Persuading Terrorist Cowards

Persuading Terrorist Cowards

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Persuading Terrorist Cowards
Scott Adams Blog ^ | 1 Nov, 2017 | Scott Adams

Posted on 11/03/2017 8:59:44 AM PDT by MtnClimber

After the tragic terrorist attack yesterday in NYC (where I am now), leaders were quick to say it was an act of terror and the perpetrator was a coward. Both terms are persuasion mistakes. I’ll tell you why.

Terror is what the bad guys want. If we label the outcome as terror, we give them their win, and we remind the public to stay scared.

Calling a terrorist a coward might sound like a powerful insult, but it isn’t persuasive. No terrorist views sacrificing his life for his cause as cowardly. The word bounces right off. To make an impact, you have to use a word that has at least a grain of truth from your subject’s perspective. If your words can’t get a foothold, they are not persuasive.

President Trump — who is better at persuasion than almost anyone — labels these attackers “losers.” That’s a step in the right direction. And it also features Trump’s famous engineering for future confirmation bias. Every time ISIS loses territory they are reminded they are losers. That sinks in over time. People are more influenced by the direction of things than the current state. President Trump correctly persuades to the trend, so events support the label of loser. Neither “terrorist” nor “coward” persuades to the trend.

I think we can do better.

When a would-be terrorist considers his plans, he is probably 100% convinced that paradise awaits him, virgins and all. Our best counter-persuasion would involve injecting some doubt in that belief. Eternity is a long time to spend in Hell, so you might not want to take a five-percent chance of ending up there.

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TOPICS: Society
KEYWORDS: islam; terrorist

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