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John Hayward @Doc_0
, 19 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1. A "preference cascade" is what happens when people who feel marginalized discover their ideas are more widely held than they were led to believe. What's happening to the NRA right now is an effort to engineer a reverse preference cascade.
2. The game is to make not just actual NRA members, but people who broadly believe in the Second Amendment, feel marginalized. Raw media power is being deployed to make them see themselves as isolated and outside the mainstream.
3. The theory is that with enough media muscle, a majority can be prodded and tricked into seeing itself as a fringe minority. It's one of the most impressive powers control of news media and popular culture still conveys on the Left.
4. Authoritarian governments can maintain control over large, unhappy populations by making every dissident feel like he is surrounded by loyalists and informers. Sometimes the dissidents are surprised to discover just how strong their numbers have been all along.
5. Reversing this process involves saturating mediaspace with news and entertainment that makes the "consensus" appear to be very different than the view a majority of Americans actually hold.
6. People become reluctant to voice opinions they have been taught to view as unpopular, even though they really aren't. They assume they'll be swarmed and attacked if they speak up in casual conversation. A certain social cost is associated with holding the views under attack.
7. In this way, the majority loses touch with each other. Only fairly committed activists remain in touch and reinforce each other's beliefs. Casual support for the position under attack becomes scarce. In a room full of people who basically agree, everyone is afraid to speak up.
8. A perception is created that if you hold the view under attack by the reverse preference cascade, you're automatically on defense. You have to *prove* you are sincere and of good will. It's a lot of work. The path of least resistance is to remain silent.
9. The gun control crowd knows perfectly well it tends to lose at the ballot box, even in moments when it seems to be holding all the cards. This is partly because gun rights people have been organized and effective through groups like the NRA.
10. The last big gun control defeat under Obama STUNNED the Left. They were absolutely flabbergasted. Obama himself was visibly in shock. They've been making plans for the next battle ever since.
11. A big part of the new strategy is to dismantle networking and organization on the Right. They want to make gun rights toxic, the exclusive province of committed political operators. If nothing else comes from the current push, they want average people to back away from the 2A
12. This is one reason why the attacks on Marco Rubio have been so savage. The meme they want to hammer into people's minds is that NRA donations are blood money, and even moderate politicians who accept them are monsters.
13. A particularly vital objective is to drive away people who support gun rights on principle, even though they do not personally own guns. THAT'S the key target demographic for the reverse preference cascade.
14. Gun ownership is a commitment that requires work and knowledge. Such committed people are less likely to back down. They know other gun owners. They network, join clubs, practice at ranges. It's harder to make them feel marginalized and alone.
15. But people who don't own guns or hold permits, who are intellectually defending a right they personally do not choose to exercise - it's easier to trick them into feeling marginal and weird. Demonization campaigns can shift their preferences.
16. And if those people can be intimidated into silence, such that only gun owners are willing to vigorously defend the 2A, the groundwork for major political victories will have been laid by the Left.
17. That will be especially true if GOP politicians are intimidated away from gun rights, and gun owners find themselves disillusioned and demoralized. Energy wins elections, and keeps politicians faithful to their voters afterward.
18. A final caution: even if the reverse preference cascade doesn't seem to be working in the 2018 election season, keep an eye on the next generation. A lot of this is about shifting attitudes among the young, with a big payoff 2 or 3 election cycles from now.
19. The Left deeply believes in shaping the future by influencing children. How marginalized do suburban kids from pro-2A families feel right now? /end
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