The social costs of left-to-right political change

The social costs of left-to-right political change. By Neo.

It was nearly twenty years ago (!) that I made my own political transition — which, by the way, was from relatively moderate Democrat to somewhat-libertarian conservative — and the political climate was different then. It was already hostile and bitter, but not even close to as extreme as it is now.

Would I have done the same in the current climate? Yes. But I understand that one reason it’s so difficult to do, and one reason a person might adopt a stance of not wanting to hear information contrary to the beliefs that person already holds, is that it is now extremely threatening to make that particular change. …

It now potentially involves jobs, business opportunities, and friendships. Sometimes it also involves marital tension and even dissolution, heartbreaking conflict with relatives including one’s own children, and even the threat of imprisonment depending on how activist one becomes. Social media shunning and viral calls for cancellation are also possible. …

When I underwent my own political change most of this had not yet escalated to that point. And yet even back then I risked — and experienced — social disapproval and hostility from some friends and relatives.

Yep, that happened to us too.

I had previously been so naive as to be unaware of even the possibility that that would be happening, and so it came as a real shock. For most people today, such a reaction on the part of their friends and family would almost certainly not come as a shock, because it would be difficult to be that naive in the current climate. … Who wants to become a pariah?

So make new friends.

About a third of the victims of conmen never acknowledge they were conned. They go on believing the lies, even after the lies are revealed and explained to them.

It’s easier to not expose yourself to views that could challenge your belief system, particularly when you’ve been told for most of your life (and almost everyone around you believes) that those sources are unreliable and even mendacious.

To understand that it is more the opposite, and that the sources you have trusted your entire life are much more pervaded by lies and that you have previously swallowed them, is very very difficult to acknowledge. So most people don’t want to risk even the distant possibility and reject it out of hand.

The left has always operated largely through social ostracism and bullying. That’s what keeps them so well-disciplined, always believing the same things and changing their beliefs at the same instant.

Islam does the same. It’s the only “religion” where the penalty for apostates is death. Islamic scholars credit this with the existence of Islam, saying it would have died out centuries ago otherwise.

Totalitarian ideologies always operate largely by force. They do not survive if people are allowed to walk away.