Volume 44, 2019
Group Egotism From Westboro to the Klan
This article tracks how group egotists disavow their hate group identity. Group egotists are individuals born and raised in hate groups. The well-documented exit cases of Megan Phelps-Roper (Westboro Baptist Church) and Derek Black (White Nationalism) prove that hate group indoctrination can be undermined. A predominantly epistemic approach, which focuses on argument and conversational virtues, falls short in capturing the complexity of their apostasies. I turn to pragmatism for conceptual support. Using the work of Richard Rorty and William James, I explain how redemptive relationships and alternative lifeworlds participate in weakening belief-systems, leading to the disavowal of the hate group.