha" I got hopeful. he elaborated on his situation but we didn't talk about politics, just talked shit about traffic court.

As you may have guessed, it finally came up. we have a chat client we use at our desks and I messaged him one day saying "I'll turn you into a dang commie if its the last thing I do!" He then clarified that he was a conservative republican and was not at all open to anarcho-communism in terms of switching sides. for some reason, THIS REALLY RUFFLED MY FEATHERS even though I had been joking. And so began the debate.

Now this is a weeks long debate. His support of unregulated capitalism, minimal government, and hardline rejection of communism or any modern organization associated with it against my {insert shit you already know}. I have to tell ya I was really blindsided by some of the shit this guy believes. In some ways he is the most levelheaded person I've ever met. In others, he tows the party line from whatever facebook post he read about antifa yesterday.

He says that he thinks anarcho-communism is interesting and that he genuinely wants to know more about it, to study it and understand why I believe in it. So I decided to do the same thing. I wanted to understand why this really nice guy believes in such things.

So I decided to make a project of this guy. I decided that I want to learn how to convince a conservative that revolutionary anarchist communism is the cat's pajamas.

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Our first conversation was him telling me that he thinks communism, even anarchist communism will be more oppressive than a capitalist liberal democracy. He does acknowledge there are many things wrong with the current setup and capitalism but that communism is worse. This was really predictable. I'm sure we're all tired of that conversation. I mostly just asked him more questions about what he thinks of stuff like that and certain specifics about why he supports capitalism, etc.

So yeah, the first day of talk was mostly me feeling him out and answering just a couple questions of his as hes totally new to the idea in terms of actually approaching it and trying to understand it. I have a transcript of the conversation but i dont wana copy and paste cuz work reasons yadayadayada.

Pushback

He railed pretty vehemently against my ideas. He's under the impression that capitalism has propelled mankind forward in most ways and is the reason we have what little freedom we do have, as well as the prosperity than the USA enjoys. So as you can tell i have my work cut out for me. He does ackowledge many of the horrors of capitalism and generally speaking is anti-establishment even towards the Republican Party. He's pretty moderate really and is absolutely not a Trump supporter, in his own words. So even though the path ahead is bumpy and shitty and he has given me quite a task its not NEARLY as bad is it could be, as y'all know. After he gave me a lot of shit against communism and the left in general it devolved into playful banter about each others ideas, making jokes, etc. It seems there are some the shittier typical traits that conservatives tend to have that he just doesn't seem to have, maybe due to previously being a liberal or just kind of being a nice person.

De-otherization and De-education

^ not a real word?

So I then tried to convince him of a few things. I did my best to paint AnCom in a totally different light because he has plenty of preconceived notions of what it is. Mainly I was trying to make sure he understands that these ideas and beliefs were simply a way of maximizing the amount of freedom and prosperity for all of humanity, and also to make sure he understands that we, as fellow poor working class folks, stand to gain our freedom by putting those ideas into action. It seems like he has read a bunch fake articles on facebook about ANTIFA doing violent stuff to people who aren't like them etc etc and it has really infected his view of the radical left. not surprising in the least. I was able to gain some ground in changing his understanding though by being methodical, patient, and trying not to get too offended by how silly some of the things he believes are. I'm really trying to capitalize (lol) on the fact that hes really against the establishment republicans and state. Its a decent place to start. It seems like is change to conservatism has a lot to do with both his interest in guns and dissatisfaction with the democratic party. I really really clung to his hatred of the democrats like a lifeboat.

I think I really really made some progress and he really wants to understand my ideas. ofcourse im not the best person in the world to do this kind of thing but we relate a lot. he grew up real real country, as did i, way down in the deep south. This is the first chapter that I will leave in just this post. I have more to tell and will do another post.

so for now so far so good.

If anyone or the mods thinks this post is inappropriate or shouldn't be on this site or in the forums just let me know

Thunaraz
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Joined: 14-07-17
Jan 24 2018 22:58

so, lemme know if ya think this is worth posting about.

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jondwhite
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Joined: 23-10-12
Jan 25 2018 16:55

If someone is calling themselves a 'conservative' it might be a wasted effort trying to convince them otherwise. What you haven't mentioned is 'class' so it might be worth asking him about the 'class struggle'. If you're from the USA, you could ask him about Eugene Debs, Helen Keller and Upton Sinclair. Is he into reading books?

Thunaraz
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Jan 25 2018 20:40

Yeah im prepared for it to be a waste. He has said hes not open to "being converted" yet he shows a hell of a lot interest in everything i talk about. About class, thats a good point. He does have some, if skewed, idea of clAss consciousness. Theres development past what ive posted here that im gonna post soon in more detail. I am more or less approaching this with a light heart, as light as one can be when angry, poor, radical, and ranting about such things. I wanna make sure i dont scare him away because despite the odds and what he says, i think theres much potential.

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gram negative
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Jan 27 2018 01:30

talkibg to your coworkers and the people in your life about your values and opinions is a positve experience regardless of what happens with that person. too often people shy away from sharing their views, including myself. the important thing to note here is that the reason you are able to have his level of candor with him is your underlying relationship.

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jondwhite
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Jan 27 2018 09:40

I think reading Noam Chomsky was what swung it for me so you could suggest that.

Thunaraz
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Jan 27 2018 18:31
gram negative wrote:
talkibg to your coworkers and the people in your life about your values and opinions is a positve experience regardless of what happens with that person. too often people shy away from sharing their views, including myself. the important thing to note here is that the reason you are able to have his level of candor with him is your underlying relationship.

I would say so. Its so disheartening sometimes. we've talked quite a lot further than what ive typed here. our relationships as fellow workers, cogs in someone elses machine, tools in the project, colors our existence. from passing remarks about getting a ticket for an accidental expired tag, to having trouble getting a good appntmnt time at a hospital, to eating mostly junk food as the price of produce is ridiculous. our shared class identity is not but a mantle we wear together but it has colored our entire existence. together.

the disheartening part is that he just cant ever accept the reality of it all. I know that's a weird way to put it but you know what I mean. he comes right to the edge of understanding. but he backs out. he's complacent.

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Rommon
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Jan 29 2018 08:57

sometimes intellectual arguments work, sometimes they don't. I come from a conservative christian background but not conservative in the American sense (militarism & neo-liberalism), but growing up I always saw my father standing up for the poorest of the poor, especially living in a part of Mexico where the class difference was Extreme; seeing that forced me to notice injustice when otherwise it would have gone un-noticed. He never was political, never was actually anti-capitalist; but he did have a very strong sense of standing up for the poor and disempowered.

For example, a bunch of Rich kids in an ice cream shop talking Down to an older man working there, my father would make sure the kids didn't get away With talking Down to that man. That suddenly forces one to think why those Rich kids think like they do, why class exists, and so on.

Also being poor for a time period and stuggling makes you notice Things.

The Place of books and the such is helpful to Challenge frameworks ... but I think in the end I think it's usually some experience that makes someone think "ok, I'm definately against this".

If I were to pick one book however I would say David Graeber's "Debt", mainly because it so brilliantly brakes apart the liberal-economic Mythology in a way that makes it seem so obvious you can't believe anyone has ever believed it.