A continuing series of discussions of Mark Levin’s new book,
The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic
(Discussion #23 – Because the Internet, that’s why
Last night I read a very cryptic post over at WeaselZippers regarding a way to circumvent totalitarian blocking of the Venezuelan people’s access to twitter. It began like this:
Nicholas Maduro thinks that traffic shaping on pic.twitter.com is what makes the Internet move huh?
Sorry Mario – Princess is in a different castle.
1) Download The Onion Router (“TOR”) Windows x64/x32 or for Mac or Linux
2) Maduro got smart with DNS too? Use Google’s Open DNS servers 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124
3) Not on a PC or Mac? Need TOR for your mobile? Download here from Google Play or for iOS
5) Viva La Revolucion?
It takes a bit of thinking, but the geeks among us can see that the cryptic nature was on purpose. It all has to do with the power of the Internet to keep access to information free.
But just as viewers of the videos here at TheRightScoop can attest, any powerful medium can be abused. More specifically it can be used to target people and herd them like a collective. As the Venezuelans can attest, the twin levers of censorship and control over content are the most dangerous things to human freedom on this planet (which is why the protections of speech are embodied in the first item of our Bill of Rights).
With the advent of twitter, we saw the ability of people in Egypt to overthrow two governments. That One-Hundred and Forty character window into the web of Followers is a very powerful tool for drawing attention to events. For example, if you are a “human rights” activist, this tweet might get you engaged in trying to help:
#Freemohanad Mohanad is 23 years old Saudi human right activist who has been arrested on the 19th of November 2012 .
— يحدث الآن السعودية (@RightnowKSA) February 17, 2014
But that same window is also a very powerful tool to help short-circuit the spread of knowledge. We’ve all encountered the age-old, bully tactic of dismissal and belittlement. One Hundred and Forty Characters is the perfect medium for people who think that bullying works. For example, in this apparently aimed-at-no-one tweet:
your intellectual property is worth shit. trust me, your ideas suck.
— Sarah Buzzkill (@KittDeLuca) February 16, 2014
Well, at least it was brief. But now the clever-as-rats minds on the left have found a way to weaponize this tiny, bread-and-circuses delivery concept, and Conservatives and Libertarians need to find a way to combat it while people are still able to think for themselves.
We begin a more in-depth examination of this phenomenon by having a look at an excellent article at Professor Jacobson’s website.
Jacobson concludes (yeah I hate when people do that to me, too):
We are losing the fight to the lowest of low information voters, who are pushed toward a liberal agenda by very smart and talented people who understand the power of social media in a way we don’t.
I want folks to at least skim his article because it describes exactly what we face in this battle to Restore the Constitution. People, including many highly-intelligent people, often fall prey to a need to have ideas summarized for them. Like every kid who has ever tiptoed into the ripples at the very edge of the beach, we all know that a wave of knowledge is just too powerful to assimilate all at once. Well, as Ace would say, “this is a thing, now.” Someone has turned it around into a method that short-circuits reason and the transfer of ideas, by appealing directly to that need for spoon-feeding. They have combined the spoon-feeding of “thought pellets” with the “push the lever and get a pellet” system of reward, namely by seeing other people mocked.
In this manner, you get the “ideas for idiots” version of something in the political realm, and it’s delivered with snark!
“It works on so many levels!”
Unfortunately, we’re talking about politics here, really. These short-circuited, pelletized ideas are designed to make you laugh and think you’re smarter, all at the same time. Of course, that in itself is nothing new. But a big, social-networking platform on the Internet for encouraging herd-like behavior—hiding in a group while those outside it are mocked—is a new tool for the left. It helps them own the minds of the youth (and immature older folks) and makes it difficult for Conservatives to engage them.
This thought-pellet concept is so poorly grasped by the majority of Republicans that frankly, they are like bewildered plains tribes of the early Eighteen-Hundreds, wondering what the railroads mean, and having no clue about the devastation such a thing heralds for their way of life. (Someone will undoubtedly tweet that I just made a racist comparison.)
But it’s a much more insidious concept than it seems, because it’s a phenomenon that affects people on the right, as well.
No one wants to hear, “Read a book.” In fact, people so don’t want to hear “Read a book” that “Read a book” is officially an insult.
What people would like to hear — if printed words and sentences containing dependent clauses (or even parentheticals nested within interrupting clauses set off by em-dashes) make their brains hurt — is that all this “political self-detemination” and “informed consent of the voter” stuff is all just a bunch of silly hooey for Smarty-Farties Who Probably Can’t Get Laid.
And hence, any message that presents an extremely simplified take on things which reassures your average dumb, low-information person that he Knows Everything if He Just Repeats This One Stupid Meme and Laughs At the Right People is naturally going to be a Big Seller in the marketplace of ideas.
Because people without taste or discrimination shop there occasionally too.
And by presenting this idea in a user-friendly form for dumb people (a CHEEZBURGER cat and an LOL) is going to probably have more sway that a dozen Thomas Sowell columns.
(It’s mostly a PG13-rated article, so go read the whole thing to see the paraphrased quote from Idiocracy. Or I guess you could wait for the pelletized version.)
Ace’s thought here isn’t restricted to leftists. Even on the political right side of things, the urge to refer to a dictionary for Total Understanding of a concept is a much stronger appeal than picking up a book by the most-recognized author of that same concept. This is why, for example, it is so difficult to dislodge the notion of a “Con-Con” from so many people’s minds. (BTW, a no-prize for anyone who spots Ace’s clever use of recursion.)
But this is human nature (I looked it up on twitter, so you can trust me).
This isn’t a personal failing of just a few, it is an age-old battle we all must wage that is as difficult as the personal battle to be a good Witness. The resistance to questioning how we know what we think we know is something that must be tackled every day of our lives if we wish to understand the great ideas that have traveled along with the ages of man.
But whoah, that’s like, too deep, man. The pelletized version is this: If Republicans want to win over the youth of America, it won’t happen by trying to appease the left’s massive effort to mock them as racist homophobes.
I should tweet that.
Republicans need to stop listening to Karl Rove sound bytes on Immigration Reform and read those Thomas Sowell columns—and those books Ace mentioned. Without a thoroughly-grounded understanding of a concept, you cannot formulate a message that can break through the short-circuited mind. For example, a solid response to @SomeFoolOnTheInternet claiming you’re racist on twitter is not a feeble, John McCain-style protest that you are interested in expanding the rights of certain victim groups with certain skin colors. You hit them back squarely with a short, easy to understand idea of your own:
Only leftists care about skin color
— Article Five (@ArticleVProcess) February 18, 2014
But seriously, we also have to read those books. (I recommend folks read Levin’s book in particular:)
Otherwise we are left with what Levin calls “marble-mouthed” protestations like the Cotton Conservatives and the Rockerfeller Republicans keep coughing up again and again. Appeasement, pandering, grift, and backroom dealing is not going to win elections for anyone but statists. We must have men and women who have learned, as Reagan learned, how to deliver solid ideas in short, punchy, enlightening phrases that earn the respect that well-thought out ideas always gain.
Reagan’s best example was in regards to the so-called “Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice” debate. Whenever he would be asked by an interviewer what his stance was on abortion or Roe v. Wade, he always said the same thing:
Well, I believe that until science catches up to the point where we can define when life begins, we should always err on the side of life.
— Ronald Reagan (@RealLife in the 1980’s) The Nineteen Eighties
And Reagan came up with that 138-character gem of irrefutable logic long before the geeks who invented twitter were able to operate the scratched and dented, no longer manufactured, RCA console Tee Vees in their parents’ basement rec rooms.
Discussion #22 – Just the Video
Discussion #21 – Frequently Asked Questions
Discussion #20 – Nullification: don’t do an image search!
Discussion #19 – The Kooks and Neoconfederates Edition
Discussion #18 – #Shutuppery
Discussion #17 – Why All The Lies?
Discussion #16 – A Few Quick Notes
Discussion #15: Our Cities: The Real Misery Index
Discussion #14: The Missing Balance and the Many Applications
Discussion #13: Activism, and the Scope of the Problem
Discussion #12: Cutting Back The Bureaucracy
Discussion #11: ArticleFiveProcess site news
Discussion #10: The Article Five process is how we go on offense
Discussion #9: the filthy habit of continuing resolutions
Discussion #8: Naysayers
Discussion #7: Tracking Our Progress
Discussion #6: Amendments on Spending and Taxes
Discussion #5: How much power do the states have?
Discussion #4: What If They Hijack the Convention?
Discussion #3: An Invitation to Our Friends on the Left
Discussion #2: Run Away!
Discussion #1: Zombie Doctrine, Tactics, and the Liberty Amendments