Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs. Why he left the right wing

Charles Johnson photo via NeonTommy
Charles Johnson photo via NeonTommy

Little Green Footballs used to be virulently almost poisonously right wing. But Charles Johnson changed. He just posted ten reasons Why I Parted Ways With The Right, saying “The American right wing has gone off the rails, into the bushes, and off the cliff. I won’t be going over the cliff with them.” It got 1,400 comments and 9,000 re-tweets.

Neon Tommy just interviewed him.

Was there a moment where you started to change your mind?

Yeah. There was a documentary that came out of the UK called The Great Global Warming Swindle. When that was released I looked at it and I thought, ‘Wow, this really is a hoax. All these evil scientists are lying to us.’ Within about six months or so, I started to read articles that were debunking the movie. And I realized that a lot of the information that was in that movie was not only false, but deliberately misleading. I understood that this was gonna be a huge issue. I began to read everything I could get my hands on about the subject. Scientific journals, books. And the evidence just piled up and piled up, until I could no longer be a denier.

What about the jihadist debate? I feel like you’ve softened on that as well.

Well, I kind of have. What started the break for me was when I realized a lot of the right wing bloggers, the so-called anti-jihad bloggers, were making alliances with groups, in Europe, that I consider to have fascist roots. And I didn’t want to be part of that.

It’s pretty rare today for a blogger or pundit to come out and say, I’ve changed my mind about something.

It sure is.

My own journey has been like his but on the left. I got involved with a hardcore Marxist party as a result of being active in Iraq antiwar organizing and ended up getting purged. But I was walking away from them anyway. The doctrinaire enforced groupthink of such parties and their insistence on ideological purity is not only noxious but also insures such parties will remain microscopic and irrelevant.

Why is that?

Human beings have a strong resistance to change. For most people, it’s a lot more attractive to just stay where you are, as long as it’s comfortable. But I’ve always been a contrarian that way. I like to shake my beliefs up every few years. I wish that more bloggers would start to think critically about what they’re writing.

Agreed There’s too much lock-step thinking and blogging. If the other side likes it then I must attack it. That kind of thing. Echo chambers bounce the same tired memes. If we genuinely want to change things, then we need new ways of thinking and organizing. Clinging to tired ideologies isn’t the answer.

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