A recent study gives us a hint at how to change a cultural consensus:
“When social influencers present ideas that are dissonant with their followers’ worldviews — say, for example, that vaccination is safe and effective — they can unintentionally antagonize the people they are seeking to persuade because people typically only follow influencers whose ideas confirm their beliefs about the world,” says Damon Centola, Elihu Katz Professor of Communication, Sociology, and Engineering at Penn, and senior author on the paper.
So what strategy do we take if we want to use an online or real world neighborhood network to ‘plant’ a new idea? Is there anyone in a social network who is effective at transmitting new beliefs? The new study delivers a surprising answer: yes, and it’s the people you’d least expect to have any pull. To stimulate a shift in thinking, target small groups of people in the “outer edge” or fringe of a network.
In other words, if a group exists, people have enough sense to distrust it and its conclusions, which are made through a path of mental convenience instead of a singular pursuit of truth and sanity. Consequently, outsiders — those who are not going along with the herd consensus — have greater pull, because they are the people who offer alternatives to the extant order.
“Our big discovery,” Centola added, “is that every network has a hidden social cluster in the outer edges that is perfectly poised to increase the spread of a new idea by several hundred percent. These social clusters are ground zero for triggering tipping points in society.”
This means that instead of trying to convince the people who benefit from the status quo, anti-revolutionaries should look to competent outsiders who are recognized as voices of the alternative. This has two important implications.
First, we do not need to convince everyone. We need to spread our ideas to those outside the mainstream and then, most importantly, demonstrate how these ideas work better, therefore those who adopt them will be more powerful, so that this group sees their appeal.
Second, we can entirely bypass the power structure as it is by recognizing that anyone who benefits from the current system will defend it because that is how they got into power, and they see their future as bound up with the system. We do not need to convince denialists, but treat them as irrelevant.
Already more people than ever before, even without a political connection, are seeing the wisdom to escaping the egalitarian cities and going to the competitive countryside, dropping out of social media and mass media, and building their lives around family and culture.
One little push and the whole herd tyranny infrastructure falls over on its back.