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  • Ads sell everything from Apple to Zippo. Why aren’t they used to sell ideas?

    Posted by Bruno Behrend on August 11th, 2015 (All posts by )

    After two losses to the farthest left president ever, conservatives have been agonizing over how win back the presidency. More importantly, the truly thoughtful among us have been agonizing over how to win back a once freedom-loving culture drifting ever farther leftward.

    On the political front, the debate is over moderates (who might win the middle) and conservatives (who might excite the base). That seems to be the debate that sucks up all the oxygen. I would make the case that if you are focusing on the political front, you are fighting a battle, but have already lost the war.

    I take the position that politics, while important, is merely the manifestation of what is happening to the culture. If you lose the culture, you are going to lose the elections. It’s that simple.

    I think it was post 2012, where Glenn Reynolds, of Instapundit, opined that conservatives should start buying up media, so that they could compete, at least partly, with the progressives’ dominance in the MSM. I think that is a good idea, and would argue that it is far better investment than giving money to another think tank. It isn’t easy, though. First you have to buy the medium, then you have to market it so it is followed. Last, and most important, that medium has to do much more than Fox News and talk radio, both of which do little more than pound the rubble for the already converted – making conservatives angrier and less palatable in the process.

    It’s a great idea, but difficult. What if there is an easier way?

    What about ads? What if elements of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy funded advertising that promoted our viewpoints effectively? I know that the diffusion of media and cutting the cable cord makes conventional ads less effective, but what about viral ads and the use of YouTube? It galls me that business literally survives by generating memes through ads (Apple, Geico, Verizon, etc. etc. etc.) but the most important memes for the republic are left to lame candidacies for 12-18 months of campaigns, all targeted to the dumbest 5% of the electorate (undecideds). It isn’t working.

    How can we use all the tools at our disposal to generate a campaign of ads that brings all the voters we’ve lost over the decades back into the fold?

    Again, I don’t mean ads for candidates. That will go on in any event, and they don’t promote foundational ideas for advancing liberty. I also don’t mean Crossroads-style ads that tell you to get mad about Issue X or Campaign Z. While some of those ads work, they do nothing to persuade the persuadable that liberty is superior to today’s growing incompetent and corrupt kludgeocracy.

    I’m talking more about 30-second TV spots and 60-second radio ads that lay out the benefits of freedom, and then send folks to where they can learn more. These ads should be akin to a public information campaign, not a political fight. Think of some of the Mormons’ ads, or those asking lapsed Catholics to rediscover their heritage. That is much closer to the paradigm we are suffering from (formerly conservative nation drifting left) than asking citizens to make the world safe from Clinton or Bush.

    It isn’t as if the money isn’t there. While I appreciate the efforts of the Kochs to save us from the advancing leftist vanguard, I don’t find them entirely competent in their spending. SuperPACs and candidate ads didn’t work in 2008 and 2012. Again, if you are fighting at the political level, you are already losing.

    Conservatives will probably never attain the cultural influence the Left enjoys in movie, TV, news, and other media production. That said, I’m optimistic in that we don’t need to equal their influence. We only need to improve upon what we do now. I think ads might be quite effective. They sell everything else. Why not liberty?

    People read billboards, listen to radio, and watch TV. Precious few read white papers.

     

    29 Responses to “Ads sell everything from Apple to Zippo. Why aren’t they used to sell ideas?”

    1. pouncer Says:

      Yes, but start with ideas from “classical” liberalism, as advocated by prominent celebrity liberals.

      Paul Krugman on “rent control” (Short version, “Every economist in the world agrees this is a rotten idea”)

      Daniel Patrick Moynihan on welfare (SV: “Despite trillions over decades, the cycle of poverty and disadvantage continues”)

      Bill Clinton on abortion (Safe, LEGAL, and RARE)

      Charlotte Taft, director of the Abortion Care Network, on Kermit Gosnell and by logical extension the recent videos about baby-body-part sales. (The shame of abortion makes women who go to [lawbreaking] clinics not blow their own whistle.)

      JFK on tax cuts. Truman on the need for a strong national defense. The ACLU on free speech rights, even for rude people. etc.

    2. David Foster Says:

      I think there is much validity to this point of view. By the time someone has been bombarded with Leftist memes for years or decades, there’s not a lot that can be done by strictly political advertising to change his viewpoint.

      As I’ve posted about before, prepackaged Facebook posts are also important, and the economics could be very favorable relative to TV or national radio media buys.

    3. Bruno Behrend Says:

      Everything takes time. They say ads need to be heard 7 times before they register with people.

      If you think about all the cultural influences against liberty, it is a wonder we haven’t been marched into re-education camps for dissenting.

    4. Mike K Says:

      I’m pessimistic, as usual. The culture has gone so far that I can’t see the spot where we lost the battle.

      “Conservatives will probably never attain the cultural influence the left enjoys in movie”

      It is interesting that movies that appeal to the old culture do well. “Forrest Gump” was the first one I noticed. That was a huge surprise to the wise guys of the left. They thought it was a parody making the old culture look ridiculous. They did not get the subliminal message that the old culture was better than what the wise guys offered.

      “American Sniper” was another. “Zero Dark Thirty” was yet another that was hated by the left and snubbed by the Oscars.

      Maybe Sheldon Adelson should go into financing movies that can’t get “green lighted” by the studios. I remember reading about a conservative screen writer (I forget who) who wrote a script for Jack Lemon. When Lemon found out who the writer was he refused to look at it.

      That would be one place where something could be done.

      Fox News is losing me. They were giddy and silly at that debate.

      I do listen to Limbaugh which, in the past, I did not do. Mark Levin I can’t stand. Hugh Hewitt is far more interesting. Hewitt’s radio station in LA took him off the air to put Levin on in his spot. Larry Elder lost his radio show in LA. It was replaced by a silly waste of time.

      We are losing the cultural battle. Still, a lot of people are still looking for the old messages.

      An interesting discussion of what is happening.

      There is something quite strange about Beck’s casual association, over and over again, of “the patriarchal nuclear family” with child abuse. As W. Bradford Wilcox and Robin Fretwell Wilson have pointed out, the data show that children living with their married biological parents are an order of magnitude less likely to be abused—sexually or otherwise—than children living in other social arrangements.

      An interesting review of a book by a left wing SJW.

    5. David Says:

      Back when Eisenhower was President and I was fairly young, I learned all there was to learn about the economy from a public service announcement of the time. There was a small recession going on and this PSA was produced to enlighten the citisenary about the reasons for a Recession. The story was about a hot dog stand a fellow had built at a beach. Everyone was coming to his stand because his dogs were the best. He was expanding and expanding and making more money than he could have hoped for. Then one day a fellow came up and bought a dog but asked him why he was expanding. He asked him, “Don’t you know there is a recession going on?” The Hot Dog stand owner became despondent and let his stand decay for lack of care and then close.

      The lesson was short and sweet. I never forgot it.

    6. Robert Winkler Burke Says:

      Ax to the root solution is to defund “Progressive-Retardnation” worldview education K-12, university and especially Journalism Schools. Problem solved.

      Public funding would be allowed for “Tragic-Liberty” worldview education, K-12, university and J-Schools. This was the case from 1776-1900, but the “Progtards” swapped in their idiocracy system of education around 1900. The solution is to reverse things back to what Abraham Lincoln said worked…

      Lincoln said that children must be taught to become citizens whom are a) generally intelligent, b) moral and c) lovers of laws and the Constitution (and have a strong affection for America’s way of liberty-governance.) The current “Progressive-Retardnation” worldview education system is at war with these good things, and produces a perfect rube nation of people who are purposely sub-educated unto a) non-intelligence, b) immorality and c) haters of laws the Constitution and what used to be the American way of liberty.

      The fix is simple: Teach our children well, instead of hell. Go back to the worldview mandate that works well.

      It’s such a crazy idea, it might work!

    7. Martin L. Shoemaker Says:

      I think the Foundation for a Better Life is a good example: http://www.values.com/

      Their billboards and short TV spots tell simple stories that resonate. Many people never know who’s creating the ads, but they notice the ads.

    8. JK Brown Says:

      This even more evident in this year of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. If ever there was an excuse to advertise, there it is. To be fair, we also see no attempt by university Humanities departments to use the occasion to promote studies in American and English history or Western Civilization.

      Looking into the Magna Carta anniversary, I came across talks given by Prof. John Robson (Canadian) that developed on the thread of the ancient liberties of the Anglo-Saxons. Daniel Hannan’s book, “Inventing Freedom”, develops on this same theme, progressing it to the Ancient Liberties of the English-speaking People so as to include the parts of the Anglosphere such as India, Jamaica, etc.

      I found the “ancient liberties” theme to be very useful compared to what I’d gotten in my elementary and high school American history. I latter, I term, the magical founder theme. Perhaps I didn’t pay attention in class, but it seemed to me that the presentation was that the Founding Fathers had all read up on Plato, etc. and came to the ideas in our Constitution from the blank page. This always left me unsettled, but I didn’t pursue studies. But nothing is further from the truth. The men of 1776 weren’t supermen, they were just pushing back to restore the ancient liberties, which had been maintained in a purer form in the Americas by those who left England to come here during the English Civil War of the 1640s, when the people rose up to restore the ancient liberties that were being usurped by Charles I. One key improvement over the prior efforts to protect the ancient liberties was the subordination of even the legislative and the popular will of the people to the Constitution with the rights inviolate.

      None of this is new, the “ancient liberties” theme was very much alive for the first 150 years of the Union. But if we look, sometime about 100 years ago, a change entered the academy and the schools. A change seemingly to undermine the Anglosphere culture. The Anglosphere being the only culture not based on race or ethnicity. Historically, all those who came to the English-speaking world and embraced the ancient liberties have thrived.

      When was the last time we saw an article such as this from a Harvard professor

      http://www.jstor.org/stable/25105808

      That is from 1906. It is not something even possible from most Harvard Law professors today it seems.

      I think a campaign promoting the Ancient Liberties of the English-speaking People could be very effective. And yes, it would provoke the Left as they would argue against English-speaking. But the counter is that all who came before and embraced the language, embraced the liberties, have joined the Anglosphere culture, a culture of choice.

      As an aside, Prof. John Robson is completing a Kickstarter-funded documentary on Magna Carta that should be out next month.

    9. Grurray Says:

      The whole marketing paradigm has changed.

      See the 4 marketing moments of truth, and, most importantly, how to win the zero moment of truth.

      People want to be part of the structure, receive constant feedback, have their own frontline leaders enlisted in the effort, and be rewarded for participating.

      TV and radio isn’t going to do it anymore. Like David wrote about earlier, creating meaning and clarity through conversations and interactions is much more important now. It’s almost like we’ve come full circle. Like what we do here.

    10. Robert Winkler Burke Says:

      Gurray, what you say is confirmed by what is missing from Hillsdale College’s mass-marketing efforts.

      If I am not mistaken, Hillsdale has radio and mailing advertisements encouraging recipients to “Join the Conversation” at Hillsdale regarding the Constitution and “Tragic-Liberty” worldview thought.

      HOWEVER, there is no conversation possible. Hillsdale has a one-way conversation, and that’s about it. Top-Down lecturing, with no talk-back. No concept an idea could trickle back up! THIS ISN’T WESTERN ENLIGHTENMENT in practice. It is trying to promulgate Western Enlightenment, by other means… actually by the SAME MEANS as the enemy they fight, the same memes as “Progressive Retardnation” worldview propaganda.

      So, that is how to lose the fight.

      I’ve tried to contact or communicate to Hillsdale, to no avail, naturally.

    11. Jason In LA Says:

      While reading Bruno’s post my mind immediately recalled this commercial from the early 90’s. My “pro-choice” friend used to spit every time this commercial aired.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M83p7PTKfg

      Right now would be a fabulous time for pro-free market forces to air similar programming about the merits of the free market. Use the recent collapse in crude prices as an example. Portray how the price mechanism led to incentivizing oil extraction techniques to increase the available supply of oil. Educate the public about the freedom, economic, and geopolitical repercussions that Hydraulic Fracturing has provided. Let them know that what happens in North Dakota has an impact in Riyadh.

    12. Grurray Says:

      Robert, good example. A lot of factors go into winning or losing, but you will for sure lose if you don’t show up.

      In order to be successful nowadays, you have to maintain a presence and constantly studying wherever and whenever your customer/client/constituent is seeking and exchanging information in order to make your case and provide them some value. That means social media, collaboration platforms, social network aggregation, etc

      Otherwise, someone else will be there doing it and getting those people into their camp.

    13. Bruno Behrend Says:

      Martin,

      I watched some of the “values.com” stuff, and it is nice, but there has to be some “stick” as well as “carrot.”

      I think short spots that correct bad ideas and false notions would be as effective.

      I’ve always thought that stopping a bad thing is more effecting than starting a good thing. I don’t have the time to elaborate here, but the whole theoretical framework of always and only being “positive” is flawed.

    14. Mike K Says:

      I think one very simple factor is involved, not to the exclusion of others, but it is a factor.

      Kids today do not have part-time and after school jobs. A big reason is that illegal immigrants fill those jobs. Mowing grass, cleaning up stores and simple tasks that do not require much knowledge used to be the first job experience for a teenager. Newspaper routes were one. Then simple jobs like working in s drugstore soda fountain. Fast food jobs would be the equivalent today.

      Kids have no work experience and they go to college expecting to have a big career when they don’t know how to work. Then they get angry because they are not meeting their unrealistic career expectations.

      My youngest daughter worked although college as a waitress and then as a bartender after she was 21. She understands work.

    15. Veryretired Says:

      We have abandoned the education of our children, and allowed it to be hijacked by ideologues whose purpose was, and is, the undermining of American culture, and it’s replacement with an anti-individualistic indoctrination that will allow the political class to consolidate and expand its powers in contravention of the functions of the government as outlined in the Constitution.

      These same ideologies have been put into practice repeatedly over the past century, in many variations of the basic model, and have consistently led the societies they were imposed upon to economic and humanitarian disaster. It made no difference whether the host culture was European, Asian, African, or American. The result, inevitably, was impoverishment, starvation, conflict externally and internally, and death by repressive violence by the state at levels unprecedented in all the bloody history of humanity.

      The only force which has acted as negatively upon the human race as collectivist ideology was the Black Death of the 14th century.

      I don’t think some clever ads, or other superficial attempts to influence minds already steeped in collectivist assumptions, will accomplish the major intellectual and moral renewal our cloture requires.

      That enormous task will require the diligent and relentless efforts of each and every person who chooses individual freedom over collectivist membership.

    16. Veryretired Says:

      Culture, not cloture.

    17. MarkM Says:

      Before you start advertising, we need to get some answers to a couple of critical (and interrelated) questions:
      a. Who is the target market/audience? Who are we trying to convince? (It is a common mistake to create generic ads that do not speak the language or grab the attention of your potential customers. Ask yourself what kind of people you want to attract, what they read/watch/listen to, and make sure your ads speak to them on a personal level.)
      b. What are we trying to sell to the target market? What is our “product”? What is our “brand” and what images do we want associated with our brand?
      c. What are the benefits of our “product” (and/or “brand”) to the target audience? What is the value proposition associated with our “product” and how does that value proposition discriminate our “product” from our competitors? How does the product or service fits into consumers’ lives or work to make them better, more productive, happier, more fulfilled?
      d. How can we measure success for the advertising campaign? (Who are we using to test the advertising in advance? How are we going to monitor audience reaction to the advertising?)

      The advertisement you use to convince a pro-market conservative to go out to vote is probably very different from the advertisement to convert a wavering former Democratic voter. “Liberty” is a benefit, it is not the product in question. At least in my opinion, the product we should be selling to generate pro-liberty decisions may well be “less governmental regulation/overreach”, but let’s not mistake the goal with how we need to get there. Now, if we’re selling to a family-centric demographic (especially women with children), the stories we might want to tell in such adds involve governmental overreach into (a) shutting down of various kids’ lemonade stands (and other business activities like a cupcake baking business run by an 11 year old in Illinois or the kids selling zucchini in California), (b) the ban on fund-raising bake sales in various schools (to prevent obesity), (c) idiotic zero-tolerance prosecutions (like the kid who shaped his fingers into a “gun” shape and said bang) and (d) the crackdown on seniors gambling for toilet paper (or other similar low-value prizes). Most of these adds write themselves from the stories in question — and many of them have could use some rather charismatic kids.

      For the same “less governmental regulation/overreach” product, if the goal is selling to minorities, the focus of the adds may change – for example, some of the cash forfeiture stories associated with the IRS and money laundering prosecutions might work nicely (see the Tenaha litigation especially). Other interesting stories would come from the barber shops (ban on straight razor shaves), ridiculous state requirements to become a hair braider (special props to the recent decision overturning such regulations), the crackdown on certain unpasturized (Mexican) cheeses, prosecution of various street vendors selling hispanic foods, the prosecution of Dominique Rondeau (40 days in jail for allegedly throwing a snowball), Laura Browder (prosecuted for having her kids in a food court while she interviewed for a job in that same food court), etc.

      We have good products to sell – but identifying the product versus the benefit is important and identifying who we are selling to is important. There is no need to talk down to the folks we want to pursuade – but the choice of stories we tell should change depending on the audience.

    18. Mike K Says:

      “the choice of stories we tell should change depending on the audience.”

      Ask small business employers what their worst problem with new hires is. Maybe you know.

      It is having the new employee show up for work.

      That was my point about kids not knowing what work is. We have a huge population of young people who have never worked. What do you say to them ?

    19. TM Lutas Says:

      If you don’t mind the occasional profanity, Gary Vaynerchuk is a high energy marketing guru that will open your eyes to an entire new world of modern marketing.

      Facebook dark posts are how you segment your message for the bulk of people but hurry up, marketers ruin everything and they won’t always work as well as they do today.
      Market where people are paying attention today. Instagram and Snapchat are hot properties but you have to produce native content that respects the cultural norms of those communities.
      Don’t always ask for the sale, be helpful and forge human connections before you try to close.

      I’m working my way through Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook now and it’s quite the education.

      He’s got a youtube channel which will give you a good flavor of what he’s talking about:
      https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCctXZhXmG-kf3tlIXgVZUlw

      And of course he’s got a website:
      https://www.garyvaynerchuk.com/

    20. Grurray Says:

      I’ve seen Gary Vee before. I stumbled onto his blog on Medium when I saw this post:

      https://medium.com/@garyvee/stop-asking-me-about-your-personal-brand-and-start-doing-some-work-57d67316986a

      It struck me as great advice for those kids just starting out. Like the ones Mike K is talking about, with no experience and thinking they can just step in and be an expert authority. I think it’s also related to the generalist / specialist dichotomy in tech companies. In the rapidly pivoting startup everybody wants to be a generalist who knows 20% of every subject, but it’s just as valid to have the singular focus of the specialist who knows 80% of one subject and can pivot to other companies because the generalists probably end up getting the ax at the pivot anyway.

      He’s entertaining. I’ll have to check out his book.

    21. Jason In LA Says:

      Apparently Hugh Hewitt found this post interesting.

      https://twitter.com/hughhewitt/status/631290911385751552

    22. PapayaSF Says:

      Ideas are nice, but in the abstract they are easy to dismiss. My advice would be to get specific in ways that sell the idea of limited government.

      Build a campaign around what the government currently spends, in detail. This could unite conservatives and libertarians and moderates, and directly confront the inevitable Democratic/left line that government needs to be bigger and spend more.

      How much does the federal government spend to combat poverty every day? What was it 10 years ago? 20? Is it working?

      How many people at the Department of Transportation make more than $150,000/a year? What do they do, anyway? Are we getting our money’s worth?

      Use rock-hard numbers in many ways: cost per minute/hour/day/year/whatever, numbers of government employees, employee salaries/benefits/pensions, etc. Use real examples of waste, fraud, and cost-ineffectiveness. Even better: counter-productive spending which worsens one problem or another. (E.g. student loans making college more expensive.) There are many of them, and they’re spectacular. Boil them down into sound-bites, Facebook images, billboards, media ads, websites.

      Properly done, it would not be dry but catchy and dramatic. The average person would be astounded at the numbers, and Democrats would sputter. Their standard line (“Government just needs more money and more power”) would be unconvincing.

      Along with that, pitch innovation and devolving power to the state and local level. Show old newsreels of the ’30s and say we can do better than the obsolete government technology of the 1930s. Come up with liberty-oriented, decentralized ideas to test.

      It would get conservative support while avoiding the social issues problematic to everyone else. It would appeal to libertarians. It would appeal to techies, a large and influential bloc. It could be sold to moderates. Even the experimental aspect could appeal to Democrats and leftists. I’d be fine with firing half of HUD employees and giving half the savings to states and localities, even Democratic ones.

      And all this easily be done as an independent expenditure, not tied to any one candidate.

      Why not?

    23. Bruno Behrend Says:

      All,

      Thanks or all the good comments and ideas. I wish I had a successful, up and running non-profit to apply them.

      Some thoughts…

      1. For the pessimists, I think it bears repeating that, while it may take time for an idea like this to work, evidence indicates that, over time, ads succeed in getting into the heads of enough people to impact the culture.

      If we had a budget to do some serious research, we could find which method, avenue, or strategy was the best angle of attack. Absent a budget, it would be interesting if various groups of clever folks produced some spots using different methods and media.

      2. Being a social conservative as much as a small “l” libertarian, I wouldn’t cede that realm to the social liberals. One obvious example is the “scientifically settled” (just kidding around) fact that the family is the best anti-poverty program on the planet.

      One series of ads might be to illustrate how all the welfare in the world doesn’t replace the nuclear family. Social is economic, whether we like it or not, and we have already ceded way to much ground to the social liberals, who essentially promote the destruction of all the institutions that work while funding those that don’t.

      3. Re: education…

      Most of my work experience in the vast right wing conspiracy has been in education policy (Heartland Institute). I have been haranguing the movement for YEARS that ads will be more effective than white papers. We (the school choice movement in general, not Heartland) have had some success with buying/renting legislators, but those gains die in court or are blunted in implementation.

      My theory is that we need to run an extensive, longitudinal, aggressive (and ACCURATE) NEGATIVE campaign against the incumbent educations system (school districts, centralization). Until we bring down the popularity of the incumbent, the challenger can’t win.

      You want school choice? Then undermine the support of the existing system. Another perfect role for advertising.

    24. Mike K Says:

      “You want school choice? Then undermine the support of the existing system.”

      Blacks are a natural constituency for this. Every voucher proposal gets a lot of black support. The mothers, even without husbands, mostly want their kids to get a decent education. The rest are just making more thugs but are not a majority, I think.

    25. Bruno Behrend Says:

      Mike K.

      Support is one thing, political clout is another. I’ve had this debate with everyone in the movement. They have focused on gaining support among blacks for over a decade, and some, but little to show for it.

      This is one reason I believe negative campaigning is better. Next, the strongest area of support for schools is rich, mostly white soccer moms, who could care less where money is spent as long as it grows.

      You UNDERMINE support for public schools among them, and the whole edifice comes down. Blacks have some numbers, but white soccer moms have money and numbers.

    26. Mike K Says:

      “white soccer moms have money and numbers.”

      They defeated the voucher proposal in California about ten years ago. I sent my kids to private schools because I could afford it. I can’t afford anymore to send my grandkids to private schools but the public schools right here are not so bad. There are having Common Core trouble but, aside from that, the kids like school.

      When I used to interview applicants to UCI medical school, I interviewed one girl who went to high school here in Mission Viejo. She went to Berkeley and was applying to medical school. She told me the only way she got into Berkeley was all AP courses in high school. My oldest grand daughter is a whiz and I might be able to help her in high school.

    27. Phil Ossiferz Stone Says:

      The kinetic battlefield culture wars are over, and the deconstructionist Left is mopping up. They have done to our society and our government what the Air Force did to the Republican Guard — and they have a popular mandate for it. Presidents Walker or Cruz can only plug the hole in the dyke for four or eight years. Talk to any Millenial. They will readily agree that the Democrats are terrible, but the RETHUGLICANS are anti-gay rights and want to tell women what to DO with their BODIES!!1!1!!!! That’s our future.

      Which is the bad news. The good news is that now the guerilla phase begins. We dumped billions of dollars and marshaled state of the art firepower in Iraq for over a decade. Who or what won? Dysfunctional tribal Arab culture won. Ours is so much better, and so much more worthwhile. It is worth nurturing. But stop this talk of waging the fight on a prepared battlefield against an enemy with total battlefield awareness — this metrosexual surveillance state in which the Constitutional rule of law has been reduced to a Pirate’s Code; mere guidelines — and that outweighs you ten to one.

      Go underground. Refuse to be defeated. Take your children to church. Educate them yourself. Refuse to bend at the local level to liberal shariah law — when needs must, with a rifle slung across your chest. Mass armed peaceful civil disobedience remains a big trump card that our enemies (and they *are* our enemies, even if we decline to see them as ours) cannot match. Keep the flames of traditional America guttering quietly. It’s getting cold out. It will not get better. Hunker down.

    28. Rich Rostrom Says:

      Overt propaganda would be useless. The problem is that the “intellectual” class has moved far to the left. Writers, editors, teachers, journalists, and scholars: the people who generate and propagate the common culture.

      Their shared assumptions infuse everything they produce. One thing Instapundit noticed was the way leftist political assumptions were coloring non-political mass media: for instance, the many fawning profiles of Michelle Obama in fashion magazines.

      Another factor is the “evaporative cooling” effect. In physics, evaporative cooling occurs as the highest-energy particles in a fluid break away, leaving a cooler mass. This can result from energy coming in – an apparent paradox. The same thing can happen with a belief group: when the premises of the group are strongly challenged, the moderates break off, and the remainder is more fanatical. The bad economy for traditional mass media has pushed lots of people out of the industry; I think the remainder are emotionally committed to it as a vocation for political reasons.

      What may be needed is to buy up trad-media operations (remember that Newsweek sold for $1), and then explicitly replace their staffs with non-leftists. Of course this would cause outrage – the left regards their position of power as normal. (I once read a comment by a woman from a Sunni Iraqi family. She wrote that her relatives could not even imagine not being the ruling class.) And it would be hard to recruit full new staffs without picking up lots of fakers and hustlers.

    29. Mike K Says:

      Mass armed peaceful civil disobedience remains a big trump card that our enemies (and they *are* our enemies, even if we decline to see them as ours) cannot match.

      Charles Murray has a new book I should read. It’s called ” By the People,” “Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission.”

      From one review on Amazon:

      The first part of BY THE PEOPLE describes how America got into the big government situation. Big changes began around the time of the Great Depression because “Americans, suffering from the Great Depression, weren’t interested in constitutional limits on what the federal government could do.” A critical event that drastically changed the limitation on the federal government was the 1937 Supreme Court decision ruling on the legality of Social Security (Helvering vs Davis.) This decision opened the path to more intrusive federal regulation.