Spinning Free Northerner’s Winning Conservative Strategy

Free Northerner published an article today about how he would spend $142 million on a one-shot campaign to do as much damage to the professional left as possible. This post will make no sense until you go and read it.

The comment section has criticized him for it, so I will try not to jump on the bandwagon of people telling him that it can’t be done. I will instead explain how much his laudable goals are likely to cost, and what the likely challenges are going to be. At the end, I will suggest some more practical models for the near term.

Political advertising in the US is heavily regulated.

It is less regulated as it relates to issue advertising relative to candidate-based advertising. Message-based ads are basically unrestricted so long as you disclose what entity they’re coming from upon the ad itself. One reason why the political ad budgets often become so high is because it is inherently oppositional advertising.

In the private sector, advertisers look to own and then maintain a monopoly on a particular product that satisfies a particular unique selling proposition. It is usually a losing proposition to run a competitive ad campaign against a rival unless you truly possess a special advantage.

In politics, if you’re attempting to get your candidate to win over the competitor, you need to overcome all the competitors gunning for the same seat.

Given that Free Northerner isn’t looking to win any elections, but instead to run essentially a war propaganda campaign, the calculus becomes different: It becomes less about competing for an electoral seat and more about creating conditions favorable conditions for secession.

Some bullets:

  • The salary estimations are off. You will not poach private sector talent earning $150,000+ per year offering such low pay. $2 million for a tech team gets you about four years of burn rate with a startup-scale team who will not necessarily have the execution capability that you would want. Because this would be marketing based you would run out of budget almost immediately and would need to devote most efforts to raising funds to raise more funds — the usual non-profit death cycle.
  • Further, there are almost no right-wingers in PR/media/advertising with the digital talent to volunteer during election times, which is what Obama benefited supremely from, especially through alliances at Facebook.
  • The left is performing better in elections because it has access to top digital talent. The right is a gerentocracy that relies upon AM radio, a cable TV network, and direct mail. The web talent is laughably bad. Open up the Daily Caller on a mobile device and count how many seconds it takes to load. PJMedia nor Breitbart even have  responsive websites. Right wing wonder boy Drudge has not even bothered to update his antiquated page, demonstrating the retrograde attitude to design that is endemic on the right wing.

The left dominates the education system, the newspapers, the entertainment industry, the information technology industry, and advertising. This immediately chokes off most of your potential recruits, especially in the younger generation.

You can reach more people through FB than through some network cable slot…

Facebook’s CPMs vary based on whom you are targeting, but they trend within a similar band as Fox News (usually lower). Running unpaid campaigns on Facebook is going to become increasingly less viable as they reduce organic reach for Pages, a development that has been ongoing for two years. If you scroll down to this 2013 Pew Cable survey, you’ll see that Fox News average CPM is just above $4. I would expect to pay that much or a little less for a non-retargeted, premium Facebook audience segment on the news feed.

Late night FNC is probably significantly cheaper than a Facebook campaign, and targets a wealthier (albeit older) audience. You can get significantly cheaper space on FB and elsewhere through retargeting, though — getting good rates on the internet requires skill & expertise. And skill & expertise do not come cheap.

In communications, people who are nonprofessionals get raped with higher rates and tend to not realize how and why they are being ultra-fucked. This is the case with every medium. They are all complex and opaque and figure out ways to screw the inexperienced & inept as efficiently as possible.

Create a small fund (say $500k) that the aforementioned bloggers (or just regular Joes) can apply to have expenses paid for doing investigative work on a potential anti-leftist/Democrat lead.

Again, this does not go far. Investigative journalism becomes expensive rapidly, especially because of travel costs and other non-obvious expenses. Further, the cost of promoting a story once you publish it is nontrivial. The NYT, WaPo, and other publications will spend more than $500k on a single investigative feature.

Similarly, PIs are expensive (I know because I worked as a ghetto unlicensed corporate PI for a little while). Lawyers bid their rates beyond what ordinary people can afford — although it does not take much other than inordinate patience, autism, and a lack of ethics to train up someone into becoming a good one.

Rates for PIs start at maybe $50/hour, and investigations are both tedious and inordinately time-consuming. It is not a good task for volunteers for this reason.

Next, hire a couple dozen ideologically conservative reporters at $50k a piece (plus investigative expenses)

Nickel-and-diming the front line talent is one of the reasons why every conservative media operation that is not owned by Rupert Murdoch is a clown show. You get what you pay for. I really mean this. Nickel-and-diming wears down even the most promising talent, prevents them from being able to develop experience, causes churn, and produces drama within the organization.

There are also almost no ideologically conservative reporters. I know of one family of conservative reporters of any obvious talent, and they all earn more money than that from the pockets of people named Koch, Anschutz, and Murdoch.

Create a legal war team. $20M

This quote is too low.

As Kate always says, failing to show up for a riot is a failed conservative policy. Hire a bunch of young conservative/Republicans (at low wages) as organizers. Anytime leftists protest, the hired organizers would create a counter-protest. They would then organize their own protests. Do what leftists have learned; don’t protest in public streets, target.

The warm bodies are cheap, but the organizational talent (and more importantly, the press relations team) is where the funding goes. Warm bodies can be trained to raise money from people or get into fights and march around, but a good press release costs $7,500 a pop, with more significant coverage going for more like $50,000 a pop, not including the advertising support.

National campaigns would run to the millions rapidly — this first two numbers would be for a small local area to a mid-sized metro. Good permits also cost money and require bribes to local politicians, plus relationship-building.

The Need to Focus and Self-Sustain

Because resources are constrained, and we do not have anywhere near the fundraising operation that even the world’s shittiest PAC does, you have to focus on activities that are self-funding. The single most effective online right wing political campaign that I have witnessed was the seemingly-spontaneous response of ‘Molon Labe’ to Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns campaign.

In 2013, Steve Vaus recorded a short song that recalled a battle in Texas. Almost immediately, the obscure Latin term ‘molon labe’ immediately exploded on Google Trends. This occurred simultaneous to when Bloomberg’s organization pushed the slogan ‘Demand a Plan’ through his network of celebrities and politicians.

The results shocked me at the time.
 

As you can see, the response annihilated Bloomberg’s ad and press campaigns, which had the benefit of an enormous amount of earned media that is not available at any price (free write-ups in the Times, write-ups on the Times op-ed page, appearances on the Sunday shows, the whole nine yards).

Petty vendors earned a mint selling t-shirts and posters based on the tagline, which communicated an effective message: “if you come to confiscate our guns, we will fight to the death.” This is a clear example of capitalizing on the local firepower superiority of the right wing. And it defeated a far more expensive press and ad campaign pushed by the entire left elite working in concert — advertising, media, information technology, and even investment banking.

It also exploited a clear division that has been critical in Connecticut: the left can ram legislation through, but when they ask policemen to die to enforce new laws, those policemen will not obey orders. Knowing this pressure point, the right can continually bait the left into over-reaching beyond the point to which it can actually exercise real power.

This is doubtless the sort of reaction that has worked and will continue to work to rile the barbarian horde, to make it more expensive to govern effectively by demotic means.

Some quick points:

  • Changing the minds of people costs resources. Getting people to take actions costs resources.
  • Changing people a lot costs more money than you probably have or are capable of raising within the time frame in which you want to enact the change.
  • Encouraging people to make small changes is much cheaper than encouraging them to make large changes.

The conservative political machine is good at sustaining itself, but just lacks the sheer resources of the left.

Facing an enemy with far greater material resources, it is necessary instead to use unorthodox methods rather than direct confrontation to disrupt and destroy the systempunkts within their economic machinery.

Direct confrontation can be easily contained by the left: it is like a frontal assault on a fixed position with a predictable result.

The left can trivially contain any direct attack, because it is politically well-fortified against such attacks. It is like trying to attack Rommel’s tank divisions with a bunch of drunk amateurs driving golf carts. They will break at the first sight of the Panzers, and it is not responsible to tell them that they have a chance to win against him.

I am glad Free Northerner has started this discussion, because debating practical actions is more entertaining to me than theorizing, which I have no talent for.

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27 thoughts on “Spinning Free Northerner’s Winning Conservative Strategy

  1. The missing element is religious affiliation. Much that FN proposes may be done by a church pursuing a religious mission, especially if candidate advocacy is ignored. This may also increase income for the non-profit while shielding accounting.
    As much as Glenn Beck may disappoint, He’s already tackled many of the challenges you and FN discuss. A serious effort would include contacting his organization.

    • Yes, and even chuches cost money to run well. Not all that much, considering, but it’s a good point that churches/religious orders have some legal advantages relative to PACs.

      How do you mean that GB has tackled the challenges? Certainly, he’s got experience and talent with radio and cable, plus some success online, but he is not about to become a monarchist.

      Granted, there are a lot of common objectives that we share — it is just that we want to carve up the union, and last I checked, he wants to hold it together.

      • The dark enlightenment is a broad and diverse group. Although Beck certainly doesn’t fit the usual mold, asserting that a mold exists is a mistake. He claims Penn Jillette as a good friend and ally, for example. That’s what puts him in our camp against progressives. If Beck would eventually recognize many of his truths are “dark,” observations, that the lies progressives tell us tempt us because the lies are pretty, then the last barrier to his complete acceptance of the DE position would be broken.

        Some few years ago, a movement started to gather support for secession of Texas, among other states. I distinctly recalls Glenn saying, “Do not sign the petition. Do not give your enemy your name.” He did not say, “Secession is a bad idea. The states should remain in the union.” I’m sure many did not observe the difference, but it’s there. A man who says “Don’t donate to the Republican party, donate to the candidates among Republicans you support,” may not agree with our conclusions, but he’s getting awfully close. Combine all this with what he’s built, and the potential he’s a very real target for persecution, and it’s possible there may come a tipping point.

        Enough of Beck.

        I can report from the bowels of the AtheistKult – not to be confused with DE atheists like me – that AtheistKult fears churches. Churches are the only organized groups of individuals capable of inspiring death-defying action. The best churches are multi-generational, tribal, well-capitalized, and populated by professionally diverse and professionally complementary self-sufficient tradesmen. The rural churches best exemplify these traits and are less likely to tolerate damning heresy – like gay marriage. The typically urban AtheistKult can’t combat this, and thus fears those churches. All AtheistKult effort is directed toward taking down churches and defaming religion – even things that are purportedly about other political motives – including alliances with religious groups. That the churches do not realize their danger is due to two failings: either ignorance (Catholics and Mormons) or moral corruption (Episcopalians and most Jews). When African Anglicans must save the Episcopal church, then we all know that heresy has spread deep and the body is gravely ill. If we could mobilize the core of morality contained in the remaining uninfected churches, and avoid the dangers of Churchianity that Great Books for Men (lolz) warns against when deriding Dalrock and Vox, then we might be able to retain some civilization against the Brave New World’s coming.

        And that’s probably enuf said for a comment.

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  3. You’re right in that I don’t really know what the costs of some of these would be.

    But I think, you, and others reading it, are missing what this is supposed to be. It is not supposed to be some vast network to match for Cathedral’s vast resources. The information network is not supposed to be a match for the left’s media empire; It’s not even a propaganda war. The production values don’t have to be high quality. The people employed don’t have to be the best.

    It is also not meant to be a one shot campaign. Assuming the Romney donors would be donating to a different GOP candidate in different elections; they could divert those resources to maintaining the plan.

    In terms of resources, the right is heavily outmatched; the plan is not supposed to match them equally. It’s to meet them where they are weak and to drive them into either backing down at the high cost or escalating the fight into where we are strong (violence).

    This plan is not supposed to be an army, it is a guerrilla network, an assassination team.

    The main point is to find, isolate, and attack specific individuals to drive them into silence. It’s is to instil terror across the left by destroying the individuals who hold the left up. If any leftist know that they could be the ones enduring an absolute attack

    We need to leverage a small amount of paid individuals to catalyze and guide a much larger number of unpaid individuals. The left does this all the time. How many resources did it take to oust Eich or Pax? Not much. A large, mostly unpaid internet mob. The strategy is to organize a right-wing mob.

    It shouldn’t need as many resources as you think, because it’s not as large as you think.

    • It took more resources than it appears to build the coalition that it took to oust Eich and Pax. Tuition does not come cheap. The training for the leaders cost over $30,000 per semester. Granted, a lot of that is lard. But it is not nothing, because the standardized education makes it far easier for the crowdists to coordinate.

      Further, the earned press in both the Eich and Pax cases would be extremely expensive to acquire for a rightist campaign. So expensive as to be almost unavailable at any price (because the gatekeepers would refuse your money).

      The placement services that put those graduates within the target firms also all have fully salaried staff.

      All of your objectives are good. I also agree that targeted attacks are the way forward (which the left is also realizing to its glee).

      What I want to impress upon you and onto other readers is the practical cost of achieving those objectives, and to get a more accurate estimation of the strength of the enemy.

      Do you think that we can win by deploying our weaknesses against the enemy’s strengths? It is more promising, in my view, to deploy our strongest points against the weakest points of the enemy. You have identified some of those strong points.

      I have no objection to paid leaders galvanizing organized volunteers. I object to mob politics on principle, and in practice. The right will be defeated in any symmetrical conflict with the left, because the left enjoys a far superior position.

      Function and form are inseparable — matching the left’s forms will only result, in the long run, with matching the function of the left.

      Another point where I disagree is the pooh-poohing of the importance of competence versus zeal. I fall closer to the former over the latter, and if I read you correctly, you believe the latter is more important.

      Can you explain why you believe that?

      • The competence vs. zeal would depend on the task. Some tasks require more competence, some simply numbers, and some zealousness.

        For the particular task of witch-hunting, I think zealousness and numbers would be more important than competence.

  4. It would be better to attack the left from the further left. Form a false flag group populated with true believer useful idiots and have foaming at the mouth protests against Silicon Valley, Harvard, Hollywood, the New York Times, and SWPL neighborhoods for not being diverse enough. Force Google to hire 50% or more NAMS. Watch it go down. Force Harvard to take in 50% NAMS and watch it go down, etc.

    • Right. You are reading my mind (or my blog drafts).

      This is the sort of asymmetric attack that the left has no antibodies against. It is, however, extremely dangerous. Any such effort would need to be coupled with a societal ‘escape plan’ to contain the damage to certain areas.

  5. My brain is a giant pattern-matching engine. I pattern-matched this against this.
    Specifically matching this:

    Anytime leftists protest, the hired organizers would create a counter-protest. They would then organize their own protests. Do what leftists have learned; don’t protest in public streets, target.

    To this:

    Many 4GW fighters are fighting for goals that have nothing to do with politics, ranging for impressing the local girls to loot to eternal salvation. […] Fourth generation warfare […] is simply “supply-side war,” war driven by the large supply of young men with nothing to do but fight.

    I don’t think you’d have to pay young men to get angry and fight. Combine classical fascist youth groups with gun rights, and PUA pick-up bootcamps and you’ve got a recipe for revolution.
    As a good formalist, the thought horrifies me, but that’s what you’d do if you wanted to be effective.

    • The left is a state that tolerates and supports huge 4GW elements. As the state has become bureaucratic and decrepit, it is unleashing and tolerating dangerous 4GW groups. The last wave of domestic 4GW occurred during Civil Rights, which was eventually co-opted and absorbed by the state.

      We would say that the gangs of Chicago are 4GW gangs. The flash mobs all over the country are examples of 4GW tactics. In that the state forbids effective responses to those attacks, it is effectively allied with those nonstate actors. I’m rephrasing Moldbug’s description of anarcho-tyranny into Lind’s terms.

      The same is the case with the ideologically motivated firing of Eich. Were Eich a feminist fired for his feminism, everyone involved would be financially ruined and might risk jail time. The legal system will tolerate his termination because it is allied with the 4GW swarm attackers.

      The goal in my view is not to corrode civilization. The goal is to contain the chaos, cauterize it, and create new orders that can actually survive such attacks. I do not care about making a revolution — that would be counter-productive. What I would like would be to keep the current state distracted and misdirected for long enough to construct an alternative order.

      Despite this, as USG becomes a failed state, whether we like it or not, everyone on all sides will be forced into such a 4GW conflict. Ideally, the transition back to order can happen with a minimum of destruction and high intensity conflict.

      • It’s substantially easier for us in the UK. We don’t have to argue for any changes to the law or constitution, just for EIIR to start using the powers that she legally already has.

        In the US it’s a lot more difficult. There’s three options as I see it:
        1. Formalise the existing order. The Cathedral already rules, but the intelligent, affluent and likable boys and girls which comprise it absolve themselves of moral responsibility for the predictable (and awful) consequences of their actions through two methods:
        a) telling themselves that they ‘don’t really’ have any power. They are ‘just a journalist’ ‘just a professor’ ‘just a bugler‘. Or:
        b) affecting surprise at the consequences of their actions: “Huh, who would have expected that when we eviscerated Rhodesian civil society and economy, and set a number of bloodthirsty terrorists in charge who had recently waged a genocidal campaign of ethnic cleansing during which rape and murder of innocents was a key component of the strategy, the result would be more bloodshed and death and a total collapse of the State?”
        This strategy involves a campaign of public education, framing the Dark Enlightenment in terms acceptable to the Cathedral. Leftists already have a great deal of contempt for democracy and the common folk. It should not be too difficult to encourage them to abolish it.

        2. As you suggest, ignore the existing order and build a new order. This I link to John Robb’s strategy of Resilient Communities. Try to encourage the cute girls to stay in traditional agrarian communities, perhaps with limited, carefully-targeted advertising campaigns about the rugged masculinity of a traditional husband and the hollowness of the modern urban female’s existence. Traditionalism and large families. As improving drone technology makes waging 3rd generation (blitzkreig) warfare ever-more-affordable to non-state private actors, expect and encourage neo-manorialism. Perhaps a new traditionalist church, preaching submission, order and heirachy. Encouraging their young men (and only their young men *gasp* sexism!) to go on a mission abroad before settling down and finding a wife. A lot of my young female Christian friends make no bones about the fact they go to church looking for a husband. Churchians would use women to change men (man up and marry those sluts!). The Sons of the Dark Enlightenment will change women.

        3. Fascism! The modern left is weak and bloated and decadent. Gone are the days when fags decked pigs in Greenwich Village; when the militant left could mobilise 250 000 angry young men against a change to the tax code. Today when a young black man is shot dead by an Agent of Order a couple of stores are looted, gone are the days when a mere beating was spark enough to burn a city. An honest-to-God fascist movement in the United States today could be terrifyingly successful (so long as it didn’t use the word ‘fascist’). Pickup blog Chateau Heartiste already delves occasionally into 200-proof Dark Enlightenment theology. Picture 100 of your finest PUAs, shirtless, pectorals rippling from hours in the MMA dojo, marching in double-time lockstep counter-demonstration, black banner held high, charging a mob of Occupy X! activists, or Trayvon Memorial Flashmobbers. That’s the spark which burns a nation. And it terrifies me.

      • All interesting thoughts to mull over.

        “Try to encourage the cute girls to stay in traditional agrarian communities, perhaps with limited, carefully-targeted advertising campaigns about the rugged masculinity of a traditional husband and the hollowness of the modern urban female’s existence.”

        Ads in Modern Farmer? Heh…

  6. Heckuva comment thread–since your quick response capability was a lot more thorough than my brief mention of Free Northerner’s post, now my own follow-up post can build off of all the goodness contained above.
    For here and now, while I enjoyed FN’s piece greatly, especially as a former “political professional,” I generally agree with you that there is no chance to beat the left at their own game. We don’t, I think, want to change society, but to build a new one. $142 million spent on setting up four small regional centers where people can go and live and build and prepare would be a better investment. These wouldn’t be the sovereign communities I’m eventually looking for, but steps to prepare the ground and set up real world infrastructure the better to take advantage of opportunities as the creaky governments of today lose their capabilities. Anyway, more on that in a real post coming.

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  8. My initial thought is for that money to be useful you’ve got to use it to change incentives. Most state level politicians will stay within the bounds of what the feds say is constitutional because they want the chance to move up to D.C. and/or they don’t like the prospect of having to live as a fugitive for a while, should openly defying the feds lead to a witch hunt. Seriously destabilizing the status quo is where both the risk and reward is at in terms of changing the game. The GOP won’t do this; an individual politician might, but the party has too many people addicted to D.C. and thus they need to be crushed.
    There are a few ways to employ $142 million dollars to change incentives among the political class, but they would have to be fundamentally more direct than PR campaigns are.

    • My guess is that no governor would support secession without assurances that other governors would secede with him.

      This would not happen unless the Federal government cuts the budget more, for reasons that you suggest. $142 million was a number that FN picked arbitrarily — it would require a lot more oomph and organization-building to even come close to that number within the next few years.

      You would have to pick states that could gain a lot from secession, maintain an independent foreign policy, and bring neighboring states with them.

      • Not necessarily. You could pick someone already in trouble, probably headed for jail, and suggest a rather flamboyant exit strategy. It doesn’t necessarily work, but other governors get it into their heads that they can go a little farther down this road.

        Sure, it is high stakes gambling, but it would be better than PR or trying to reach voters, and FN constructed this thought experiment in such a way in which violence is not resorted to.

  9. What does it take to get a governor to secede? They would have to figure they’ve got a chance a better deal than they would have if they go along with D.C. You can lure him with an attractive deal, or you can scare him. Right now, following the political career path up to Washington D.C. is very lucrative.
    So far, it seems some politicians are comfortable flouting certain laws- like medical marijuana- but this is to a degree where they allow their own citizens to risk possible problems with federal agents. They don’t see any personal downside since no politician has been arrested for allowing medical marijuana.
    What does it take for the local authorities to throw federal agents who are trying to enforce unconstitutional stuff in jail?
    So spending $142 million somewhere small (and perhaps easily defendable), and concentrating on making sure the hearts, minds, and retirement accounts of certain key people are in accord with what you want to do is probably the way to go.

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