The main challenge in any conversation — persuasive or otherwise — is that everyone share the same definitions of terms. If they don’t it will be impossible to communicate. In other words, we need to synchronize our knowledgbase. In this case, the terms “libertarian” and “socialist” have very broad definitions, and there is no better example of that than the fact that several answers so far confidently assert that it is “impossible” to persuade socialists to become libertarians, while at the same time I myself (along with countless others in the present day and throughout history) am a libertarian socialist. So there’s the source of the chuckling. Ha.
Unfortunately, there are a number of barriers to education and subsequent knowledgeable synchronization. One is ideological resistance (we might call this “willful ignorance” that bubbles up from deeply cherished beliefs). Another is subjection to years of misinformation and propaganda. Another is a simple desire to avoid embarrassment when someone discovers their own mistaken understanding. Another is ego — just ‘wanting to be right,’ because that is very important to some people’s self-concept. There are other barriers, but these seem fairly common.
So how do we approach these barriers or mitigate them? First, although it’s fairly rare to do this successfully in today’s sociopolitical landscape, offering some educational resources may spark curiosity and willingness to be educated in some people. Sometimes just asking a person if they are interested in learning about X or Y can open that door. To that end, a person could be offered some or all of the following resources:
1) Watching a few of the plentiful videos of Noam Chomsky discussing socialism, liberalism, capitalism, libertarianism, and the language and history around these ideas. Here is one:
2) Reading up on the history of anarchism, libertarian socialism and anarcho-capitalism in books like Marshall’s Demanding the Impossible.
3) Appreciating how right-libertarianism (that is, capitalistic libertarianism) developed as a uniquely American flavor of libertarianism (via Mencken, Rothbard, Nozick, Mises, et al — there is a fairly good overview here: Right-libertarianism - Wikipedia), and how it was then entirely coopted by neoliberalism (see L7 Neoliberalism)
4) Appreciating just how pervasive, corrosive and distorted right-wing propaganda has become. Brock’s book Blinded by the Right might be helpful in this regard, and a Harvard study on how propaganda shaped the 2016 election can be found here: https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstre...
In any case, that’s a start. A person’s response to this initial exposure and education will help determine next steps. Are they surprised by what they learn? Are they willing to admit the extent of their own ignorance? Do they turn to poorly informed, knee-jerk polemics, ad hominem attacks or name-calling to reject the information? Do they express a thirst for additional information? How to handle each of these responses is a separate and often challenging question in itself.
I hope this was helpful.
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