In regard to whether or not rightwing crazies can ever change, Matt writes:
In American society there are social rewards and reinforcement for being a right wing nut, especially in the demographic you mention. Plus there’s so much of the propaganda around… I don’t even know where you would find a liberal talk show on the radio dial, and I live on one of the coasts. The reason people stop being liberal is because it’s basically unacceptable among regular white American adults. Short answer to your question: No. Never.
I think Matt has an excellent point. Most American Whites are simply cowards. Now, all my life since 1980, I have been living in towns where almost every White person was a rightwing lunatic. In these places, almost everyone just went along with the program.
The swingers, the people having 3-ways and going to go LSD-fueled sex orgies, the gays, the bisexuals, the surfers screwing 100+ women and girls a year, the weirdest and craziest punk rockers and Goths, the drug dealers, even those dealing large quantities of LSD, pot and cocaine, my friends in some cases my idols and heroes, everyone was a Republican!
There really wasn’t any thought to it. People were simply Republicans because everyone else was. I was always a liberal Democrat, and there have always been some pretty extreme penalties for having that philosophy – a lot of rejection and ostracism. In towns like that, a lot of White liberals are actually fired for their politics. For instance, if you put a liberal bumper sticker on your car and the boss sees it, you will usually get fired.
Now, I’m a pretty strong person, plus I think Republicanism is a scum of the Earth philosophy. So I defied everyone and put up with all of the problems and rejection that came with that. But I figure most Whites are just not as strong as I am, plus they don’t care about politics that much. Obviously, in the towns I lived in, the easy way out would have been to be a Republican like all my friends. All I did was cause myself a lot of problems just for the good of my ideology and that one vote that was typically wasted.
I’ve never known anyone who went from Hard Right to liberal. I’ve known some folks who went from Crazy Right to Obama-style Centrism. Or at least that’s how they vote. I’ve known some liberal and moderate Republicans who turned into some sort of liberals. It seems like the liberal and moderate Republicans can transition over to some type of liberalism.
The real Dittohead whackjobs would seem to have a hard time of that. For one thing, the Dittohead kooks would have to move to liberalism and then admit that they were wrong before. For some reason, the real rightwing crazies seem to have a really hard time admitting that they were wrong about their politics. The ones I know, I don’t think that they could ever do that.
People can move from liberalism to conservatism and admit they were wrong as liberals, but there’s some weird about rightwing wackos. There’s something about the Insane Right philosophy that makes it hard for people to admit that there is anything wrong about their rightwing nuttiness. Liberals will quite often admit that they were wrong. Is it that liberals are more open-minded and conservatism is all about closed-mindedness?
The Hard Right types also seem to be much more emotionally invested in it than people are in liberalism.
With the ones I have known, it seems to get worse the longer they remain invested in Rightwing Insanity. It’s like it would be easier to abandon after 5 years of it then after 40 years. I just can’t see them losing face by admitting that they were wrong for all of those years.