Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cracking the Code, Chapter Five

Continuing from this post.

One must anchor feelings to communicate well. He gives an example of a Gingrich memo from 1996 that said one must create contrast with their opponent by casting them in negative emotional terms. Then when an opponent's name comes up it is anchored in those negative emotions. An example was Reagan's 'welfare queen,' which still resonates with regressives to this day. And this despite the fact that the example Reagan provided was spun of whole cloth and no person fitting that description was ever found. It was effective though in virtually dismantling Johnson's Great Society. One can also do the reverse, anchoring positive emotions with one's allies or Party.
Something to avoid is long sentences with several polysyllabic words. This may work well with the highly educated but not much with everyone else. It helps to frame the story in personal terms, naming specific people and relating how they were helped by the desired policy in simple, sensory and emotional terms. But also telling the moral, how such a personal story relates to said policy.

One such story is about healthcare. There was a time when healthcare and its insurance companies were non-profit, the moral being public health was a right for all. But then the conservatives thought it should be for-profit, since that motive led to more efficient management, more competition which in turn led to better healthcare. It's a good story but history in the US has proven differently. Meanwhile publicly financed healthcare has proven to be all that conservatives say they wanted in in most every industrialized nation. Once again proving they had a good story that manipulated the public but wasn't based in reality.

On a side note, the book was obviously written long before Obamacare, but the conservatives en masse are totally against it, even though it is not publicly financed and still makes loads of money for private insurance companies. That it is also working is something they just cannot abide, for it doesn't fit their story, even when it partially does! Again, this is why an ecology check is so important, for we need to change our stories when they don't match the reality. Recall this study, which notes that liberals are far more capable at doing this than conservatives (#12 here). Food for further thought later.

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