Presentation on theme: "Selling Constitutional Compliance Austin Constitution Meetup March 19, 2009 Presented by Jon Roland."— Presentation transcript:
Selling Constitutional Compliance Austin Constitution Meetup March 19, 2009 Presented by Jon Roland
Diffusion of Innovations
Spread of Change Starts with primary adopters (originators). Adoption by imitation by secondary adopters. Spreads from secondary to tertiary, quadranary, etc. Decisionmakers usually at the end of the chain of influence. Influence mostly comes from those with whom one is in direct contact. Broadcast messages reinforce, but don't drive.
Strategy of Reform Analyze the chain of influence leading to the key decisionmakers. Influence those with whom you are in direct contact, not just to adopt, but to sell to the next in line. As influence spreads, one may lose control of its progress. It may not be possible to influence some, so that they have to be replaced.
Competitors emerge Changes don't spread without instigating opposition, which may come to spread faster then the reform you seek. Countering opposition usually involves organizing adopters at all levels. The conflict will converge on the decisionmakers, who may not be able to understand the reform the way its proponents do, or properly carry it out.
Distributed Decisionmaking Decisionmaking in most polities is distributed among many persons, not all at the top. Most reforms, like constitutional compliance, will require the right decisions in every level, branch, and department of government. This becomes an educational effort, and change of the entire civic culture, not just a few statutes or court decisions. Decisionmaking must be coordinated and timed or gains in one place will be lost before completion.
Analyze the Opposition Almost all of the usurpations have a constituency that will oppose reform. Some of the usurpations have had time to show they don't work, and one can reduce opposition by demonstrating there are better ways. The interests that rely on the way things are now being done are called “reliance interests”. We also have to contend with herd behavior: people seeking safety in the center of the herd.
Motivating Reform Becoming a victim of abuse. Seeing others being victimized. Being educated on the causes and remedies. Doing the work of developing the remedies. Finding like-minded people and organizing. Finding a charismatic leader. Winning small victories that build morale. Adopting an attainable timetable.
Simple Solutions Aren't Most people respond emotionally to problems but not solutions. Abstract, complex proposals lose people. Yet most of these problems do not have simple solutions. The most appealing simple solutions are probably ineffective or even counterproductive. Read Jay Forrester, “Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems”.
History of Constitutional Compliance The constitutional compliance movement is as old as the country. It has had some victories, but between really serious abuses that affected millions of people, it has mainly been among a few intellectuals, supported by a wider patriot community. It seems to need a charismatic leader, but we have gotten a lot of false prophets. A charismatic leader who is also strong on the details is difficult to find.
Government Opposition Since about 1900 almost every reform movement has provoked an oppressive response from government actors. After WWII constitutional compliance efforts of various kinds, under various names, have been targeted as never before for criminal prosecutions, tax audits, and other oppressive actions. However, the movement seems to have grown large enough to make it difficult to suppress.
People are angry and scared But they are still not educated or organized. Too many are being misled by false prophets with half-baked legal ideas. They are overwhelmed by the size and complexity of the problem, as well as of the remedies. The economic meltdown might encourage positive change, but it may also lead to a misguiding “man on a white horse”.