Friday, December 05, 2008

The Art of Persuasion

Max Borders at The Next Right has a very interesting post entitled "The Art of Persuasion No. 1: Emotional Wedges". Here's an excerpt from it:

But how does social change happen at the individual level? I’d argue, by in large, you have to invert the structure, i.e. reverse the process. In other words, you don’t start with big ideas for most people. You start with messages. Stark. Emotional. Once you resonate with someone emotionally, then you can begin to propose policies or offer big ideas. But the initial prick of emotion is the wedge-point upon which the rest gets built (even principles).

So, begin with emotional appeals. How do you get someone’s attention? Narratives, images, stories of real people with real feelings and vaguaries like ‘change’. Emotion. Consider the following two narratives:

- More than 140,000 people died in the bombing of Hiroshima during WW II.

- Elizabeth White is only three years old. Yesterday, her father held her wrist firmly against the kitchen table and hit her fingers one-by-one with a hammer.

Which one has more rational gravity? Okay. Which one has emotional gravity? Emotional gravity almost always wins.

The Left figured this out a long time ago. That’s why everything goes back to “the children.” Think of the global warming commercial with the kid on the train tracks—engine bearing down. Think of the piecemeal regulation and socialization of healthcare (they started with SCHIP, children’s Medicaid). How can you deny any child healthcare?

This is one area that the Left has definitely gotten down to an art. Ever wonder why it is that when the economy goes sour, the electorate tends to rush to the Democrats? It's not necessarily the ideas that the Left has; it's the marketing. They package it in a better box than the Republicans traditionally have.

It's a thought-provoking post. Here's the link to the whole thing again.


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