Govatos begins by telling us we all like it when others come around to our way of thinking. When others also like the brands, products, foods, movies, books and so on that we like, we are pleased. We try to get the other person to become a Mac person. But here's where we part ways; while what Govatos says is true to a point, it's a matter of degree. Sure, I like it when someone realizes that Macs are better than PCs, or musicals aren't stupid, but I really don't care. I'm too old to care. I have other things to do than worry about whether or not my friends or family use a PC or not, can get into Samurai films, or what have you. I'm certainly not going to waste my time trying to convince anyone; I say my piece, and go about my way.
He then jumps from that idea to one of manipulation -- we all manipulate, he tells us, and that's okay. I agree we all manipulate, and we all know some are excellent at manipulation, but not everyone is a manipulator, not consciously anyway, and not everyone is out to intentionally manipulate others. I'm not. Hell no. Like I said, I'm too old for such stupid games, and have other things to do. I put myself out there, "Here it is!" and you can like it or not.
It's this innate belief of the skeptoid mind set -- that everyone is out to manipulate -- that boggles my mind. What's more, Govatos is proud of the fact he manipulates, and in this article, tells you how to manipulate the poor deluded souls in your life to get them to think rationally.
I think of my own family; some are extremely, almost fundamentally religious and I don't understand it, don't much like it, but I'm not going to argue about it. In fact, I tried that a few times, and didn't like it one bit. I figure it's their business, and as long as nothing crazy is going on, like living on a compound and marrying off children to perverts, it's not my business.
Govatos is proud to be a manipulator, and wants you to be proud to be one too:
Iʼve been fairly successful at this conversion business, you should know. How? Itʼs simple; I employ manipulation. Does that sound dirty? It shouldn't; we manipulate each other all day, every day, and we certainly donʼt make any apologies for doing so. Sometimes it's as simple as letting a friend drive my car. In the driverʼs seat, they can easily have their own "A-Ha!" experience. Maybe they utterly hated my brand of car yesterday, but if they can feel it and experience it for themselves, and recognize that it's better; game over.
The difference is, I don't see things like this as a "game," and I don't give a damn if my friend likes Hondas or not. And letting someone drive my car isn't "manipulating" them anyway; it's letting them drive the car and they can decide for themselves. If they still don't like driving a Honda after they've driven my car, what, am I supposed to make them drive more Hondas til they cry uncle?
In a deliciously ironic moment Govatos writes:
"Skeptical manipulation is an interesting notion because all it really means to do is manipulate people to think for themselves."
Sure, unless of course one entertains or believes any of the so-called kook stuff the skeptic finds so anethemic to their world of rationality.
So how do you manipulate the deluded? Govatos suggests you be "nice" for the IYF (in your face) tactics don't really seem to work; a dawning realization by many skeptoids these days. In fact, Govatos urges, be sympathetic:
I need you to do something that is going to feel absolutely yucky: Sympathize.
In other words, lie. After you've gained the trust of said relative, loved one or friend by being sympathetic, the harassment begins. Don't give up til they've seen the light of rationality. Bombard them with tracts, literature, links, information from Skeptoid World. Using astrology as an example, Govatos writes:
Fun though it may be, donʼt poke fun at the sucker for being part of this crime. Crime? Astrology?! Yes, crime. The crime against his life, the crime of making delusional decisions that affect his future. Heʼs been misled and misinformed. Continue ﬁnding ways to open the crack a little wider, so more light can shine on this topic. Donʼt give up on him until he has had his "A-HA!" moment in the driverʼs seat.
And while Govator uses astrology as an example, he says it could be anything at all; the technique is the same.
This is where it gets a little scary:
You should feel obligated to manipulate the bejesus out of those you care about in order to save them from harming themselves in any way. Does this sound a little like religious militance? Maybe a little, but Iʼm conﬁdent you can smell the difference. Iʼm not asking you to proselytize, Iʼm only asking that you help when you can.
Fanatics never think they're the ones to blame; they're the saved ones, saving others, don't you know. Govatos asks if we can "smell the difference" -- no, I can't.
If someone, after sharing their opinions and beliefs with me, didn't get the message that "thank you very much, but no thanks" and refuses to respect me, respect my home, my right to think and believe what I want, and continues to harass me -- no matter how nicely or "sympathetically" -- they're a creepy, thuggish bozo. Not someone I would want to know, not someone I would trust.
Seems like the one of the latest memes from Skeptoid World is "be nice, but don't let up -- ever."