I posted an article on FB from the Washington Post about Koch Brothers who were calling in people to discuss how to tackle the growing authoritarianism in the presidency and the Republican Party. I was fascinated.
Progressives are also calling in people to discuss how to tackle the growing authoritarianism in the presidency and Republican Party. I said it would be an interesting thought experiment to find the common ground. I was resoundingly told that the Koch Brothers are evil, they can’t be trusted etc.
A thought experiment is a wonderful tool that I have used in my negotiations for clients. In so doing, I have been able to get my clients 98% of what they wanted in dollar terms and specific responsibility details. It also helps that I have a great lawyer to argue the legal points.
In a thought experiment the key is to let go of your belief system – it gets in the way. If I wanted to talk to the Koch Brothers I wouldn’t go in with full guns blazing telling them that they are liars and destroyers – even if I believe that. Before I would meet with them, I would think about how they approach life, why they approach it that way, why they want to make as much money as possible, are they more concerned with money than power or is it the reverse. I would get their education history, how they grew up and where. I would find out what matters to them outside of their business interests (the most important factor) and what has meaning for them. Are they spiritual or religious. The list goes on – it isn’t difficult to get this information. Knowledge is power.
I know that they believe in an ultra-right conservative agenda. However, beliefs are not facts they are emotions attached to how a person belongs in and perceives the world. Understanding that in a thought experiment, you can alter your perception to fit theirs to find the common ground – or not.
What I found fascinating in the article was not who they are or what they stand for – I know that already. What I didn’t know and what I didn’t dismiss as just more lies – was the undercurrent in the story and the reason it was reported by the Washington Post – their “fear.” They have never shown fear – the article of course called it concern – but it’s more than concern – it’s fear of an authoritarian government and what that will do their bottom line. Progressives have the same fear for different reasons – an authoritarian government erodes freedoms, sneers at rule of law and dissolves the democratic process.
You have two opposing views on almost everything finding common ground in fear that their agendas, their ways of life will be disrupted. That to me is an important beginning to collectively reimagine our world.