On Thinking Alike

Marketing guru Seth Godin has some useful thoughts that could be applied to our issue:

If they only thought like you, of course, and knew what you know, then there wouldn’t be a problem.

The challenge doesn’t lie in getting them to know what you know. It won’t help. The challenge lies in helping them see your idea through their lens, not yours. If you study the way religions and political movements spread, you can see that this is exactly how it works. Marketers of successful ideas rarely market the facts. Instead, they market stories that match the worldview of the people being marketed to.

RTWT. That’s why we have to think very carefully about messaging. Lots of people got angry at NRA for “enforce the laws on the books,” who in my opinion were falling victim to this kind of problem when it comes to marketing ideas. Most people do not have a constitution theory on gun rights. They might say they support the Second Amendment, and in some form they do, but they don’t really have a strong theory about it. You’re not going to get them to think too hard about it either, because they really just don’t give a shit. There’s two ways to deal with that, one productive and the other unproductive. The unproductive way is to just get angry with them, and write them off as stupid fools. The productive one is, as Godin says, making arguments “that match the worldview of the people being marketed to.”  That doesn’t have to mean sacrificing our constitutional theories, but it does mean having to use language and arguments that ordinary people can relate to. That helps suck energy from our opponents’ world view, and make it less appealing, which does have real value.

4 thoughts on “On Thinking Alike”

  1. I think that’s why the gun-control forces work so hard to paint the NRA as “extremist”. Likewise, the pro-gun forces should use as many real world examples as possible to expose the anti-gun forces as extremist. It has the virtue of truth for one thing. For example, I don’t think our side did enough related to DC v Heller to expose the extremism of the anti-gunners.

    Sympathetic defendants who were convicted of arcane weapon violations I think would make good examples for fighting against what is normally considered unbeatable laws, such as NFA type laws or AW bans. There was a local case of a cop(!) of all people, convicted of illegal possession of an illegally short rifle, all because he replaced the butt stock receiver end cap of his HK-94 carbine with a stockless end cap with sling swivel. I know this because I actually spoke with the cop’s attorney after I read about the case in the newspaper.

    I keep wondering if there is anyone still in Federal prison today for violation of the Fed AW ban which expired in 2004. As I understand it, however weird it may seem, just because a law expires doesn’t mean someone convicted of that crime is then released or his conviction overturned.

  2. “The productive one is, as Godin says, making arguments “that match the worldview of the people being marketed to.””

    The only problem with that is trying to dumb-down enough to deal with with some people is almost impossible to do without getting a lobotomy.

  3. I think making people more aware of actual laws does help. Many people seem to be somewhat pro-2A in theory but are so misinformed they think that convicted armed robbers are routinely buying RPGs at gun shows and the NRA supports this. So they fall for the trap of we need a new law to cover these nonexistent problems. Case in point is examples of people who still the AWB was about machineguns.

  4. Give me the argument for CCW in this case: Downtown NYC. A shoplifter grabs a magazine from an open stand and starts running through a crowd of several hundred people. Explain that Texas/Florida/wherever castle law to me as it pertains to “protecting your property” in this situation.

    Even better, there is no shoplifter, just a guy running and pushing and shoving his way through a huge crowd of people just trying to get somewhere.

    The problem is: Everyone’s reality is different. In your town on your street, five people standing on the sidewalk might constitute “a lot of people.” In another city, 100 people might be “a lot of people.” In a place like NYC, 5000 might be “a lot of people.”

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