I once successfully seduced a woman by comparing her to a buffalo.
A) It’s a long story
B) Don’t try this at home. Injury, death or worse may occur.
C) Yes, this is directly related to Politics and Self-Deception.
In my last post, I covered three of the four main elements in the speech writer’s/campaign manager’s toolbox.
Self-Deception deserves its own post. Self-deception is to a speech writer what flour is to a baker or iron is to a blacksmith. Essential
All seduction including political writing, requires an understanding of what other people think of themselves. Generally, people think well of themselves, in fact, a little too well. In one study 80% of the participants said that they were of above-average intelligence. Dumber people overestimate their intelligence, while smarter people tend to overestimate the intelligence of others. Go here to see the financial consequences.
Each of us has an infinite capacity for self-deception.
Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz – The Power of Full-Engagement
This is what politiking and seduction have in common. Just as saying, “On a scale of 1 to 10 you’re a five who could stand to lose some weight” won’t get a woman out of her clothes (Men, as a rule, will not be so easily deterred), “You’re an average person, with average intelligence, so don’t expect too much” won’t increase anyone’s chance of being elected.
To summarize, “The truth” doesn’t cut it.
“You’re smart. You’re beautiful. You deserve the best”, are a million times more seductive. “You remind me of a buffalo” also works but you’ve got to tell one hell of a story.
In politics, “You’re moral, You’re exceptional. You deserve the best.” is much more likely to gain votes.
Focus groups, surveys, polls are used to help us find out just how delusional you really are.
“I’m not delusional!” sure you’re not. Let’s look at some hot button issues and see where you stand.
Serious talk, I know Bahamians who have American or Canadian bosses, Cuban girlfriends, Jamaican maids, and Haitian gardeners, but, without any hint of irony, ask, “Why don’t these foreigners go home?” Some of these people have no problem with the idea of MASS DEPORTATION, but just not of ‘their’ bosses, girlfriends, maids or gardeners.
The Immigration Debate in any country always seems to have the following:
- Xenophobes. They don’t like anybody, and are always looking to make some group their society’s pariahs.
- People who want the cheap labour of immigrants but publicly state that they don’t like immigrants
- People who are surprised by a basic biological fact, men want women, women want children (generally), hence the number of people regarded as immigrants continues to grow.
- Hypocrites of other sorts.
There are those who tend to be more rational on this subject but this topic is usually driven by emotions. So it’s easy to find a theme a write the requisite speech.
The U.S Economy (You deserve the best)
Wealth Re-distribution. Class Warfare. Entitlements. 47%. Deficits. An entire book can or should be written on the jargon and code of Macro-economic discussion. Say the wrong thing in the wrong crowd and you could get horse-whipped and run out of town.
The whole “The economy” talk drives this guy nuts and with good reason since he focuses on personal finance. If you want to drop a bomb during “The economy” discussion with friends, ask how many maxed out their 401K contributions even prior to 2007. For an added bonus ask them about budgeting.
Less than 20% max out their 401(k) contributions. More than 60% fail to create or stick to a budget. What difference does “the economy” make to people who have poor financial habits? We all want it to be better but only a few will actually capitalize on its improvement. Yet, “the economy” can be sound bited(?) (sound-bitten?) to death.
Abortion (You are moral)
In 2012 Gallup Polls found that 50 percent of Americans identify with the term pro-life and only 41 percent with pro-choice. Pro-lifers are gaining ground right? Well don’t break out the champagne for the end of Roe v Wade just yet. The U.S is still a pro-choice country. In the same poll, 25% said that they supported abortion rights in all cases, with some 52% saying they would only impose some restrictions.
The truth is simple. Morality does not poll well.
It doesn’t poll well because what we say believe and what we actually believe are two different things even when speaking anonymously to a pollster.
This is what makes this political game so very dangerous.
There is a gap between how smart people actually are and how smart they think they are and an even bigger gap between what they say they believe and what they actually believe. Imagine trying to design a campaign or create a speech knowing that the voters are just as dishonest as the politicians.
To summarize: People are a freaking problem!
Cutting through the smoke.
What if anything can be done, to cut through the smoke of my profession? Is there anyway that the “TRUTH” can be known? I doubt it. What can be learnt is from which direction the greatest number of lies will come from in any election. The idea is not new but it is simple.
Follow the money
The people behind the curtain are far more frightening than politicians on stage. The more money that any particular group spends the greater the influence they expect to have on government after the election is over.
Hence, 20 million people contributing one dollar cannot have as great an influence on a candidate as one person donating twenty million dollars.
More dishonesty comes with more money. Figure out where the most money is coming from and you’ll find the source of many lies.
Accept the pain
Any great thing requires sacrifice to accomplish. Any politician who tells you that you won’t experience the pain of sacrifice is pandering to your self-delusions. Balancing a budget, improving health and/or education all require some pain at the personal level so why are people so ready to believe it will be painless at a national level.
There it is dear reader. I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick trip into my world as convoluted and smoky as it is. I hope you’ve learnt something about yourself and your politician. I also hope that you’ll be harder on yourself and easier on politicians. It’s no that they are more dishonest than you are, it’s just that their job causes them to be dishonest in public more often.
I’d like to hear your comments.