Periodically I do volunteer work for one of the local universities. Each semester I get the opportunity to judge case study presentations from the business school. It’s a straight forward effort where groups are broken up into teams of 4-6 students each. Each team then does a 12 minute presentation followed by 5 minutes of Q&A where, as judges, we get to challenge them with questions thereby forcing each team to defend its presentation. It’s the Q&A portion where they tend to reveal if they truly understand and believe what they just presented or are merely attempting to dazzle us with fancy business terms. At the end each group is given their composite score and each judge is asked by the presiding professor to provide some sage advice from “the real world”.
After last night’s competition I was speaking with one of the teams that happened to be made up of students from the school’s marketing program when it struck me. In real life we are all in marketing whether we realize it or not. Whether we are trying to sell a product to a client, an idea to our boss, or perhaps our own qualities to a potential future mate, we are all in a state of perpetual salesmanship of one form or another. Since yesterday also happened to be Election Day it was easy to then relate this concept back to politics as well.
Just like in the case studies above there are two parts to “the sell”. The first part is the presentation itself and the second part has to do with creating the credibility that comes from defending the presentation against scrutiny. Once you understand this concept it becomes easy to understand the difference of politics between Liberals and Conservatives. It all has to do with the proportional relationship between the presentation and the amount of acceptable scrutiny. Conservatives believe the proportionality is 10% presentation and 90% scrutiny. Conversely, Liberals believe that the political “sell” is 100% presentation and 0% scrutiny. This explains why Liberals won’t hesitate to talk about how brilliant Obama sounds when he speaks, yet have never bothered to inquire about any of his college transcripts as proof of his brilliance. Ironically, the cowardly brain dead middle doesn’t care what the proportionality is just as long as neither the presentation nor the scrutiny offends anyone.
Here’s a perfect example to illustrate this concept. If we look at global warming it’s easy to understand that liberals love the presentation. The only thing required is to parade a team of scientist past the media stating that global warming is real and liberals are pretty much sold on the concept. The lack of a need for scrutiny explains why the battle cry from the Left has always been that the debate has already been settled. However, to a conservative an attempted sell using this approach will always fail. That’s because we expect the opportunity to test credibility. Let’s face it, even if scientist could prove the earth is heating up there are still a lot of questions that need answers like: Can you prove causality or is it simply a cyclical event? Or the one question that never gets asked…Do the benefits of a warming climate potentially out weight the negatives? Conservatives believe legitimate questions deserve legitimate answers before we are willing to buy into the idea of turning our lifestyles over to a slick presentation of a theory that refuses to defend itself against scrutiny.
To a Conservative this type of questioning is a necessity. To a Liberal this type of questioning is a nuisance. Liberals love to post presentations that promote sweet sounding ideas like “healthcare for all” or “living wages”. Conversely they hate it when I immediately scrutinize their post by challenging them to “show me the math.” Beyond these examples all you need to do is look at the day’s headlines to see just how true this concept holds up on practically any subject. Liberals are currently trying to silence questioning on everything from climate change, to
I’ve always been taught that the reason someone doesn’t want to hear questions is because they don’t want to reveal the real answers. When a politician has nothing to hide it also represents the exact the amount of information that will be kept hidden. When a politician attempts to dismiss the question, that’s the clue that we should all be scrutinizing their presentation even more. I was raised under the concept that it is both our right and our responsibility to question everything simply because that is how lies are revealed and truths are made believable. Therefore, my parting words of wisdom to this team of marketing students were that only fools buys strictly off the presentation. When it comes to selling political ideas it’s the wise person that understands that the successful defense of scrutiny is what turns the verb “sell” into the noun “sale”.