One of the great strengths of the Right is that the rank and file supporters are such slavish followers of their leaders. It comes from the whole ‘triumph of the will’ mentality – ‘that dude’s rich and powerful, ipso facto, I must respect him and if I’m gonna get rich and powerful I’ll have to copy him’. It means they parrot the lines in a way that Lefties simply won’t.
Take this comment from one of our threads:
mike: Good ole â€˜Wack it on the bill’ phil did he say where he was taking the money from to do this or does it just go on the Govts credit card??
Classic. Mike’s exhibiting beautiful meme absorption and regurgitation. Everything he says is as if from Key’s mouth. And the best part: he thinks those are his own ideas. People like that working for you is a propagandist’s dream.
If, say, it had been just John Key and co saying ‘PC’ it wouldn’t have got far. But they weren’t alone. There were the various front groups like Sensible Sentencing, For the Sake of the Children etc too but most importantly, there were the rank and filers, mindless repeating the line (in the States they call them dittoheads). That meant the swing voter started hearing ‘PC’ on talkback, on social websites, from their friends, they heard strangers mention it in the pub. It didn’t have to make sense. There was no actual defensible argument. It was the repetition, initially by a relatively small number of zealots, that got the meme wider penetration until it became a truth universally acknowledged.
Simply doesn’t happen with the Left’s support base. You can’t get the buggers to agree on anything. They care about detail. They argue over it. The educated ones, especially, see simple slogans and shallow arguments as anathema. They don’t tend to go in for blind adherence to their leaders either. They see leaders as tools. Servants for furthering their shared ideals. They critically assess what their leaders say. If they do agree with it when they repeat it to others it will be in their own words. Not a simple repetition of a carefully crafted slogan*. The Left will never have our version of ‘PC’. It’s just not the way we think.
So the Right have this powerful weapon and we can’t respond in kind. It results in people voting a government that will lower their wages, take away their work rights, cut their social wage, and sell their assets because they’re ‘sick of all this PC nonsense’. What do we do about it?
The answer, like always, has to be to talk, to challenge, to engage. When you are talking to someone who voted against their own economic interests because the PC meme (for example) has got to them, you’ve got to excise it. Constructively. You’ve got to point out the big things that matter – wages, public services, jobs, work rights – that the Left delivers on and the Right doesn’t. You’ve got to ask them if light bulbs really matter.
If you don’t, all they will hear are the dittoheads. And they’ll believe them.
*(not that the 21st century NZ Left are any good at generating slogans anyway, or want to be)