Life After Hate
April 13, 2019 9:13 AM   Subscribe

“He added, “Everyone said in the run-up to Charlottesville that ‘if you just ignore them they’ll go away.’ That is by far the biggest mistake you can make with this crowd.” ‘What we’re trying to teach is empathy’: The grassroots strategies to de-radicalize the far right (Think Progress)
posted by The Whelk (11 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
Invisibilia did an interesting piece on empathy this week. Older folks seem to more see it as a way to find common understanding; younger folks tend to see it as a path toward desensitization. Both sides make good points, but the conclusion was that we shouldn't try so hard to have empathy for incels, but we might do a better job at making them have empathy for the women they hate/desire.
posted by rikschell at 9:21 AM on April 13 [9 favorites]


Thanks for the link.

A few weeks ago I checked into one of my rarely used throwaway email addresses and found multiple emails from someone named Jack Murphy asking me to be on his podcast. The emails were addressed to someone named Jesse, which is not my name. I found the emails well-written, clearly from someone who knows what they're doing. The emails were certainly more compelling than something I could write -- and were I Jesse, I might have been convinced to go on the podcast. Looking Murphy up, he's just another right wing asshole who thinks of himself as open minded. His thinking and ways of expressing himself are so cliche, juvenile, and obviously flawed that, were I overhearing him on a bus, I'd probably just roll my eyes and walk away -- but it was interesting seeing the clash between what he was showing me in the email and what I could find googling and reading stuff he'd written online.

In one of the emails, another person got caught up -- presumably by hitting reply all -- revealing himself to be Curtis Yarvin, who was declining participating in the podcast because "I’d love to in general but I think rolling out my new public presence is going to take a little longer and has to be done pretty carefully — I want to start with writing publicly." When I googled Yarvin, I found he had a connection to Peter Thiel and Steve Bannon and he's been referred to as "the Alt right’s favorite philosophy instructor."

Clearly, his idea of "carefully" is different from mine -- not using reply all and if using it, checking who else was on it -- but then I've never had to roll out a new public presence.

I regret it, but I wrote Murphy back and told him he had the wrong email address so I won't be hearing from them again. I should have just said nothing to see what other stuff I got sent.

Reading the linked piece, it's nice to see people manage to get out of it it. There's hope there, even if it seems to come too late.
posted by dobbs at 9:47 AM on April 13 [15 favorites]


> I regret it, but I wrote Murphy back and told him he had the wrong email address so I won't be hearing from them again. I should have just said nothing to see what other stuff I got sent.

I literally shouted "NO!" when I read this.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:27 AM on April 13 [12 favorites]


The kind of task and activity mentioned in the FPP can only be done between two members of the same ethnic group and background. For the target groups, its just more labour added on to ducking their shit balls.

You'd have heard that the MIT scientist who worked on the black hole imagery is now under attack by trolls, of course?

wel... actually.
posted by infini at 10:58 AM on April 13 [5 favorites]


When I googled Yarvin, I found he had a connection to Peter Thiel and Steve Bannon and he's been referred to as "the Alt right’s favorite philosophy instructor."

"Curtis Guy Yarvin (born June 25, 1973), also known by the pen name Mencius Moldbug....."

I don't blame you for not wanting this traffic in your inbox.
posted by thelonius at 11:17 AM on April 13 [5 favorites]


FTA:

“The kind of people that I see gravitate to these groups are the same people I see gravitate to cults, gangs, to saying they want to join ISIS,” Jenkins said in an interview with ThinkProgress. “They’re already lonely, they’re already disenfranchised as individuals, they have a lot of psychological damage, and they are trying to find a way to make their lives worth a damn. The wrong people simply got to them.”

good piece. I do think it helps to think of the Far Right not as a monolith, but rather a complexity of individuals who have all traveled unique routes to get there. If it sounds like hard and prolonged work to bring it down one individual at a time, that's probably because it is. But then, as we've learned from any number of other situations, broad attacks on certain groups and their beliefs way too often galvanizes rather than destroys.
posted by philip-random at 1:02 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


For the target groups, its just more labour added on to ducking their shit balls.

And no one is suggesting they be drafted in to do it. There's more than one way to work on the world's problems, and outreach to the altright can be left to those who feel that particular call.
posted by AdamCSnider at 2:10 PM on April 13


I nearly posted that Invisibilia episode on the blue as a separate FPP. I was gobsmacked when I listened to it because one never, ever hears an NPR podcast host (at least I haven't) contemplating the possibility of a huge fail in their thought process. Until now. Highly recommend that people listen to it. Season 5, Episode 6 does not appear to have a transcript, or I would link to it.
posted by Bella Donna at 2:26 PM on April 13 [3 favorites]


I just listened to that Invisibilia episode, and I was just flinching during the first half where we heard all about the ex-incel and his sadness. I really feel for his poor ex-girlfriend and hope she has the support she needs as he gets all this fame.
posted by jeather at 5:32 PM on April 13 [3 favorites]


Now I’m wanting a post just on the Invisibilia episode, because I want to talk about it, but also not take away from the subject of the OP.

The episode gave me so many conflicted feelings. It went to the heart of things I think about all the time. I felt like the question raised was “empathy to all vs. empathy to my tribe and not yours” but it only briefly articulated the place of power in who we’re encouraged to empathize with and whose stories are never told. I was also struck by the fact that we never learn why the girlfriend strangled Jack. It’s implied he tried to rape her and he just lies about this by omission but it’s never said outright. Strangling is a very intense form of violence?
posted by pelvicsorcery at 8:13 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


Is there any evidence that this kind of approach trumps radical, hateful extremism as a strategy? I just don't see any reason to think it is an effective strategy, in a rock-paper-scissors game I'd say extremist hate beats empathy. I'm not even sure what fighting fire with fire would look like here, seems much harder to radicalize people into violence and hate mongering when the nucleus is still based around empathy, equality, and social justice for all. Seems like such a radical group would run into problems the first time they tried to bash in someone's face no matter how deserving it feels, that person is still a person and such a group would probably be aware of the ways in which unfortunate individuals can be turned from people into alt-right monsters, bringing it back to that empathy thing that is just a vulnerability the other side depends on.
posted by GoblinHoney at 11:13 AM on April 15


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