One Strong Leader Can Keep Congress In Line

gentle_persuasion

Why do our members of Congress disappoint us?

Why do they seem to put their personal interests ahead of the mission we elected them to do?

More importantly, how we can we deter Republicans or bring them back to the fold?

Study Shows How Communities Keep Members In Line

New research by University of Oxford and the ETH Zurich could provide an answer: one strong leader.

When non-cheating members of a community empowered a strong member to challenge the anti-social cheater, the cheating stopped.

More importantly, when potential cheaters became aware of the presence of a “strong man” within the community, they were far less likely to cheat.

Here are some details on the experiment via ScienceDaily.com.

Researchers involved 120 volunteers, divided into groups of four, to play games with money tokens. Each player was given a bank of 140 money tokens with one of the four randomly assigned as the cheat. The cheat could decide whether to refrain from cheating and gain nothing, or risk cheating to potentially gain 70 tokens from each of the three players. The three players had to decide independently whether to challenge the cheat to reclaim the money for themselves, as well as the other players -- the snag being that the challenge would entail a monetary cost to the challenger while the free-riding players would retrieve the full 70 tokens. However, if none of the players challenged the cheat, the cheat would keep their tokens and get away with it.

Members of Congress are part of our community. If we don’t challenge them, they vote wrong get re-elected, and continue to cheat our mission. When we elect a conservative who runs on small-government, Constitutional conservatism, then votes for big spending, big government, it’s cheating. Call it that.

There are even more great lessons from the study:

  • Certainty of punishment was more important than the size of the punishment
  • Community strongmen recovered 83 percent of the cheaters’ gains
  • Knowing that the community backed a strongman was a huge deterrent

It’s important to empower strong leaders who can challenge the cheats. We empower our leaders by guaranteeing to protect them when they take a risk.

We Can Devise a Strategy To Deter Bad Votes in Congress

Based on this research, we can formulate a strategy:

1. Let members of Congress know who we will back in opposing them.

2. Fight like hell with Congressmen push back.

3. Sacrifice what we can to support opposition leaders.

I think we can use the Heritage Action Scorecard as the measure of cheating in Congress. Erick Erickson of RedState explains

This is another reminder of why Heritage Action for America’s scorecard has become the gold standard for measures of conservatism in Congress. They, by the way, give McConnell a 75% rating.

As long as conservative groups continue to entangle themselves with the Republican Party and give Republican leaders undeserved passes, conservatives will keep yanking their own footballs away.

Vote wrong on key votes, and we’ll be on you. And “on you” means our strongman or strongwoman can attack without fear of backlash from the community.

Use This One Word Because It Makes You More Influential

Don't ask me to explain why the human brain works the way it does. And don't ask me how scientists get the idea for some experiments. Instead, take note of the most influential work in the English language, because I want you to be more influential.

What's that one word?

It's not "you" or "free" or "instantly" or "new."  They're very powerful words, as every copywriter knows. But they're not the most influential.

The most influential word comes from The Wizard of Oz.

wizard of oz because

Becuz becuz becuz becuz beCUZ!

Because Is the Most Influential Word, Because It Is

Researcher Ellen Langer wanted to see how to make requests more persuasive. She had her researchers approach lines to copiers in busy offices and asked if they could go next. Each time, researchers used a very specific request: "Excuse me, I have five pages. Could I use the copier next?"

When asked this way, sixty percent of the time the people already in line let the researchers butt in. Not bad.

When the researchers added "because I'm in a rush," the number soared from 60 percent to 94 percent!

But here's where the word "because" really earns its stripes.  Researchers realized "because I'm in a hurry" made sense.  What if the "because" clause was meaningless.

They ran the experiment one more time, this time asking, "May I use the Xerox machine, because I have to make copies."  Well, of course, they had to make copies. Why else would they be asking to use the Xerox machine?

You'd think such a silly request would prompt the people in line to say "get lost."  But that didn't happen. What did happen was astonishing, and it made the word "because" easily the most influential word in English.

When asked "May I use the Xerox machine, because I have to make copies," 93 percent of the people in line said "sure."

Like I said, don't ask me to explain why the brain works this way, just remember that it does.

When you ask someone to go vote on April 2, add a because clause.  "Will you vote on April 2, because it's an election day," will be as effective as "will you vote on April 2, because your liberty depends on it."

Now, go find out:

Why the Sequester Was Worse Before It Happened

How Psychological Biases Hurt Government

And here's the book that'll make you more influential: Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive

Source:  The Xerox studies can be found in: Langer, E., Blank, A., and Chanowitz, B. (1978). The mindlessness of ostensibly thoughtful action: The role of “placebic” information in interpersonal interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36: 639– 42. Retrieved from Goldstein, Noah J.; Martin, Steve J.; Robert B. Cialdini (2008-06-10). Yes! (Kindle Locations 2882-2884). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.