Trolling works! Agree and amplify somebody’s stupid, crazy idea. I’ve done this. I went to a human relations commission meeting in a small, wealthy, liberal New England town many years ago posing as a priest, and saying that I would be bringing Somalis into the town. The school superintendent knew I was trolling, but one of the ladies started crying and saying that 300 Somali kids would increase the school size by 1/3. An elderly lady said that “new people coming in from the local chemical plant make local people feel ‘scratchy,'” One of my comrades said, “If middle class chemical engineers and drug developers make you scratchy, just imagine refugees from a third world country!” I described how it would be enriching to them to have people in colorful garb walking down the Main Street, and hte muezzin call to prayer ringing out. Mega awesome trolling, before we had the term for it!
“Researchers found that showing people extreme versions of ideas that confirmed – not contradicted – their opinions on a deeply divisive issue actually caused them to reconsider their stance and become more receptive to other points of view. The scientists attribute this to the fact that the new information caused people to see their views as irrational or absurd, according to a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”
It works because people are dumb.