I am delighted and honored to be back in Dallas with you .
Being here feeds my dreams I know the sand in my hour glass is running down. It’s kind of sobering. people don’t send me birthday cards anymore; they send used tennis balls to put on my walker!
My one great hunting experience was shooting a kudu in South Africa. It was humbling. I made a good shot. The animal was dead before it hit the ground. I was relieved. The wonderful PH explained the kudus characteristics—worn and silvered-tipped horns, dark blue gray neck… he said this was a mature bull no longer capable of reproducing… and not much use to the herd.
I blurted out, “You’re describing me! I could go on his wall!”
I share a few thoughts that audiences have found interesting
Colorado Red Flag law and Virginia
I am very frightened
difficult times for gun owners
Thoughts on the 3 Rs
The recruitment, retention and reactivation of hunters
we know the demographics of hunting; concern is justified
must teach the big picture.. educate the young hunter is engaged in a larger enterprise.. he and she have moral duties.. duties to know, to be informed.. we want young hunters to have fun but we must instill the understanding that fun is based on virtue…
that what we had yesterday and what we have today is not guaranteed for tomorrow;
the access is to the public, not the King or the government
Hunting is not just an event; it’s not something a hunter does from time to time. Hunting is the distillate of many factors that enables the event to happen.
hunting requires a unique political economy;
must have a viable consumer class.. the disposable income to hunt and travel; capitalism, free markets and free enterprise; legal rights; legal privileges regarding firearms and ammunition
we must teach unceasingly the most fundamental rule of economics: we will get more of things when they are given value and we will have less of things that have no value. Tax something and you get less of it; subsidize something and you get more of it.
Why do the anti hunters insist that hunting is the one human activity where the most fundamental law of economics does not apply? Why?
field to fork is great, but not enough
mentoring is one of the noblest endeavors for us, but it is not enough. What do we actually do during the mentored event?
What do we actually say?
here is the spirit of what we want to convey:
from Jim Posewitz, Inherit the Hunt,
Having the abundance and diversity of wildlife we live with today is neither luck nor accident. It is the result of hard, purposeful work. It was done by people of ordinary means and by people blessed with special talents and opportunity. What they had in common was that they chose to be hunters ands there was room in our culture for anyone who made that choice.
We have to appeal to the young person’s sense of honor… and a sense of stewardship and most of all, the commitment to personal action and duty…. if they don’t act, who will?
I begin by trying to answer this question:
How can we use reason and knowledge and morality to defend and advance hunting?
Knowledge Isn’t Power
I wrote an article for the NRA HLF British Columbia’s Perverse Hat Trick
No Science, No Deliberation, No Grizzly Hunting
My first sentence in the article was:
In 1597, Sir Francis Bacon wrote: Ipsa scientia potestas est. That’s Latin for “Knowledge itself is power.”
Bacon was wrong and we Must Understand the Implications of his error.
Knowledge is not enough
Analyzing the Attacks on Hunters so We May Fight Back Against the Bullying
Dealing with a Hostile Deceitful Media
Here is an example:
Danene van der Westhuyzen, President of the Namibia Professional Hunters Association, and Emma Barnett: BBC interview June 2019
I select a small part of the interview to illustrate some of the deceitful tactics used by Emma Barnett to undermine Danene, a pro hunting guest
I and Danene are giving a presentation skills and techniques for handling unfair and hostile media interactions immediately after this presentation.
Here is a segment of the exchange:
Emma: Are your clients killing for their dinner or are they killing because they want a head on the wall?
Comment: Emma immediately begins to set up the moral framing of her anti hunting position: and uses the logical fallacy of the false choice to set up the frame
Danene: they are killing because they are conservationists.. they don’t just sit on the back of a vehicle.. that nature is not beautiful all the time… . nature is death.. it’s all about the experience; the sunset and the sunrise….. .
Emma: It sounds terribly romantic,……….
Note: Danene just talked about nature being not beautiful all the time and about animals dying. Emma totally dismissed Danene’s words. This common tactic ignores the guest’s substantive point and then mischaracterizes the guest’s description.
Danene expressly stated that Nature is death and not beautiful but Emma ignored that description of the struggles and fatalities in Nature and chose to grossly mischaracterize Danene’s words as ‘romantic.’
But take the romance out: assert alleged fact: lion numbers plunged 43% from 1993 through 2014. Giraffe subspecies: 2 were listed as endangered. I put it to you we don’t need human in involvement in the animal kingdom… We seem to be doing far more damage than getting involved with doing good
Let’s analyze what is happening now.
Note how Emma is dishonest here.
Alarms in the listener’s mind should go off again. Emma is now crafting one of the most powerful anti hunting narratives: that human involvement is causing the destruction of wildlife.
Note: Emma cites no evidence that the alleged decrease of animals was caused by hunting. Moreover, she offers no evidence that those same animals may have increased in other parts of Africa for any of a number of reasons, including hunting.
Danene aggressively tries to refute Emma’s assertion regarding the malevolence of human involvement with wildlife
Danene: that is actually my point.. it’s that none of those declines of numbers has anything to do with the trophy hunter.. not at all… … if you have your facts straight—… human encroachment is killing the animals, it is poaching ; the one thing the hunters do is preserve habitat
Comment: Danene is making two irrefutable assertions: human involvement in Nature already exists and will forever exist: wildlife / human conflict; habitat destruction and poaching and
animal population declines are not caused by trophy hunters
Danene could not be more emphatic about existing human involvement.
Danene is asserting fundamental truths.
Emma’s avoidance tactic: What does Emma do?
Emma: goes right to the issue of photos…a photo of a lady with a dead animal.
Emma asks Danene: What is your reaction to that?
Tactic: Emma ignores Danene’s representations and insights about human / wildlife interaction and that hunters do not deplete wildlife. Emma makes the tactical decision to ignore Danene’s arguments and moves on.
As if Emma were saying with condescension, Okay, that’s nice but what about this?
We should say… certainly could say: We can discuss photos later. You are ignoring what I just said. It’s not okay to move on. These are important points. I want to discuss them.
Comment: Note Emma’s tactical avoidance of the fundamental issues of hunting’s justification as she chooses to move on to to a different and frankly irrelevant issue.
Lesson: stay on point !!!!!!!!
Be aware of this tactic and stand up to it. Hold the interviewer accountable.
Trophy Hunting: The Use and Abuse of Rhetoric
Understanding the Immorality and Deceit of the Anti Hunter
“What’s in a name?
That which we call rose by another other name would smell as sweet.”
Juliet, Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II
Seems people don’t like trophy hunting. It also seems that no one can define trophy hunting, so they don’t like something they can’t define. And they don’t like trophy hunting for internally inconsistent and or absurd reasons.
Please understand: The world does not allow a proper perspective. If we want one, we must fight for one.
The phrase “trophy hunting” has been weaponized. It’s intended to shut down all discussion about hunting and to attack the character of the hunter. It is not an invitation for rational discussion.
Regarding grizzly bears, the British Columbia Government announced it would launch a consultation process on regulations to support a sustenance hunt, while ending the trophy hunt.
No definition or guidelines for interpretation of trophy hunting were provided.
This is important because it illustrates that essentially no one knows what they’re talking about yet they believe intensely in what they do not know! That being the case, we must develop strategies to deal with that reality.
Let’s analyze the phrase
Logical Fallacy of False Choices
there is the logical fallacy of false choices: a trophy hunt does not preclude a sustenance hunt, whatever that phrase means.
Also, basing the morality of a hunt on the single criteria of eating the meat is deceitful, illogical and immoral.
The Immoral Conflating Hunting with Poaching This unethical attack is intentional, not the result of ignorance.
The Immoral Focus on the Hunter’s Intent Rather Than the Real Life Consequences of Hunting
Anti-hunters argue the hunter does not eat the meat. this is false. Very little if any of the animal goes to waste. But even if the statement were true, why does that make trophy hunting immoral, particularly if other benefits are achieved? What if other people eat the meat? what if animal populations increase? Would that convert a trophy to a non-trophy hunt?
My point: we have been intimidated into accepting the framing done by the anti hunter.
Let us understand: the intent of the hunter is irrelevant to the morality of the hunt. Only consequences matter.
the phrase ‘trophy hunter’ and its variants are vague. Paradoxically, the quality of vagueness is the source of the phrase’s power. It’s like tofu: you can make it into whatever want—whatever you want it to mean—hunting an aged animal, hunting just for large horns, killing for joy, feeding your family, leaving the dead animal to rot. Whatever!
Here’s the key take-away: Vagueness facilitates intimidating hunters because they don’t know the terms of the attack.
And, it is successful because the attack is so easy. But refuting the attack requires knowledge, confidence and will—
Skill is required and we must learn to fight back.
and last, lest we forget, we have the phrase “trophy wife” but that’s a more complicated lecture best left for another day.
Lessons Anti Hunting Rhetoric
Here are some lessons we can learn from deconstructing the anti hunting rhetorical attack on: Trophy Hunting:
Do not allow the anti hunter to control the definitions of good and evil; right and wrong.
They have no moral authority to do so.
What we see: not wisdom; not knowledge; not openness to debate; not a search for truth; not a quest to save animals.. we see intimidation… we see violence.. we see the message: shut up or we will destroy you… for you are murderers… and we know what happens to murderers!
That violence is going to be directed against you!
Wildlife is not the target You are.
Here is our message: You want to quibble with my language and definitions? Fine, but you will quibble on my terms. I will control the language of the debate.
Here is an example.. from a political person of deceitful rhetoric
Regarding so called climate change:
One mantra Barack Obama was famous for saying was, “Experts across the political spectrum agree.” This Alinsky tactic is to marginalize those who disagree with the professed conclusion of the “experts.”
Here is the deceit: the selective appeal to ‘experts.’ Because: experts across the political spectrum also disagree with climate change.
It’s so easy to refute this nonsense—take the sting out of it—if you gain awareness…
I feel like I’m becoming a scrooge, a scold, a rhetoric bore… but the abuse is angering
Our strategy should be:
Emphasize Morality to Make the Most Persuasive Arguments to the Public
Anti hunters always frame their attacks based on morality: killing is wrong; cruel, a sport, blood-lust, not needed for survival
The pro hunting community tends to respond with an argument of effectiveness… hunting is part of conservation; humans are part of the circle of life; we’ve been hunting since we were cavemen and so forth.
We will lose when the opposing hunting positions are framed this way.
Will we, paraphrasing T. S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men, allow hunting to end not with a bang but with a whimper.
We are attacked: How can you kill those beautiful animals?
Reply to the anti hunter: How can you let those beautiful animals die?
The Black Rhino and Oxley
The black rhino hunt is one of the most clarifying examples:
mature non reproducing black rhino in Namibia
money from DSC auction in 2014 would go to anti poaching, creating clean water systems, habitat reclamation, the specific rhino had already killed five younger rhinos
$350,000.00 was raised by the auction.
Animal activist Angela Antonisse Oxley of Dallas, Texas, called the hunt Barbaric
I am a lawyer. I’ve learned it is pointless to argue with a person whose living depends on disagreeing with you
If Oxley thinks it’s barbaric, so be it.
so let’s analyze her evaluation of what is NOT barbaric:
increased poaching is not barbaric
killing many young rhinos is not barbaric
increased poverty is not barbaric
increased animal starvation is not barbaric
reducing animal habitat is not barbaric;
depriving people of honorable jobs is not barbaric
Yet Every consequence she will cause is immoral.
This is how we measure the morality of an opponent and with these arguments we go on the offense against it.
We must make moral arguments and we must frame the moral arguments on OUR TERMS.
Here is our Golden Nugget message: many people are against hunting, whatever that means, but they are in favor of the benefits hunting produces!
Do not be defensive about your morality
that’s how we win
Cecil: How the Hunting Community Should Have Responded
I discuss Cecil not to review the past but to craft lessons that we can apply to the next Cecil-esque event.
Cecil is still in the news. Last year on the TV show Good Morning Britain so-called journalist Piers Morgan was attacking trophy hunting generally by using the Cecil situation.
Cecil was said to be endangered. It is an iconic animal—king of the jungle. And this lion even had a name, as if it were a pet. Not an African name but a name you’d more likely find in New York’s Upper East Side or at a San Francisco boarding school
only the pampered West cared about the lion…the Africans that lived with the lions chuckled with derision over this First World fetish. I’d bet those angry suffering Cecil supporters couldn’t find Zimbabwe on a map if their triple soy lattes depended on it.
Cecil should have been our crown jewel for taking on the anti-hunters…to explain conservation and to smash their abuse of class warfare—
We should have gone after the anti-hunters like a tank division. We didn’t.
Instead, as I saw it, the organized hunting community acted defensively. It sought to establish its high moral standards by attacking Walter Palmer, even before the facts were known. The hunt was legal. Shooting a collared lion was legal.
The hunting community failed to grasp the fundamental rule of human nature:
those seeking to destroy you are not influenced by your moral preening. Preaching our morality was a failing strategy and we should have known that.
I present the Cecil event not to re-argue Cecil but to use it as a template in preparation for the next Cecil-like event.
My Recommended Cecil Strategies
I would have recommended at least the following tactics, which will be applicable in the future:
destroy the delusions of an idyllic Nature …
destroy the Bambification of Nature and wildlife. Nature is not an idyllic world. It is not an Henri Rousseau painting with the lion reclining with the gemsbok on lush grass waiting for a dinner of locally sourced, non-gmo, gluten free organic tofu, broccoli and steamed rice.
Nature is death, disease, injury, predation, aging; the strong kill the weak. Nature is a rough neighborhood. You know that better than most people. Make the case!
Think of my discussion about the black rhino DSC auction.
attack the rich doctor meme…
trophy hunters should be praised and lauded; the money they spend leads to virtuous outcomes. Who else gives animals value but the hunter? Is there corruption? Sure. Where in human activity is there not?
attack the airline bans
give value; take away value:
here is the ultimate persuasive argument on behalf of hunting and wildlife conservation:
do you brush your teeth?
do you change the oil in your car?
why? because they have value…
do you have a collection of used fast food cardboard boxes? why not? because they have no value
hunting is no different from the most fundamental economic principle: give something value and you get more of it; eliminate value and you get less of it
Hunting bans and airline bans on lion trophies will kill more lions than a hundred Walter Palmers. Same with ivory bans.
Paraphrasing Churchill, those who choose animal preservation over animal conservation will get neither.
attack the people protesting.. one particularly obscene example was the middle aged white middle class woman holding a sign proclaiming “I am Cecil”. It takes a uniquely grotesque moral perversity to equate the killing of an aged lion with the Islamic slaughter of the Charlie Hebdo workers in Paris … the origins of the phrase Jesuis Charlie.. I am Charlie.. the perversity of this anti Cecil hunter should have been exploited.. this lady should have been the poster person of the immorality used by those attacking hunting Cecil
apply Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals: freeze the subject and make it personal
show the snares and the traps and the wires used by poachers, and challenge with the assertion: this is what the anti hunters prefer.
Let s Assume The Worst With Cecil
Every good trial lawyer knows that the most effective persuasion technique is, in almost every instance, to concede the weak points of one’s own case and acknowledge the strong points of any opponent’s case.
so, we concede: beautiful animals are killed; wounding does happen; illegal and unethical hunting happen; there are bad hunters; there is no joy in watching an animal die.
Concede these points for several reasons: one, they are true; two, conceding illustrates our judgment is virtuous and conceding increases our credibility; and finally, conceding defangs the certain forthcoming attack against the hunter
that Walter Palmer lured Cecil from the Hwange Park by offering a dinner of kudu backstrap in a creamed mushroom and Sherry sauce and then offered a free dental cleaning afterwards.. and then shot him illegally. The Worst!
What might be useful to learn from this situation?
We ask a question, a question derived from 40 years as a lawyer cross examining people, the most intimidating, brilliant, question the human mind can conjure:
Ready? Here it is: So what?
Is that brilliant? Law school wasn’t wasted on me!!!!!
A nicer version is: Therefore what?
If Palmer acted illegally, punish him.
Other than that, so what?
Police do illegal things, lawyers, doctors do illegal things, drunk drivers do illegal things, executives steal from their companies, union workers steal from their unions… board members steal from their charities. What else is new? So what?
Some people have a Bentley and others can only afford to walk. Therefore what?
Why single out the hunter for destruction?
The solution to ban hunting leads to a worse outcome than all the illegal hunting.
Do you see what is happening here? This is a vital point. If we make these arguments, and then are challenged about them, we get challenged on our terms; on our battlefield. The opposition is forced to argue in terms of consequences and morality. No diversions and dissembling and avoidance. Consequences and morality.
Go on the aggressive: only a fool or a paid propagandist would be an anti hunter.
Stand up to the anti hunting bullies.
Let’s Continue or Analysis to Craft Pro Hunting Arguments
Other Anti Hunter Attacks:
Hunters Have No Compassion for Animals
Let’s start with compassion.
Hunters are accused of lacking compassion. Lacking compassion is one of the greatest sins in our current therapeutic culture, right up there with child molesting and using plastic straws.
Let’s think about compassion
When Compassion is flagrant immorality African elephants: an analysis
Immorality of the save the elephant movement
Fe New Mexican , December 8, 2019 by JOHN D. HOLM AND ROBERT K. HITCHCOCK
Saving the elephants is the most popular goal of animal rights groups in the developed world, even though related species have not existed there for thousands of years. Over two-thirds of the world’s African elephant population lives in four southern African countries: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. By contrast, in the remainder of Africa, herd numbers from poaching and population pressures have been in dramatic decline.
One would think that the four states protecting most of the surviving elephants would be rewarded for their exceptional efforts. But to the contrary, these states have been punished. This outcome was strikingly evident at the recent meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. The voting parties to the convention rejected a proposal by the four southern African states that they be given the legal right to sell their stockpiles of ivory on the international market. They proposed to use their profits to pay for wildlife conservation and village damage caused by elephants.
How can CITES explain such a moral failure to reward the four governments that are successfully investing in saving over two-thirds of the world’s African elephants?
Example: Colorado three winters ago…. animals suffering…The Colorado Division of Wildlife Reached out to some so-called animal advocate group. Not a single group offered to help. Why should we help you… you’re just going to kill them later!
Of course, hunters kill only a small percent of the animals, far fewer than would die of starvation.
Next, they argued We don’t want to interfere with Nature. So they preferred the animals die. How’s that for compassion!
They want Natural.. until, of course, one of them gets cancer, which is natural, or tooth decay or worn out hips or cardiac arrest. Then they want a billion dollars of medical care to cure what is Natural
Here’s the point: they are very selective in wanting what is natural, and their selectivity betrays their immorality.
Priscilla Feral and the gazelles
Priscilla Feral, president of the animal rights group Friends of Animals, for years she fought USFW trying to get a ban on three antelope species.. dama gazelle, oryx, another. They are already nearly extinct in their native Africa but are thriving on Texas ranches,
On CBS TV program: Sixty Minutes: Feral told correspondent Lara Logan
“I would prefer they all die rather than inhabit their non-natural habitat in Texas.”
My colleague John Jackson is a tireless advocate for conservation around the world and founder of Conservation Force, told me about the “ animal rights” lawyers in the case ..” Born Free USA, et al v. Norton, et al., D.C. 03-1497, told the District Judge “unequivocally” that “given the choice plaintiffs would rather see the elephants euthanized and dead than in a zoo.”
In my next lecture, right after this one, a Born Free representative venomously attacks hunting. Danene and I refute him thoroughly,
The hunting community will gain credibility and adherents by exploiting this contradiction by showing its depravity and the harm it causes.
the animal activists have a perverse affinity for dead animals.
So: which group lacks compassion?
Make the argument!
What should we learn?
we live in what some bright thinkers call a Post-Modern world, where truth, logic, consequences, indeed, reality, are not highly valued.
for example, saying:
I support conservation, just not hunting!
is Kind of like saying:
I support physics, just not gravity.
good intentions are morally meaningless; caring and compassion are morally meaningless if the consequences are destructive…
WE MUST BE ANALYTICAL AND PRACTICAL;
The Mind of the Anti Hunter
I tell you candidly I struggle to get Insights into the Anti Hunter
I share some research and ideas. Please accept I am not a psychiatrist. Tough enough to be a lawyer.
The anti-hunter presents itself as a moral force, as a legitimate player but not by virtue of its achievements or actions, but by virtue of its virtue-signaling against hunters. We in this room defend hunting by the reality of on the ground conservation and hunting’s wealth-distributing qualities.
Concept of Cognitive Dissonance: that feelings take over and people act in a way that actually subverts their stated goals. Example: They favor a hunting ban to preserve animals although the data is overwhelming that the ban decreases animal populations. the minimum wage;
But my question is; why do some people have cognitive dissonance and others do not?
a superstar on YouTube and a psychologist and professor in Canada, explains human beliefs and biases in terms of a person’s axiomatic substructures and concept of fundamental presuppositions, which are the world views which form the foundations for opinions For example, an anti hunter might have a substructure of beliefs that include that Nature is pristine and self-regulating and idyllic; thus Nature can remain pristine without human intervention; that Nature is destroyed by evil humans; that wildlife management is contrary to Nature; that hunters are acting out long-unnecessary bloodletting, that the reality of death and suffering is too painful to process and must be repressed
but what perplexes me is what kind of person persists in keeping those substructures when the evidence proves he or she is wrong? When they don’t like the results of scientific analysis, they change the science, not their beliefs.
Here are some insights into possible explanations
Oakley The Pathology of the Need to Feel Good
Barbara Oakley coined the term ‘pathological altruism,’ which means, essentially, the need to feel good and altruistic is so powerful that it blocks out the actual harm that is done by actions generated by those feelings. She wrote of the psychological need to feel morally superior.
This feeling can become an addiction, as seen in self-righteous people who wallow in the wonderful feeling that they are right.
Then: Carl Gustav Jung
eminent psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung:
Every form of addiction is bad, whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.
Idealism is dangerous because it ignores reality. It ignores consequences. This addiction can lead to tolerating immoral consequences,
the concept of addiction impresses me as compelling
These anti hunters Are Different Kinds of People
we see the growth of a pathological anti human ethos.. also an anti life ethos. including wildlife.. environmentalists saying that human beings are a cancer on the planet; that billions of people need to be eliminated
their pathological need to be morally superior;
Thus, as Thomas Sowell stated, it is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance.
We can employ the words from that insufferable environmental tyrant Greta Thunberg: How dare you!!!!!!!!!!! How dare you inflict your pathology onto wildlife!!!!!!!!!!!!
Would anyone in this room post social media threats to kill Wayne Pacell’s children or threaten to kill executives at Born Free?
Of course not. They are different.
And that is their weakness, if we know how to exploit it.
Toxic Animal Activists
By the way, I despise the phrase ‘animal rights activists.’ The word ‘rights’ bestows an undeserved legitimacy. They subvert animals, not advocate for rights.
I distinguish the depraved use of the phrase ‘animal rights’ from the noble concern about animal welfare.
Thus, I coined a new phrase: Toxic Animal Activists.
It is more accurate.
You have my blessings to use it.
As for the PETA crowd… I’d have at least a billionth of a gram of respect for them if they stormed into a biker bar and lectured them on the evils of leather
The Hunter’s Most Powerful Skill
Knowledge is useful only to the extent you can persuade someone the knowledge has value and that the action should be taken based on that knowledge.
We should have crushed the anti hunters with Cecil; the venomous lady holding the sign “I am Cecil,” the black rhino hunt; .. we should have crushed them with the ivory bans, by refuting their no compassion accusations, their anit trophy hunting rhetoric… but we didn’t… we didn’t persuade
I begin by emphasizing a few points:
truth does not advance itself; reason does not advance itself; morality does not advance itself; logic is not often welcome
being right is often useless; being moral is often useless; having the better policy is often useless
they are useful only if you can persuade people that they are useful
As a general proposition, people do not thank you for pointing out how stupid they are.
So we have to learn how to persuade.
The Polish Pilot
I was invited to give two speeches in Windhoek, Namibia in 2016. I stayed at the Veronica Lodge owned by Aru Safaris before going to Windhoek. my last night ..I met a Polish glider pilot; a surgeon; an elegant man. Danene will be my co presenter in my next lecture, following this one.
He asked me what I was going to talk about in Windhoek. I decided to do an experiment. I told him about the two black rhinos I saw the day before at the Veronica Ranch, and that one was to be auctioned by The Dallas Safari Club to be hunted.
Coincidentally, I had been reading Robert Cialdini’s book, Pre-Suasion. I decided to use some of Cialdini’s techniques with this man.
Here are some of Cialdini’s rules:
-we are interested in-the connective tissues of understanding
what we ask first will influence the answers we get later
Here is the key point: The most effective persuaders do not emphasize the uniqueness of their position but rather emphasize the commonalities between the persuader and its audience
Here’s how I approached the discussion.
As a bit of background, I believe most people are decent and want to do the right thing. Most people want to protect animals, they value animals, and they will advocate policies and practices that will lead to more animals and not diminish the number of animals.
Before making my argument I did what Cialdini calls “pre suasion,” which included getting this doctor to admit to and commit to certain :
I asked the doctor a few questions:
Do you agree reducing poaching is a virtuous goal?
Do you accept that anti-poaching efforts cost money?
Do you favor reducing rhino deaths?
Do you favor cleaner water for the local residents?
Get answers that yield moral clarity: which do you want? Hunting or poaching? Which do you want? Hunting or ill fed local populations? Which do you want? More rhinos or fewer rhinos?
Is conserving rhinos a virtuous goal? Yes or no.
and so forth
The key technique was to request a binary answer: yes or no. I did not want to have a discussion.
Then I told him about the black rhino hunt and its consequences; about the use of the money; about helping local natives and saving more rhinos.
I guided him to acknowledge that hunting can be virtuous. That’s the first break in their defensive armor.
He listened and then he said, and these are his exact words:
I am not a hunter. I oppose hunting. But one must have an open mind. I would support that hunt.
That’s one for the win column, I believe.
The skill was demonstrating to him that his own pre-existing values were fulfilled by this specific hunt; that his axiomatic substructures were affirmed. I did not try to convert him to be a hunter. He came to accept that hunting was virtuous at least in this one instance.
That’s how we break down barriers.
-this is the only approach that has any realistic chance of being effective… you can speak until the cows come home of beauty and sunsets and the stories in every breeze and economic benefits but that will not influence people..
Appealing to people’s pre existing values does work.
You can’t please everyone: He Had A Hat
Of course, you can’t please everyone all the time. Here’s a great joke to prove that point.
Joke:: a mother is walking at a beach shoreline when a sudden thunderstorm and powerful waves knocks a baby from its mother’s arms, carrying it to near-certain death. A jogger hears the mother’s screams, runs to the mother, leaps into the violent waters, diving and surfacing, finds the baby, struggles to the shore, and totally exhausted, hands the baby to the mother. The mother looks at her baby and says to the jogger: “He had a hat!”
Also that same night at Veronica, Piedre, a PH working Aru Safaris asked what I was going to talk about in Windhoek. He’s a lovely young man, trying to make a living doing something honorable. I told him. Piedre said to me:
We hunters are so beaten down, the safest thing to do is stay under the radar and be quiet.
I said you have it exactly wrong. Staying under the radar is viewed as weakness, and the most fundamental law of all fundamental laws of human behavior is weakness invites aggression. Restraint leads to escalation. And the hunting community has suffered enough aggression. It’s time to fight back. It’s time to make people pay a price for their vile unethical attacks.
In the words of Michael Corleone in The Godfather, we need wartime consigliaries; people who know how to make persuasive arguments; people who know how to win; people who can inspire others to win.
One message I want to encourage each of you to promote:
Attacking the hunting community is no longer cost-free. Those who misrepresent hunters will pay a price.
We are creating the dream; That is an awesome achievement.
We believe in ourselves. We value animals.
So speak about what you love and value with confidence and authority and without apology. Any trial lawyer will tell you that confidence in making an argument can be even more persuasive than the facts!!
We have the better case.
We have truth and virtue on our side. And joy and excitement and beauty. We have life on your side. We deserve to win.
And remember this: We may be fighting by ourselves alone, but we are not fighting for ourselves alone.