Arshama the Boss from Hell; or, "Questioned Forcefully, and a Severe Sentence Will Be Produced for You..."

Must-Read: How is one to think about America's transition from the age of interest-group liberalism to the age of Fox News?

Jerry Taylor: How to Change Public Opinion: "Political scientists... offer a pretty good road map for those who want to effectively go about “waging and winning the war of ideas”... https://niskanencenter.org/blog/how-to-change-public-opinion/

...John Zaller’s The Nature & Origins of Mass Opinion.... (1) There is a high variance in political awareness around a very low mean. (2) Public opinion is extremely unstable on matters large and small.... (3) There are numerous examples of dramatic shifts in public opinion over very short periods of time. (4)The vast majority of people have no discernable ideology... partially independent and contradictory ideas and beliefs that co-exist comfortably with one another.... (6) Elite discourse is the most important driver of public opinion....

Zaller constructs... the RAS (Receive-Accept-Sample) Model.... The Reception Axiom.... Elite discourse—not interpersonal discourse or influence—is the dominant means of transmitting political messages. The Resistance Axiom–People tend to resist arguments that are inconsistent with their political predispositions... only to the extent that they posses the contextual information necessary to perceive a relationship between the message and their predispositions.... The Accessibility Axiom.... “A long unused set of considerations,” Zaller writes, “may be completely inaccessible, which is to say, forgotten.” The Response Axiom–Individuals answer survey questions by averaging across the considerations that are immediately salient or accessible to them (literally, what’s at the top of the head at the moment of decision)....

What does Zaller’s model imply for libertarians engaged in “waging and winning the war of ideas”? (1) Our primary audience should be political and policy elites and arguments should be crafted to appeal to them first and foremost.... Winning the minds of the small number of public intellectuals and political elite is sufficient to change the minds of the public at large.... When elites unite... the public’s response is relatively nonideological, with the most aware members of the public reflecting the elite consensus most strongly. When elites come to disagree along partisan or ideological lines, the public’s response will become ideological as well.... Policy arguments should be empirically-based with references to ideology and philosophy minimized to the greatest extent possible.... Maintaining beliefs that anchor one’s affiliations with identity-defining groups and commitments... provide[s] utility... (subconscious) “motivated reasoning”.... Winning policy converts on both sides of the Left-Right political spectrum is crucial....

Politicians are less constrained by public opinion than many think.... Political leaders are seldom the passive instruments of majority opinion.... They... regularly attempt to play on the contradictory ideas that are always present in people’s minds.... There’s a literature out there, people.  Use it.

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