Article by Colonel Nogov on Aug. 26, 2015
This is in response to a Molyneux video. I don’t think the Molyneux video was made to counter my article “one highly effective method of converting someone to anarchism“. I don’t know, but I don’t think he’s reading my material. His video did directly contradict my article which is why I must defend it. Molyneux’s video was partially inaccurate due to deficiency of some information.
This is not a criticism of Molyneux the man. He does great work and there is very few flaws in his reasoning. I’m only pointing out this one small item because I think it is important. Even great men have the occasional blind spot.
Here is the video:
To summarize the video, Molyneux is talking about how frustrating it is because people won’t listen to reason. As anarchists, we all know this. He gets into the why of it, citing and quoting psychological research. He goes into the cognitive dissonance and people refusing to listen to reason and seeking out confirmation bias of their particular ideology.
He goes into brain chemistry and why this is. Then he gets to the term “backfire effect” where he describes how some people will actually become more hardened in their beliefs when confronted with opposing, although truthful, information. He continues with the harder you try to give them truthful information, the more resound they become.
What I came away with from the video was that it’s impossible to change people’s minds no matter how hard we try. That people are incapable of changing their minds even when confronted with truthful information and they’ll even fall farther into their delusions. It was hopelessness. Defeatist. We’ve all had that feeling, but it’s inaccurate.
The paper he was relying on for the “backfire effect” conclusion was “When corrections fail“. What Molyneux left out of his video was the further conclusion of the paper. Conclusions that directly support and confirm the article I wrote. Here is a snippet. It was on page 10 of my pdf reader.
“but individuals who are ‘confronted with information of sufficient quantity or clarity…should eventually acquiesce'”.
Molyneux is a philosopher, so maybe he was only describing how people won’t see reason the first time they hear truthful information. Which is true. It’s rare when someone will examine or change their belief system, especially when it’s deeply ingrained, the first time they hear opposing information. What he left out was that repetitive exposure to truthful information will crack even the most hardened belief systems. The above line from this paper confirms this. And subsequently validates the main point of my article which was that people will ultimately accept the truth, even when it goes against their ideology, if exposed to it enough times.
“The effectiveness of corrective information is therefore likely to vary depending on the extent to which the individual has been exposed to similar messages elsewhere. For instance, as a certain belief becomes widely viewed as discredited among the public and the press, individuals who might be ideologically sympathetic to that belief will be more likely to abandon it when exposed to corrective information.”
This is the herd mentality. People will follow when they feel sufficiently safe to do so. This is why I think it is so important for our messages of truth to be everywhere. From bumper stickers to billboards to T-shirts to you name it.
Simple truthful messages like “Taxation is theft”, “Politicians are your rulers not your representatives”, “police are oppressors not protectors”, “police are the enforcers of the politicians’ wills”, etc.
Once people understand the fundamentals, they will start questioning the need for government more. It’s beyond most people’s comprehension to understand issues like forcing government licensing on doctors reduces the quality of health care. It seems counter intuitive.
I also think it’s not very important for most people to understand the deeper issues. Once they understand the fundamentals, they’ll start questioning the logic of allowing a small group of people rule the rest of us with coercion and violence. They will be open to the idea that a world without rulers (anarchy) will be a more peaceful, prosperous world.