By Stella Morabito
Occupy Wall Street aims to sway public opinion by projecting the false illusion of a “collective belief” against free markets. Likewise, most leftwing agendas depend on building a fake sense of public opinion support, especially when the agenda cannot withstand prolonged scrutiny or debate.
But the success of leftist activism depends to a great degree on the everyday silence of millions of conservative individuals. The matrix of political correctness built by leftist elites is probably most effective in applying widespread social pressure on conservatives as individuals.
It thereby isolates and discourages many conservatives from exposing their views to co-workers, neighbors, clients, classmates, and anyone else who might be effectively engaged in day-to-day life.
Consider this scenario: The phone rings while Rush Limbaugh is audible in the background. The covert conservative turns off the radio out of dread of being exposed as a listener.
Or this scene: A conservative nods politely while a neighbor pontificates leftist views. He does not correct his neighbor’s mistaken assumption that he shares such views.
Or this: A co-worker expresses disgust for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Without even questioning the premise, the conservative simply changes the subject.
Such reticence to engage contributes to a dangerous reverse bandwagon effect. To understand the mechanics, we might look up the theory of “preference falsification,” a term coined by the scholar Timur Kuran in his 1995 book Private Truths, Public Lies. He defines it as “the act of misrepresenting one’s wants under perceived social pressures.” [emphasis added]
Public opinion is actually “a determinant of people’s willingness to reveal their innermost selves,” observes Kuran.
When we falsify our core beliefs in our daily lives the effect is “the regulation of others’ perceptions.”
This happens in many ways, but when you avoid speaking up truthfully or at all, as the occasion presents itself, you deprive others of your knowledge and lose the opportunity to influence how others think.
The opposing view then takes root more deeply because you’ve also made it harder for those who might agree with you to speak up. [emphasis added]
According to Kuran, individuals’ preference falsification has an extremely powerful ripple effect that influences both the shape of public opinion and the political process.
An interesting sidelight is that President Obama’s current regulatory czar Cass Sunstein has studied this phenomenon in some depth. Sunstein and Kuran co-authored a 1999 Stanford Law Review article on a related theory, the “availability cascade” which they define as “a self-reinforcing process of collective belief formation whereby an expressed perception triggers reactions that make that perception seem increasingly plausible through its rising availability in public discourse.”
It involves two mechanisms: “information cascades” in which uninformed people “base their own beliefs on the apparent beliefs of others;” and “reputational cascades,” in which earning social approval or avoiding social disapproval affect how personal opinions are expressed or withheld. Sound familiar?
The process can be very fragile, according to the authors. But it can trigger huge and unpredicted shifts in public opinion. What this means is that no conservative can afford to sit back and expect talk radio or conservative think tanks to save the day.
A more positive shift in public opinion will gain enduring traction only when thousands more conservatives — and, following their lead, millions more — refuse to falsify their preferences to those they meet in day to day life. [emphasis added]
By being friendly, engaging first with those who like and trust them, many conservatives who take the risk of defying political correctness report the pleasant surprise of discovering like thinkers waiting to be emboldened.
Even if this doesn’t happen, breaking out of isolation is essential to discrediting the leftist caricature of conservatives and presenting more and more people with the human face of conservatism.
Read more at the Washington Examiner.
What’s this all about in plain English? Simple. There are a lot of “closet conservatives” out there. They have been misled by leftist propaganda into believing that “normal people” don’t agree with them, so they’d better keep their opinions to themselves or face social ostracism, job loss, and maybe outright violence. They WILL come out of the closet if, and only if, they see YOU being truthful about your opinions. That’s why it’s time for all of us to step up to the plate and go to bat for the truth, not only in the blogosphere and in letters to elected officials, but also in our real-life, face-to-face encounters.
By Megan Fox
A few days ago, I took my kids to one of those places with giant inflatable slides that sane people avoid. My best friend was in town for her once-a-year visit home and in order to show the kids a “good time” took them to inflatable kid heaven, otherwise known as The Jump Zone.
There were many other mothers there that day but oddly enough, they weren’t doing any of the things we were. In fact, they were happily parked on benches yapping with each other like they were at Starbucks with a nanny at home. In the meantime, their children were terrorizing ours in ways that would have gotten them arrested if they were a few years older. My girlfriend’s three-year-old made it all the way to the top of a very precarious perch just to have some overanxious boy shove her off. She fell about 10 feet to the inflated surface below, unharmed but scared and screaming. The boy, about 6, never even looked back, his mother an invisible mystery. No adult came forward to claim the vicious little brat or to reprimand him and demand an apology for this anti-social behavior. My 5-year-old made a beeline for him and told him off in her babyish way. “That wasn’t nice!” she said in her best Mommy voice. He shoved past her and went on with his reign of terror.
Two minutes later, my 2-year-old was happily standing on top of a plastic baby slide just watching the chaos in front of her when another little boy, old enough to know better (7?) came charging up to the slide, grabbed the whole thing and started rocking it and tipping it over. Something snapped inside my brain as I watched my baby’s face shrink in terror as this monster tried to topple her tower with her in it. I was on him in less than four seconds. I dug my fingers into his ribs and shouted at him, “NO!” in the exact same voice I reserve for the dog when he’s got my shoes.
He dropped the playset and turned to me, shocked, and I continued to scold him uncaring of who was watching. I’m not sure what I said, something about manners and ending up in jail, but I hope he’ll remember it the next time he tries to harm a baby. I looked up, expecting to face his either sheepish or angry parent and to my surprise, no one came. He disappeared into the melee and that was that.
These are only two of the episodes that occurred in that hour. Other, equally disturbing acts of torment continued for our time there and in no instance did any parent but my friend or me intervene. This parenting trend to outright ignore one’s children is puzzling but everywhere. I’m no Parent of the Year here. I mean — I ignore my kids plenty when we’re at home and they’re safe and I have stuff to do. But to take them out somewhere were they could hurt themselves or others and ignore them is an outrage. But I have a solution that I’ve decided can reverse this problem but it will require your help: We’re going to engage in verbal fisticuffs.
The current wisdom says don’t make a fuss because you never know who has a gun or a knife or who’s crazy and will cut you. It’s always a possibility. But have we become so scared by the minute possibility of a random act of violence that we will just watch society degenerate into a place where chaos reigns because parents can’t take responsibility? This is the kind of environment, the Lord-of-the-Flies syndrome, that creates more thugs. Unchecked childish violence becomes unrestrained adult carnage and all of us will pay for it one day. I say, no more! I will not be silent when I witness juveniles acting badly in public. Instead of saying something just to them, the way I did with the little bulldozer boy, I will also seek out their mom or dad, take the offender to them and make my case for that parent to do his or her job better. Sounds dangerous doesn’t it? What can I say? I like to live on the edge.
The point is, we all live here. The world is like a big house. There are rules of the house and if the sheriff isn’t doing his job, I’m appointing myself deputy. It’s time to step up if you want to save America. We have a nation full of takers out there. Takers who would trample their neighbor for a $3 waffle iron, and it’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing that a mother should have to be told to watch her child. Maybe embarrassment needs to make a come-back.
…We live with a very thin veil between order and chaos. Has it ever occurred to you that it might be your responsibility to push back against the madness? Popular theory says you can save the world through recycling but what will it matter if the world falls into the hands of bullies and pigs?
We fear that the worst will happen if we say something about someone’s bad behavior — and that’s always a possibility — but probability lies on the side of the idiot backing down. When a bully faces no opposition, the bullying only gets worse. It takes a brave soul to stand up, draw the line in the sand and declare “No further!” It’s the reason the Iron Curtain tore and the Berlin Wall crumbled. It’s the medicine for the national crisis we are in both financially and morally and it starts at home in your community. Personal responsibility, a phrase conservatives have been hawking for years, along with courage is the remedy for all of it.
The American people (mostly conservatives) began standing up to their representatives at town-hall meetings a few years ago and started demanding their government stop spending money it doesn’t have. Their involvement sparked a movement that changed the face of local governments across this nation.
The fight for the moral compass of this country is on and it won’t be won without push-back. The OWS protests are the antithesis of personal responsibility. They are the ones whose parents abdicated their responsibility and allowed them to cut in line and push babies down on the playground. They are the ones who feel entitled to have the first turn, your toys, free college courses in queer studies or anything else they want simply because they weren’t properly socialized. (And yet they consider themselves “socialists” or something. )
Chances are they went to public school where, I am informed, all children go to get “socialized.” I was in a room full of publicly socialized children at the Jump Zone and if that’s as good as it gets I’ll pass and continue my home-socialization experiment. (I home-school.). After all, my kids aren’t the ones knocking over babies and cutting in line.
This kind of parenting creates non-Americans. It strips the American spirit right out of American children by denying them the chance to understand what it is we do here and who we are. We are good people, we are giving people, we care for each other and that’s why we need to stand up and refuse to allow coming generations to become looting parasites. They need someone to call them on their idiocy and that someone is you.
Read it all.
Drive through New Hampshire in the next week, and you will see a staggering number of Republican yard signs. They’re everywhere: It seems like every third house has a sign up. They’re on front yards and in the windows of businesses. They’re in every neighborhood representing every demographic. They’re in front of homes along rural roadways, in front of suburban homes in the big southern towns, and in the conservative blue-collar neighborhoods of Manchester.
And there are even Republican yard signs all over the capital city of Concord — a largely Democratic-leaning town in this swing state.
Barack Obama is in big trouble next November.
In elections, yard signs provide the essential “social proof” to back up the television ads, debate performances, and stump speeches — especially when it comes time to close the deal with relatively apolitical or undecided voters.
But this is a Republican primary. What do January yard signs have to do with Barack Obama?
Here is a secret: If you want to predict a general election, count the number of Republican yard signs in “purple” neighborhoods.
Take a drive through an upper-middle class community in a swing state. Find the subdivision where there’s a coffee shop on the corner and an organic grocery store not too far away, ideally where the Priuses outnumber the SUV’s… but not by much. Find the block where the adults are academics, professionals, or government employees and where every household has a couple of kids in the public schools. The voter breakdown in the ideal “purple” neighborhood is about a third Republican, a third Democrat, and a third independent.
Welcome to Concord, New Hampshire. Or Fort Collins, Colorado. Or northern Virginia. Or Raleigh, North Carolina. Or the suburbs and exurbs and small cities in swing states around the country.
Now count the Republican yard signs. Signs are not polling data, and they are certainly not election returns, but a yard sign is a definitive measure of three things: Support (obviously); intensity; and – most importantly — a voter’s willingness to make his political opinions known to his neighbors. A yard sign — especially in a “hostile” environment — is a symbol of political courage, a sign of an impending shift in public opinion. [emphasis added]
The early returns from the yard sign tallies are in: Voters in New Hampshire want their neighbors to know that they are voting Republican this year.
That is a big deal. If you live in a conservative community in a Republican state, it is hard to understand the open hostility towards Republicans in “purple” neighborhoods. Put up a sign in your yard and prepare to have your neighbors approach (or accost) you at the grocery store. Prepare to have them bring your kids into the discussion. Prepare to have your business boycotted. There is no separation between the personal and the political on the left, so in a swing state a sign in your yard marks you as a target.