Saturday, May 23, 2009

How to Deprogram a Leftist in One Year Or Less

That is a good question, the only cure against ignorance is learning, in order to learn there have to be a will to do so.
To reprogram a leftist is a like converting a believer, a believer is driven by most part by feelings and emotions, not by reason, rationality or common sense.
Feelings are important to suppress reason, the feelings of superiousity, the feelings of Über-morality, the feelings of holding the 'truth', feelings of righteousness, feelings of faux goodness and so forth.
Feelings are important to seduce the individual into castrating the intellect and suppressing scepticism, to ask questions about the rationality of the believe.

For a leftist to get out of the mind trap and down from the cuckou cloud the leftist must have a desire or incentive to do so, a catalyst of some kind to trigger the neurons for reprogramming the mind's software stuck on stupid and infantility, rediscovering the learning proces of reason and rational thinking instead of feelings and emotions acting like instincts in primitive patterns steering a herd for survival in the non-sentient security of unity in numbers.

It takes courage to break with conformity, like that of a rebel and it is not without risk to be ostracized from what has been perceived as the unity where everything not belonging in the Utopian and narrow universe is the 'enemy' and has to be destroyed for the greater good of the herd which holds the 'truth'.

Someone has got to lead the way at times and show that every man is an island, a unique individual and a sentient human being of reason - One of those people is Robin who describes her voyage back to humanity.

How to Deprogram a Leftist in One Year Or Less

By Robin of Berkeley - The American Thinker

So what do you do when you realize that everything you've ever thought and believed no longer worked for you? Where do you go when the bubble of progressive politics bursts in your face and you're left in the leftist place on earth? It seems that the choices are as follows: either you cling to your beliefs even more zealously and attack anyone who dares to disagree. Or, if you're like me, you embark on a journey of discovery and recovery.

I wrote another piece recently for American Thinker, a letter of amends to conservatives. In it I described why I transformed from a Berkeley leftist to a talk radio loving conservative the last 1 1/2 years. I realized the Democratic Party wasn't what I thought, that it had mutated into something mean and rough, and that I had probably been living in a fantasy world all along. I very much appreciated the outpouring of support, wisdom, and forgiveness from American Thinker readers.

Many said something to the effect of: Robin, congrats, but what in the world took you so long? So let me explain. I wasn't just your garden variety liberal who voted Democrat and that was about it. I was a true believer. A zealot. Like many leftists who had abandoned Judeo-Christian religion, I worshipped at the altar of liberalism. For instance, I never missed watching the Democratic National Convention. I watched every speech, with tissue box handy. (What kind of a freak was I anyway?) The Democratic Party symbolized hope, love, compassion, promise, everything that was good and holy in the world. I gave money, my time, my heart, my soul. I cried with joy when Democrats won; I was distraught when they lost.

I was programmed from birth to be a devout liberal. My dad, a hard working first generation Russian Jew, would lecture me on a regular basis, "The Democrats are the party of the little people. The Republicans are the party of the rich guy." He would also get a little weepy when he watched the DNC (so that must be where I got it from). One of our rare moments of bonding was reading the newspapers together on opposite ends of the couch, interrupting each other with stories about the bad Republicans and the heroic Democrats.

When I was in high school in the early 70's in New York, I wrote impassioned essays on civil rights and on feminism. In college, in the days before universities became indoctrination factories, I searched for politically left classes, and took every one I could find. I spent years in consciousness raising groups lambasting male oppression with other angry feminists, and yelled "Two Four Six Eight, Pornography is Woman Hate," at numerous marches.

When I was 26, I parked myself in the People's Republic of Berkeley, CA, the epicenter of the far left. I came as a liberal but soon morphed into a leftist as most people here do. In Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland, and the outlying towns, there is no Republican Party. Literally. There are only Democrats running against other Democrats. I recall years ago going to vote at a time when there were separate lines for Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats' line was a mile long. The Republican's was free and clear. After we all stood there waiting for 45 minutes, a brave young man walked up to the Republican booth and quickly voted. I still recall the cackles and giggles as we pointed and stared at this odd, exotic bird that had come to perch for a brief while.

So maybe you get now how hard it was, how disorienting and destabilizing and crazy making it was, when I realized about 1 1/2 years ago that I no longer believed in liberalism. I walked around in a confused state for weeks. Being a Democrat, a liberal, a far left radical from Berkeley was a big part of my identity. So who the heck was I if I weren't a leftist? And what in the world would I do, given that my husband, all my friends, and all my psychotherapist clients were liberal and I would be public enemy #1 if I told anyone? Converting from Islam to Judaism, yet still hanging out in front of the old mosque in Kabul, probably would have been easier.

After weeks of shuffling around like a zombie, it was time to do something about it. The first step, I decided, was deprogramming myself from decades of liberal propaganda. Out went books by Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Michael Parenti, and various 9/11 conspiracy books. In came Mark Levin, Ben Stein, Ron Paul, and Ayn Rand. I heard something vaguely about Talk Radio, so I scanned my AM dial, and found Michael Savage. I was shocked and offended by his diatribes -- but also oddly intrigued. I found many others: Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, Boortz, Medved, all of whom became my "sponsors" in recovery this last year. I found wonderfully insightful websites like American Thinker.

To my disbelief, the more I listened and read, the more these folks made sense. For instance, at first I couldn't understand why so many conservatives expressed concern about morality issues, like gay marriage. Berkeley is Lesbian Central, and I know many good hearted gay people. But the more I learned, the more I started getting the larger picture; that conservatives were not necessarily impugning the character of gay people, but they were alarmed at the breakdown of traditional values. If the basic structure of society goes, e.g., traditional marriage, religion, patriotism, common language, what remains? If everything becomes fluid, what is there to hold onto? Without any moral structure and traditions, a society descends into anarchy and mob rule, as it is clearly doing today.

As I educated myself, I started thinking and rethinking. I'd wake up in the middle of the night with the sudden realization that deeply held beliefs made no sense. Take the anti war stance of the left. Noble and sanctimonious and all that. But how easy it is to sit back and preach peace when you have an army defending you; to rail against the U.S. when you are protected by free speech laws; to demonize Israel, when you've never lived through the murderous pogroms of Tsarist Russia or the Holocaust. How hypocritical to lambast Big Business while you are making money from their stocks in your mutual fund portfolio (that is, until Obama took over). And how ludicrous to admire Chavez, Castro and all things socialist, when the closest experience you've had to standing on a bread line is queuing up for goat cheese/arugula pizza at Whole Foods.

And this love affair with Radical Islam -- what's up with that? I had previously thought of Islam as a quaint, folksy religion. But when I started actually reading about it, especially Dr. Phyllis Chesler's illuminating books and web site, I realized extremist Muslims were advocating some seriously scary stuff, like destroying Israel and the West. I had been oblivious of the horrendous treatment of women: the honor killings, beheadings, genital mutilation. It now seemed like the height of naivety, if not masochism, to embrace with open arms people who want to kill you. While as a liberal I was socialized to believe everyone was good, all cultures were the same, and We Are The World, We Are The Children, I began to understand that evil exists. The emergence of evil always offers warnings signs, and we ignore them at our peril.

Though exhausted from lack of sleep, I also started waking up. I realized, to my utter incredulity, that conservatives made sense, and that I was one of them. I recalled Mark Twain's quip about his father: When Twain was a teenager, he thought his father was the stupidest man in the world; but when he became a young man in his 20's, his father had many intelligent things to say. Twain couldn't believe how much his father had learned in those years! Like Twain, I grew up and saw the world as it is. Yes it would be nice to save the planet, to eliminate hunger, and to make everyone good and righteous. But humans don't have the power to do that. To walk around, as I did, with utopian images that didn't match reality was to view life through the eyes of a child. An adult understands that civility matters, people need to be held accountable for their behavior, and protecting yourself and your country are moral imperatives.

So it took about a year, but my deprogramming has been successful. I'm comfortable in my own skin, feel more alive than I have in years, and am excited by all I'm learning and becoming. Now when I listen to Sean Hannity's theme song, "Let Freedom Ring," I get a little misty eyed (some things never change). I only hope and pray (yes I'm doing that more too) that the US survives when the Democrats are done "changing" it. But if this lifelong left winger from Berkeley can wake up, hopefully others will also do so before it's too late.

Robin of Berkeley is a Recovering Liberal and a psychotherapist in private practice.


Anonymous said...

Leave one cult to join another? No thanks. Don't be such a victim of left/right US politics.

Dallas said...

To anonymous...

Rationality and reason, self-actualization and sentience are not characteristics of a cult as you state. Seems to me that what you would call the "right" in your comment implies that those who recognize and fight against true oppression (not leftists' view of oppression) are equally sleepwalking.

Most people whom you would scoff as being 'rightist' are true humanitarians who believe in social justice, just with maturity gained from a wider perspective. We on your 'right' abhor the effects of mass brainwashing which polarize the world and threaten to reduce our civilization, however imperfect, into chaos.

BTW, the world certainly is bigger than the borders of the US. The same dynamics exist worldwide.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous.

Robin, I hope this is only part of a bigger journey for you and you will soon wake from this slumber too. If you want to really know how the world works, you would do better to start here and read,

John Perkins, "The Economic Hit

"The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellsberg & The Pentagon Papers"!

and learn about the influence of lobby groups in "R-L" politics for greater global interests,
"The Israel lobby - The influence of AIPAC on US Foreign Policy"

Stick to primary research, read whistleblowers, and exercise critical thought (noting logical fallacies- videos on youtube if you did not learn to at Berkley), not rhetoric and next year you could be writing an article on, "How to Deprogram an Unwitting Neo-Con".