Tips for Grabbing the Third Rail

These tips come from the article On Grabbing the Third Rail by Stephen M. Walt found here. The tips are his; the elaboration, my own.

Setting out to persuade people to adopt your way of thinking is a difficult  task. After all, ways are set and change is hard. These 5 tips, a shortened list from the article linked above, may prove helpful along the way.

1. Think through your “media strategy” before you go public.

This means to tone down the rhetoric, especially in the beginning. There’s no need to call the President a socialist and statist while handing out flyers. We all know he’s those things, but most of your converts probably have no idea what either term means. They just know they’ve heard “crazy” Tea Partiers screaming it for four years.

2. Never get mad.

This is an easy one to forget, especially when passing liberals call you a “redneck neocon” and conservatives call you “libtard.” Getting angry is unneccesary (because you can refute bad arguments) and unfruitful (because you attract more bees with honey). Let them get mad while you win new supporters.

3. You need allies.

Apparently, one is the loneliest number. Grab a couple friends when campaigning, there is strength in numbers. A bonus is that if you have difficulty answering a question or refuting a misnomer, a friend can step in.

4. Challenging orthodoxy is a form of “asymmetric conflict;” you win by not losing.

Your mission is successful if you can just plant a seed. Changes  in one’s world view rarely happens by receiving a pamphlet from a college kid. However, by having the conversation or planting the seed, you enable the recipient to stew over what you’ve told him. He can now go and get more information in a more comfortable setting to sort out his political philosophy.

5. Don’t forget to feel good about yourself and the enterprise in which you are engaged.

Because it’s an uphill battle and there’s no time to be discouraged. Plus, you believe in what you are doing and saying. And by merely acting accordingly, you show virtue.

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