If you’ve spent any time wading through the swamps of right-wing polemics (and if you haven’t, congratulations), then you’ve almost surely come across one or more right-wing pundits who are packaged as former leftists/liberals. In fact, chances are you’ve encountered them so often that you might get the impression that this kind of conversion is common — once people “come to their senses” or whatever. Which is exactly the impression you’re supposed to get. There really aren’t that many of these converts — what you’ll notice is that you keep encountering the same handful over and over again. But they are very high profile; the right-wing establishment makes sure of it.
One of these is Brandon Straka, former hairdresser turned YouTuber and founder of the WalkAway movement, designed to encourage people to leave the Democratic Party and, along with it, to abandon all Leftist convictions. An ad campaign for WalkAway featured several people who have done just that, to serve as shining inspirations. Except that, um, it turns out that those individuals didn’t really exist; the photos of them were just stock photos that had been borrowed for the purpose. By the way, in keeping with Straka’s commitment to spreading misinformation, he was arrested for his role in the Capitol riot, which was based on false claims of voter fraud.
Quite often, the prominent defectors include minorities of various flavors: token blacks, token Jews, token Asians, token gays and so on — in a bald effort to appeal to those demographics, which tend to tilt unmistakably leftward. Thus we end up with an unending circular parade of Candace Owens, Dave Rubin, and a few others. They’ll eagerly tell you about “why I left the left”, as if the universe is obliged to take a great interest in hearing their personal stories. If you do pay attention, you might observe an interesting pattern or two.
The first clue about what makes these people tick can be found in the titles or highlighted phrases of their presentations: “I left the left when…”; “I became a conservative overnight because…”; “I woke up when…”; “The moment I became a conservative was…”; “My red pill moment was…”. And so on. Virtually all of them speak of having undergone some kind of instantaneous metamorphosis. Which is a very good indication that their transformation was emotional rather than intellectual. Because making a drastic shift from one ideology to another one, especially one that is a polar opposite, requires a great deal of investigation, thought, and soul-searching. Which takes a great deal of time.
The classic textbook case of how not to convert is Candace Owens, who says she literally “became a conservative overnight”. Why? Because she was being harassed online by a few left-wingers. So there, she got even with them, didn’t she? Her sudden decision to devote herself to right-wing fanaticism wasn’t just an emotional response, it also was fueled by pettiness, vindictiveness, and egomania. Which is very typical for right-wing converts, even if their conversions are not so instantaneous. Oh, and ignorance is also a major factor — it turns out that those who harassed her online were not left-wingers at all, but just the opposite. And she unquestionably knows this by now, yet she still maintains her stance of right-wing fanaticism. After all, the cash is much greener on that side of the fence.
In short, right-wing ideology is one of egomania, instant gratification, and disdain for anyone who lies outside one’s own smug little circle. “Conservatives” may sometimes begin life as “liberals”, but give them enough time and they’ll eventually find their true despicable home.