What is your political agenda?
What if I told you that I knew how to make this political agenda happen?
If you’re willing to get on the path to push your ideas forward, here’s how to make the public you’re going up against change their minds.
First of all, become a radical. This doesn’t mean you have to be very progressive, but you have to take an extreme side of things. I know, your political agenda isn’t extreme, you just want a moderate change in the world, that’s all. You’re willing to accept just this one small change.
You can’t get a moderate change without going extreme. There are two advantages to going radical:
- You’re controversial. Controversy gets media attention, and media attention is what you want the most. You’ll garner supporters who agree with you, and people will know who you are, which gives you credibility.
- When you propose a moderate change, people will warm up the idea more. More on this below.
There is a concept called the Overton window. The basic idea is that the public has a general range of ideas that they’ll accept. It’s quite a narrow window.
Let’s say, in your city, there’s a law stating that children under 18 must wear a helmet to ride their bicycles. You want to reduce the law and make it children under 12 must wear a helmet to ride their bicycles. This is pretty moderate.
The problem is, if you say this, nobody cares.
The way to get attention, and further, credibility, is to state that there should be no law regarding wearing helmets. In fact, you could even go as far as saying that helmets are harmful.
Now, look at these two titles for the local paper:
“Local Wants Freedom for Teenage Cyclists” (I’m not a journalist, I apologize.)
“Local Proposes that Helmets are Harmful!”
Which is more compelling?
Which story would you read?
Of course, there had better be an amazing story under that headline. Do substantial research and make people who are reading that story because they think you’re wrong rethink themselves. Make sure there are case studies, quotes, all the subtle ways to manipulate people in a debate. Make sure there’s a call-to-action, and consistently show up with the same radical ideas. After you get the first paper and the first attention going, maximize it. Use Ryan Holiday’s method for media domination.
If you did this correctly, you’ll have a devoted, core following, which will kind of be like Kevin Kelly’s 1000 True Fans. They’ll spread your concepts like wildfire, garnering more and more attention. All you have to do is seize the opportunities that come with that attention–TV, newspapers, online media, interviews, always showing up prepared, intelligent, and ready for rebuttals.
Don’t let them think you’re just some crazy person. Present yourself well. What makes people most uncomfortable is when someone who has crazy ideas is actually smart and someone that they respect.
Saul Alinsky, who I’ve talked about before, had some insane views. The thing is, no one can deny that he’s a genius, and that his tactics are genius. That’s what made him so successful.
Eventually, you’ll reach the government.
There will be a petition with 100,000 signatures or something, which is undeniably large following for a simple city law. The government can’t ignore it.
You will have extreme opposition that’s keeping the government from passing your law. There will be hate mail and death threats (but you didn’t get into this because you thought it’d be easy, right?). Think of the moms!
When you reach this point, you simply propose a “compromise.” What is this compromise? Your idea in the first place! Only make it illegal for children under 12 to not be wearing helmets while riding their bicycle.
Everyone will think you’re stepping down, not getting what you really wanted in the first place. The government will be so pleased that it can reach a middle ground which will decrease the tension, they’ll pass your law!
You win! You changed the world! This is all thanks to being a radical in the first place.
Obviously, this is a vast oversimplication of the process. Nothing is that easy. But, the likelihood of making the change you want vastly increases once you take advantage of radicalism.
Next up? Read Rules for Radicals. Look forward to a post about it in the future.
Have any questions or comments about making change and being a radical? Leave a comment below or email me at [email protected].