Winning an argument on the internet is nearly impossible. Except for the time when your opponent digs a hole for themselves completely on their own. Such self-sabotage is not something you see in every comment section but it does happen. And you can find most of them on a Twitter account called Conservative Self-Owns.
It shares screenshots of homophobic, racist, and other hateful or narrow-minded remarks that backfired on their authors, and it has already earned 269.2K followers by doing so. Scroll down and check out some of Conservative Self-Owns' most popular tweets!
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We managed to get in contact with the person running the account and they agreed to have a little chat about what goes into the process. However, they also wanted to remain anonymous, so for the purpose of this article, let's call them Admin.
"I started the account back in November when I saw a pattern of mainly conservatives on social media making self-defeating arguments," Admin told Bored Panda.
Such a huge following isn't just a testament to their work.
"I mainly pick content through submissions people DM me," Admin explained. But they haven't lost their touch, either. "I also sometimes see stuff in the wild on apps like TikTok."
Admin said by far the most popular themes on Conservative Self-Owns are pronoun-related, like "I'd never date a girl with pronouns." Recently, things related to COVID deniers getting COVID after funny statements on social media have been doing well too.
Considering how the last presidential election went down, political division in America seems to be growing. But according to licensed psychologist Dr. Mike Brooks, we must remember that it's not the worst it's ever been. After all, the country did have a Civil War.
However, it's not just the government that's heating up. Arguments are dividing workplaces, neighborhoods, faith communities, and homes. But as we can see from Conservative Self-Owns, some of the most toxic disagreements take place online.
"I know I've gotten into some of these arguments, despite my best intentions not to," Dr. Mike Brooks wrote in Psychology Today.
"I'm sure you have too ... [The reason] might not even be about politics or religion. It might be about who does the most housework or who the greatest football quarterback of all time is. Regardless of the topic, when we get into an argument, we are usually 'in it to win it.'"
But what does winning an argument even mean? "Typically, we want to convince the other person that we are right, and they are wrong," Dr. Brooks explained. "They want to do the same. Reflect upon your own history of arguments for just a moment. Have you ever won one? What percentage of them end up being a waste of time?"
"Have you ever argued with anyone about something of importance and convinced them to change their views? About abortion? Gun safety? Global climate change? That Trump is bad/good for America? That Jesus is the only begotten Son of God (or not)? That you do, in fact, way more housework than your partner? How about we flip the question. Has anyone ever convinced you, through arguing, to change your views?"
Dr. Brooks said that convincing others that we are right, and they are wrong almost never happens. "As much as we'd like to think we are rational, objective creatures, we often fall short of that aspiration. We have many cognitive biases that keep us believing that we are right and others are wrong."
"If you are familiar with the Simon & Garfunkel song, The Boxer, there's a great line that's relevant: 'All lies and jests, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.' Simon and Garfunkel are describing what is, in effect, known as confirmation bias. That is, we cherry-pick our information to support what we already believe and 'disregard the rest.'"
Dr. Brooks reminded that much of our happiness in life is nested within our relationships. How we relate to other people is a huge deal. "We should take great care in choosing whether to argue with someone," he said. "We must make an effort to be 'effective' in life over being 'right.' After all, if we damage the relationship by arguing, our happiness and their happiness is diminished."
Of course, you probably don't care what a stranger on the internet thinks about you. Plus, we shouldn't be a doormat — it is important to have values, ideas, opinions, and stances. But since arguing seldom produces the desired result, we should be cautious about when to engage.
"If you remember the movie WarGames with Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy, you might remember the tagline, 'The only winning move is not to play.' When it comes to winning an argument, the best winning move is to not get in one to begin with," Dr. Brooks said. "Like the nukes in WarGames that destroy both the USA and the USSR, our arguments usually cause more harm than good."
Note: this post originally had 50 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.
"If we want to sway other people to our 'correct' vision of things, we are most likely to do that by having a strong relationship with them. Ironically, it is through carefully and compassionately listening to others that we are more likely to sway their views. We just have to realize that we are likely to soften our views as well. And you know what? That's okay. We all win when we can connect better with others," the psychologist concluded.
Or you can pick every fight you can and eventually end up on Conservative Self-Owns. Your choice!