September 2nd, 2017

Interesting change story with great quote about the process of political change

The young man in the following video tells his political change story, and in doing so he describes a process that I think—having contemplated the process of political change myself for about a decade and a half—is the heart of the matter. The quote begins around 1:06 or so, and I’ve transcribed it:

So it became fairly evident very quickly that these people [many of his fellow progressives, who he describes as being proponents of “an authoritative sort of progressivism”] weren’t actually standing up for anything relating to liberty. They were just standing up for a divisuve brand of politics that would tolerate no dissent whatsoever.

I’ve always tried my best to think as clearly and logically as I can. And that necessarily entails poking as many holes as I can in my own beliefs, until I’ve managed to narrow in on the beliefs that best model the world, or at least that model the world a little more accurately than my beliefs did before.

What I think is so marvelous about that quote is that it describes two elements very well. The first element is that it’s quite obvious that this man sets a premium on liberty. I’ve referred to liberty as “the great dividing line,” and noted that some liberals value it and others don’t, and that this particular difference is an enormously important one:

I don’t know the relative size of the two groups, because I don’t seek out political discussions with my friends and family; I don’t want get-togethers to degenerate into the useless, repetitive, unproductive arguments I witnessed in my youth, which they easily could, with me now as the sole conservative. But I know that those two groups exist, and I think that what differentiates them are (a) the person’s need to control others and/or society; and (b) the degree that the person thinks he/she can do so effectively and get the desired results.

Among most of my friends their motives are “good”—that is, they want people to be happier, healthier, and in general just better. Some leftists I know have the same motivation (I would add that most of the people who think they are doing good are also motivated by the need to feel that they are good people for wanting that). But many leftists—we’re talking about quite a few of the leaders of the movement, and certainly people such as Stalin—have a different motivation: they are motivated almost purely by the desire for power and control.

There is an unholy alliance between the two groups. The first is the much-larger pack of would-be do-gooders who believe that liberalism is the way to go about it, whose minds are formed by a combination of their families growing up, present-day peers, the MSM, eduction, politicians, literature, the entertainment business, and in some cases their “progressive” churches and synagogues. The second is the smaller but extremely influential group of leftist activists, some proudly out as unrepentant “progressives,” and some just quietly going about their business, some motivated by the desire for power/control plus the idea that they’re doing “good,” and the rest just wanting the power/control part.

I believe that this dividing line of liberty represents two very different types of people, and that it’s rare that someone from one group turns into someone from the other although it might happen on occasion. It’s also my observation that left-to-right political changers tend to be disproportionately drawn from the group that highly values liberty. What’s more, during the last decade in this country, the Democratic Party has become more and more populated by people who do not.

The second element the man in the video talks about is also key: the desire to poke “as many holes as I can in my own beliefs, until I’ve managed to narrow in on the beliefs that best model the world.” Long ago I used to think everyone felt like that, but it became abundantly clear to me about fifteen years ago that it wasn’t that way at all. Many or perhaps even most people ( (on left or right, I might add) cling tenaciously to what they already believe, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. That’s why a mind is a difficult thing to change. And so change is much more likely in people who already have the habit of challenging their own beliefs.

[NOTE: You may have noticed that this video has a subtitle: “My Red Pill Story.” That’s a reference to the movie “The Matrix.” It refers to a moment in your life that completely changes your outlook about the makeup of the world or politics (and not just politics). Here’s the quote from the movie:

“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” ―Morpheus, to Neo [not me; the character in the movie] The term redpill refers to a human that is aware of the true nature of the Matrix.

There are a ton of videos at YouTube on the subject, and although it sometimes refers to a left-to-right political change, it more often refers more specifically to leaving feminism or rejecting feminist beliefs:

The term “red pill” has been used by people in the men’s rights movement as a metaphor for the specific moment when they come to the belief that certain gender roles they are expected to conform to (e.g. marriage, monogamy) are intended to benefit women, not themselves…

The term “red pill” or “red-pilling” is common on 4chan’s “politically incorrect” /pol/ board, where taking the red pill refers to being presented with both sides of an issue (usually with a particular focus on the controversial or unpopular opinion).]

33 Responses to “Interesting change story with great quote about the process of political change”

  1. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    The more I reflect upon this issue, the more convinced I am that the degree to which an individual embraces just three values determines their openness to change.

    As neo points out, valuing liberty is critical.

    The other two critical values are reason and acceptance of reality.

    Reason: using the process of logic to form our opinions.
    “I’ve always tried my best to think as clearly and logically as I can.”

    Reality: what is, rather than what we wish were so.
    “until I’ve managed to narrow in on the beliefs that best model the world

    All ‘isms’ on the left, to one degree or another, reject key aspects of reality.

    Reality is our corrective feedback mechanism.

    Reason is the process that allows our subjective viewpoints to be compared to an external objective standard.

    Liberty rests upon the proposition that individuals free to live their lives as they see fit, within the constraint of noninterference with other people’s lives, best serves society.

    Pres. Jefferson, Sen. Webster and the author R.A. Heinlein all asserted that humanity’s primary determinate was between those who wish to control others and those who do not.

  2. Ymar Sakar Says:

    The Red Pill again, heh.

  3. parker Says:

    Instead of a silver spoon, I was born with a ‘red pill’. I admire those who change from left to right. They have the ability to question and the honesty to admit what they once believed does not square up with reality.

    Enjoy the holiday and the company of family and friends.

  4. seya Says:

    I know this may be out of topic, but its also tells his political change story>

    I just want readers for this blog to know the serous development about ISIS and their followers & their slaves wives now it appears that tyrant regime in Syria and Hezbollah (Nasrallah ) arranging protected corridor to move ISIS to East border of Syria near Iraqi borders??

    This is a serious development and move by Iranian proxy tyrant regime and Iranian proxy ISIS & Hezbollah (Arabic Text).

    This very provable that ISIS are supported by Mullah of Tehran also Tyrant regime in Syria also Hezbollah who keep chanting with his proxy Irian a Death to America & Israel and burring the their flags”

  5. JK Brown Says:

    Here is a concise statement of what he experienced from his friends

    “This is the necessary unavoidable consequence of the fact that, according to Marxist doctrine, you do not consider the possibility of dissent among honest people; either you think as I do, or you are a traitor and must be liquidated.”

    von Mises, Ludwig (1952). Marxism Unmasked

  6. Matt_SE Says:

    I came to the conclusion long ago that human understanding was flawed, and so it was incumbent upon us to constantly realign our beliefs until we started arriving at a reasonable representation of reality.

    I’ve noticed over the years that many people don’t share that belief, and will believe whatever nonsense they want to believe if it makes them feel good.

    Quite simply, some people believe objective truth exists even if it’s difficult to know, and some people don’t believe it exists at all.

  7. Usweke Alambo Says:

    Unfortunately, the writer negates his whole argument due to the lack of qualifying skin pigmentation. So-called facts, logic and reasoning are social constructs imposed by the supremacist cis-male power structure.

  8. Francis W. Porretto Says:

    I’ve referred to liberty as “the great dividing line,” and noted that some liberals value it and others don’t…

    Beware the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Many “liberals” who claim to value “liberty” don’t mean what you and I mean by it. They seek to incorporate a great many pseudo-rights in the concept — assertive “rights” that destroy the liberty the Constitution and Bill of Rights were composed to protect.

    The damage done to our political lexicon — almost exclusively by the Left — makes such warnings imperative.

  9. Scottie Says:

    Although both sides have those that hold beliefs without examining them as the author notes, it’s my experience that once someone begins questioning their beliefs they begin a long slow change to being a conservative. If you aren’t a liberal when you’re twenty you have no heart. If you aren’t a conservative when you’re forty you have no brain. As true today as when it was first posited. I’ve been watching Kirsten Powers slow motion conversion for example.

  10. wjt9g8ywg Says:

    Texans helping each other through the flooding have shown us that most people have goodness in them. It’s too bad politicians and journalists try to set us against each other because it generates votes and viewers. The alternative media is good because it covers stories the msm won’t cover, but the alternative media is just as dependent on generating anger, hate and fear. Too bad for our country.

  11. Lewin W. Wickes Says:

    I can thank my dad for my own questioning of commonly held beliefs. “Those ideas and beliefs that everybody around you takes for granted are exactly the ideas and beliefs you should question most. They may turn out to be right, but you won’t know until you have thoroughly questioned them.” So question the “compassion” of liberals, progressives, and Democrats. The more you question the more that “compassion” looks like hypocritical moral masturbation.

  12. submandave Says:

    Reading this post provided a bit of an epiphany. Leftists refuse to believe that others, especially conservatives, really want other people to succeed because while they may be willing to sacrifice their own liberty to do help them, they refuse to sacrifice everyone else’s.

  13. Uffdaphil Says:

    My conversion started about 1971 with the pithy epigraph in Atlas Shrugged – Check your premises. Just a wise sounding phrase until Rand expounded on it in the story. “Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.”

    I was working on a committee pumping out campus anti-war propaganda at the time. (Mainly to get close to a fiery redhead) It was like I woke up not even knowing I had taken the red pill. What was the source of the reams of “facts” that the new-leftist bigshots were handing us from which to construct inspiring flyers? How was it verified? Questions which got me shunned by both committee and girl.

    From that seed it took years to completely appreciate the breadth of the evil of the left. Bill Buckley, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Jerzy Kosiński helped speed things along.

  14. Cory Says:

    The kid hit the nail on the head. There are two kinds of control freaks in this world: Those who want to control you for their own good, and those who want to control you for your own good.

  15. Lawrence Larson Says:

    I think it’s fair to say that given human nature and the fact that most Americans grow up in suburban / urban environments, there will be more left-to-right political change stories. Emotional, inexperienced, idealistic youth being inculcated in a mostly liberal K-12 education system are no doubt a majority of our youth. However, reality yields to no ideology and so most “red pill” moments for American youth are going to result in youngsters moving to the right politically.

    I grew up in 1950-60s Palo Alto, CA and graduated from UC Berkeley in the early 1970s. I considered myself a militant environmentalist. Then I spent several years in my mid-twenties traveling through and living in third world countries–including both right- and left-wing tyrannies. My own red pill transition began when I read ludicrously inaccurate, tendentious US news magazine articles and commentary about the countries I was seeing first hand. When I returned and started a business and family, whatever gauzy leftist views of the world that remained were snuffed out by the real world.

    Those of us who have been on both the left and the right realize that reality is simply conservative. Period. (Has anybody ever heard of anybody going from left to right back to left?)

    My remaining unresolved question is how so many of my friends (some now former) can retain their leftist ideology despite having to navigate the adult world. In the end I think it can be chalked up to their desire to feel virtuous as a substitute for their abandoned faith in God.

  16. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Lawrence Larsen – left to right to left? A few. For those who want to be up-to-the-minute fashionable, leftism is always a magnet. Logic doesn’t enter into it anymore when you start having to pay the social price.

    This is why I will sometimes make a mildly challenging statement among liberals even when I know it is pointless and will cost me. I hope to create space for others present.

  17. Lawrence Larson Says:


    I concede your point, but that begs the question whether any of such people’s beliefs were ever sincerely enough held as to qualify as being real (rather than superficial). Once you’ve taken the red pill based on serious, rigorous examination of the premises of your belief system there’s really no going back. Unlearning the real ways of the world would pretty much be defined as going insane as far as I can see.

  18. GRA Says:

    I’m left to right and I’m in my twenties. I was red pilled when I figured that the left is mostly a hedonistic, relativistic and nihilistic world. It’s “whatev” until it’s not. I don’t think I’ll be entering the moderate world anytime soon too. They’re disposable.

  19. Ymar Sakar Says:

    This is why I will sometimes make a mildly challenging statement among liberals even when I know it is pointless and will cost me. I hope to create space for others present.

    Is that why you were projecting against me when you said I wanted to be right in another comment thread.

    That wasn’t mildly challenging, because you had something personal in it which escalated your division to personal not objective points.

  20. AesopFan Says:

    submandave Says:
    September 3rd, 2017 at 10:07 am
    Reading this post provided a bit of an epiphany. Leftists refuse to believe that others, especially conservatives, really want other people to succeed because while they may be willing to sacrifice their own liberty to do help them, they refuse to sacrifice everyone else’s.
    * * *
    Just as many conservatives willingly give money and time to charitable causes, but refuse to tax other people to do the same.
    Or, willingly supply private bathrooms to confused people, but refuse to force their daughters to shower and change with anatomically-complete males in the same room.

    I can’t be a full-metal libertarian, because there are certain minimal functions of government which are necessary for health, safety, and the maintenance of optimum freedom, and to some extent those who refuse to abide by the rules must be coerced into doing so, or prevented from causing harm.

    But any “conservative” who desires to impose moral or cultural or religious values by force is just as off-base as the Left.

    Heinlein’s Maxim of Ideology:
    “Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

  21. Ymar Sakar Says:

    The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.

    Btw, that conveniently puts anti fa, Mao, Stalin, Trotsky, FDR, and WIlson in the same camp.

    Power mad megalomania is less about personality traits and more about actions and consequences, which in turn, tend to look like a personality issue.

  22. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Lucifer originally had a problem with free will. Backwards engineered, it would be “if the power that rules over us is omniscient, then we do not have free will but merely the illusion of it”.

    Secondary: Since free will for angels and mortals are an illusion based upon power, all we need for humans is to make them obey the Divine Laws and it will provide salvation for everyone, irregardless of mortal weaknesses.

    Thus humans are divided into those who consider Lucifer their father and sugar daddy, and those who consider Jehovah as their father in the divine realm. Those who follow one camp of philosophy, tends to be biased towards that camp’s hierarchy.

  23. Peter A. Taylor Says:

    Is the issue liberty vs. power, or is it cognitive dissonance vs. peer pressure? Economist Bruce Yandle talks of political coalitions composed of venal “bootleggers” and high-minded “Baptists”, wanting to make alcohol sales illegal on Sundays. I can see that the leftist high rollers, the “bootleggers”, are likely to be motivated by power and wealth, but it seems to me that the rank and file are more likely to be motivated by virtue signaling and loyalty signaling.

  24. L.B. Says:

    I’ve referred to liberty as “the great dividing line

    The Left preaches licentious and equality in place of liberty.

    My take away from the video was his focus on how easily his *friends* lied and how they preferred lies over the truth.

    “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

  25. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Some people don’t want to be free, they prefer the Matrix, a reality created by delusions and benevolent AI.

    One thing people were never told was that Harriet Tubman carried a pistol. This was not expressly to counter bounty hunters from slave lords, but to threaten escaped slaves that wanted to go back to Massa. These house slaves couldn’t handle the open field and freedom was more scary than the whip and the oppression. However, Tubman was responsible for the railroad safehouse identites, so she could not allow them to go back.

    Any slave that refused freedom, would be executed. Then you’ll be free in death even if you refused freedom in life.

  26. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Once again, death is one of the only powers able to resolve the problems of the Leftist alliance. But not the source of evil, that requires a different pov.

  27. AesopFan Says:

    In the usual devious manner of the interwebz, I found this round of commentary from SlateStarCodex last year on the very question of political change.
    Anyone with time to spare might peruse it.
    Lots of libertarians and anarchists, but most of the changes were L to R of some kind.

    This one, to start the ball rolling, is actually an R to L back to R-ish:
    ” I stopped believing in Christianity at 14 over the issue of creationism. Reading the classic arguments against the Bible lead to Enlightenment philosophy in general, and I bought into it completely. Then I was the first in my family to go to college, and I was ready to buy into the tribal identity associated with it, be a feminist and yada yada.
    Yet… the whole Richard Rorty line that professors and university administrators are “we Socratics, we lumieres” turned out to be a bald-faced lie. There was nothing liberal about college. There were speech codes, women in niqabs, plays about how anyone uncomfortable around niqabs is a bigot… I came to the conclusion that Blues hadn’t believed in liberalism for a long time. Rather they were post-Communists like their idol Foucault.

    Now obviously not every Democrat on the West Coast and not every millenial online are as extreme as the irrational hegemony enforced at university. But they say nothing against it. All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been committed for fear of not looking sufficiently progressive.* And all that jazz.

    *Charles Peguy, 19-oh-freaking-5.”
    Oonly that last sentence is Peguy’s — who also had a change from L to R in ideology
    He also said, among other trenchant maxims:
    “Tyranny is always better organized than freedom.”

    The “evil men” quote has a murky provenance.

  28. kevino Says:

    As you well know, getting people to break out of their bubble and changing their political affiliation is very, very difficult.

  29. L.B. Says:

    Another Red Pill conversions:

  30. richard40 Says:

    This article also confirms why the libertarians are valuable to conservatism, because if a liberal is ever going to convert to conservatism, they normally stop first at libertarianism along the journey.

  31. Harry the Extremist Says:

    “The Red Pill” reference for feminist changers stems from a documentary by Cassie Jaye, a self-described liberal democrat who had made a couple of prior documentaries that won her awards and acclimation prior to producing a (GASP!), even handed documentary about feminism that included un-editorialized voices of male rights advocates. For that crime she was shunned by the MSM and handed a ration of vitriol from militant feminist groups. Her film-making career now most likely in the crapper, but you can check her out on youtube…for now.

  32. Harry the Extremist Says:

    Sorry for the Alex Jones interview. Here’s Cassie Jaye explaining herself.:

  33. Dave Says:

    My red pill moment was the george zimmerman trial and cnn especially sunny hostin. Still remember the first time i saw george zimmerman on tv, i was completely taken aback by it, “so this Hispanic guy is the white supremacist they were talking about” I remember I was thinking to myself.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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