politics

There's only one way to change Pauline Hanson's mind.

We all have that one friend, right.

He (or she. Sometimes it’s a she. I feel like inevitably it’s gonna be a dude, though) is convinced that something you know to be absolutely irrational and completely incorrect, is 100 per cent fact.

This is the friend that you will, after a couple of wines, get it into your head that you can change their mind, if only you can help them see sense.

But no matter how many wines you’ve had, or that he (or she) has had, there is nothing you can do. He (or she… okay, real talk stating that it can also be or she is getting tiring. So can I just trust you, dear reader, to know that I mean, “or she”?) believes what he believes and it doesn’t matter what empirical evidence you present, how many studies you point to, how much you tell them him he’s crazy.

There is absolutely no way you can change his mind.

Your friend is Pauline Hanson. Or Andrew Bolt. Or an anti-vaxxer. Or a climate change denier.

"We're all going to have to shower her with love." Image via ABC.

And Pauline Hanson has confirmation bias. Though, to be fair to Pauline Hanson, you and I have confirmation bias too.

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Confirmation bias is the idea that we are cognitively biased towards information that confirms that which we already believe. As humans, we will seek out, interpret and recall information that suits us. We will discount and disfavour information that may prove us wrong.

We don't have confirmation bias about everything in life. But we will often have it for things we are emotionally invested in.

That means, if you present me with reasonable evidence to show me that my views on the health benefits of kale are incorrect I'll probably get on board. I'm not really that invested in kale.

But if you bring me information that suggests climate change is a scientific conspiracy, or that life begins at conception and tell me we should ban abortion, things I care very deeply about, I'm highly likely to laugh you out of the room.

That's why trying to convince Pauline Hanson that her views on Muslim extremism are wrong with nothing but facts is a fool's errand. It won't work. These are things she is highly emotionally invested in.

That's not to say that she isn't wrong, or that her views aren't dangerous. They are. The things she says are incredibly dangerous. The hatred towards Muslims, Indigenous Australians, Asians and others she espouses is awful.

But, there's only one way to change Pauline Hanson's mind, and Father Rod Bower, who has by way of his church sign invited Pauline round for a meal, is on the money.

It's the same way that groups like Love Makes A Way and Welcome to Australia are doing it to try to change the minds of politicians who are keeping children in immigration detention facilities.

We are all going to have to shower her with love.

It might not work. But calling her an idiot definitely won't work. Making her an object of ridicule won't work. Cold, hard facts won't work.

The only chance we've got is to be respectful and, like Father Rod Bower has, invite her over for lunch for a chat.

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