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Breaking News #3: ESG, Vivek Ramaswamy and The Influence of Political Entrepreneurs

Breaking News is free for everyone to access. You can grab the mp3 file below, or you can subscribe at:

Join Ben Hunt, Matt Zeigler and Jack Forehand as we break open the news to reveal the Nudging language behind the headlines. Media bias is real, but not in the way you think.

Political entrepreneurs are all around us. They influence what we think. They influence how we think. But we often don’t recognize it. In this episode, we pull back the curtain on the world of political entrepreneurs. We explain who they are, what they do and why they do it. We also look at what we can all do to protect ourselves from their influence.

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  1. I have always found there to be something of a paradox in ET of which I think the political entrepreneur (PE) discussion provides an example. Ben said a few times “I’m so tired of this crap”. But the leveraging of the tools of language to influence other people is one of the primary purposes of the tool. Our kids are taught ‘persuasive writing’ starting in 3rd grade. In my estimation the chance of a politician making it through the widening gyre filter without using language in a tiresome way is 0 and I don’t know if this will ever change.

    The paradox is that I think there is a general, and honorable, sentiment in ET that might be called ‘anti-fragmentary’ (i.e. ‘how do we defeat the widening gyre?’)…and yet most of what ET does is highlight the growth to dominance of fragmentary social/economic/political dynamics. This is where the PE discussion is relevant. If we are justifiably ‘so tired’ of politicians who utilize all the tools that our current understanding of language provides then there is really no way to avoid apathy at scale. We for sure will be waiting, at the least, for a first turning for such a thing. The choice then is either apathy and eventually nihilism OR to drive ever more of our Attention to smaller scales where there is still hope. And this is exactly what all the many other fragmentary dynamics we point out are doing…forcing us to realize that the way to preserve/recover meaning is to narrow our focus a la MPT, ‘as below, so above’, etc.

    Ok now am I saying all of this because I support Vivek and had a rage engagement? I think no! But I will say that Vivek has something going for him that has become ridiculously rare and which does generate a sympathetic attitude in me. He says words…and the sum of those words often has actual, decipherable meaning! This should be a very low bar but it is the rare politician nowadays for which it is true.

  2. Avatar for KCP KCP says:

    I agree with you on Vivek. He is refreshing as he has a strong grasp of the facts behind his positions - he doesn’t smoke show it - he has passion for his positions while not making them by teasing/making fun of the other “side” or position.

    I reluctantly listened to the first debate and i had to admit there were some refreshing ideas from the state level candidates - actual ideas - like the ND Gov shadowing students to see the class experience. I’ll take him at his word that it happens and that there is best practice sharing across school system and the schools are incentivized to produce. Hukabee in AK enacted some ideas to empower teachers/schools in the direction of…actually educating…we’ll see how they work but i like the efforts.

  3. (I almost quoted your entire comment, so let me say “yes!” to start)

    I think you’re getting to the core of what we started our talk with. In breaking up the two words to focus on the Political and then the Entrepreneur, we (now I’m) making the point that people/politicians have to come up with something new OR attach themselves to something being spun in a different way, in order to gain some version of market share. Idea markets, voting markets, social media clout - whatever. The core idea being an idea is never enough, you need a crowd behind the idea for it to count.

    You’re taking it a very important step further too. I’m so on the ET forum for exactly this type of talk.

    In Howe/4th Turning terms - in an unraveling and then crisis period, the fracturing is increasingly reflected in the widening gyre. Part of the turning happens as PE’s use language to fracture anything that is fracturable, for profit (re: take whatever market share of smaller and smaller pies they can get). They’re chiseling away at whatever institutions they can, in a profitable (sometimes extra grifty!) way. We’ve been living this for a few decades.

    The anti-fragmentary reversal, or turning from crisis into a high, is figuring out how to take those smaller and smaller pies and start to bundle them back up. It requires the same language tools. It’s all still “influence.” But instead of working farther and farther into the tails, we start to see PE’s attempting to (re)build market share with people from the tails in the middle again.

    It is a paradox(!). The language around the ideas to build market share is the same. It’s just moving the targets from the tails towards the center that feels so disorienting.

    What’s extra fascinating to me, is we’re looking at younger Gen X and older millennials to be the new institution-building PEs right now. That’s how the 4th turning turns, from crisis to high. These are your newly emergent power-brokering PEs. Look at their birthdays: Vivek? 38 years old. DeSantis? 44. Gabbard? 42. Hello new class of PE’s. The 4th turning will see you now, here, etc.

    Their market share is in making big/legacy boomer institutions the bad guys in an attempt to pull whoever they can back from the tails, back towards the middle. Vivek is doing this with Blackrock as one example. If you can turn boomers against boomer institutions you can win an election. It’s a strategy. I bet you, and a whole lot of us, are feeling this shift. The gyre might still get wider first, but the incentives to find ways to close it up (which we might not all actually want/agree with here) are starting to crop up. And we will continue to see it play out in the language of these political entrepreneurs.

  4. Avatar for Zenzei Zenzei says:

    :woman_astronaut: Wait, eyeballs and attention (aka market share) is the ultimate currency of the world, today?

    :gun::woman_astronaut: Always has,

  5. Avatar for bhunt bhunt says:

    I hear this about Vivek a lot - and RFKjr, too - “they’re so well-spoken” … “they have such command of facts” … etc.

    Honestly, I hear these two guys and all I can perceive is the sheer, raw sophistry of their words. To be given a gift of well-spokenness and intelligence and to squander it by proposing not just batshit crazy policies but knowingly batshit crazy policies. Drives me absolutely crazy. I am indeed so tired of this crap!

  6. Oh man, that’s one for the Pack Chuckles thread.
    The paragraph suggesting the governor of West Virginia go for “Chief Justice Chief Justice” was a side-splitter!

  7. Avatar for Tanya Tanya says:

    Loving the podcast, each episode keeps getting better and with this one I really felt it hitting its stride. The summary section at the end is brilliant, and I think a lot of podcasts would benefit from something similar. Great work, gentlemen!

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