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The Tipping Point

Gladwell1,280 words

Spanish translation here

Malcolm Gladwell
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
New York: Little, Brown, 2000

The son of an English father and a Jamaican mother, Malcom Gladwell is the author of five books and countless articles, many of them published in The New Yorker, where he is a staff writer. The Tipping Point is a highly readable blend of popularized psychology, epidemiology, and case histories from the business world, which I am placing on the required reading list of White Nationalists who are serious about creating a revolution. For although our movement today is very small, Gladwell explains how little things—including lone, often unknown individuals—can make a big difference.

The enemy’s tired old script is that White Nationalists are always “spewing” what they call “virulent” ideas or just “hate.” “Virulence,” of course, refers to the propagation of a disease. This is more than just an insult, however. They may liken us to rats and our ideas to the plague. But like a plague, unfashionable ideas can reach a “tipping point” and suddenly “go viral,” spreading geometrically and sweeping through large populations. And that is what the enemy fears. So let’s give them something to be afraid of. Let’s make our ideas genuinely virulent, so we can heal the world.

The viral changes Gladwell discusses have three chief traits. First, they are contagious. They spread from person to person. They are not radiated outward from a central hub to isolated recipients, like a television broadcast. Second, little changes often have huge effects by being multiplied or amplified geometrically rather than arithmetically. Finally, once these processes are afoot, widespread changes can happen very quickly.

The distinction between arithmetic and geometric changes is crucial. Imagine that you make a pledge to convert one other person to White Nationalism each year. That is not such a difficult goal to imagine. At the end of the first year, there will be two of you. At the end of the second year, there will be three. At the end of ten years, there will be eleven of you. This is an arithmetic progression, and it is a slow process. At that rate, you would need a million years to convert a million people to White Nationalism.

Now imagine that, in addition to converting one person a year, you also convert them to the idea of converting one other person per year, and get each new convert to do the same. So you are communicating not just White Nationalism, but White Nationalism with a multiplier effect, White Nationalism plus a mission to convert others to White Nationalism. At the end of the first year, there will be two of you, as before. But at the end of the second year, there will be four. At the end of the third year, there will be eight. The progression looks like this:

Year 1: 2 White Nationalists
Year 2: 4
Year 3: 8
Year 4: 16
Year 5: 32
Year 6: 64
Year 7: 128
Year 8: 256
Year 9: 512
Year 10: 1024

Remember, after 10 years of arithmetic growth, there will be only 11 of you, whereas after 10 years of geometric growth, there will be 1,024. I have been a White Nationalist for 15 years now. And if I had started this conversion process 15 years ago, there would be 32,768 of us, and none of it would have happened unless I made the individual effort to start the process.

How much longer would it take to get to 1 million White Nationalists by this process? Only five more years. After 20 years of geometric growth, the number would be 1,048,576—a number that we could not reach in a million years of arithmetic growth. Five more years after that, and we would top 33 million converts. And five years after that, we would pass the one billion mark.

And bear in mind that this process presupposes only that we convert one person per year. At the end of 20 years, I individually would have converted only 20 other people. Now, I will wager that that is a goal that even the most tongue-tied and introverted amongst us can imagine attaining. Each one of us already knows 20 people whom we might be able to convert if we had an entire year to bring each one around.

So imagine the changes that could be brought about by a really charismatic individual with a particularly persuasive statement of our position and the means to deliver that message. Such a person could convert hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of people a year, and impart the same mission to his converts. Such a person could set the world aright.

The transformative potential of moderate individual efforts if they are geometrically compounded is astonishing. But it puts the existing movement in a perhaps unfairly unflattering light. For instance, in the 8 years I have focused on activism, have I converted even a measly 256 people? Maybe I have, but I have no way of actually knowing. What I know for certain is that my senior colleagues, who can boast of 20 years of activism have not converted more than a million. Those who have been at it for 25 years have not converted more than 33 million. And those who can boast of 30 years of activism fall far short of the one billion mark that simple geometric progression yields. And remember, all any of these long-time movement veterans would have had to do to reach a billion converts today is convert 30 people over 30 years, and get each of them to do the same.

So we have to conclude that the White Nationalist movement has not quite found the right people, formulated the right message, and created the right means of propagating it. Not yet, anyway. But we’re trying. And Gladwell can help.

In chapter 1, “The Three Rules of Epidemics,” Gladwell offers three principles of viral propagation. First, there is the Law of the Few. Economists talk about the 80/20 Principle, which holds that in any given situation, roughly 80 percent of the effect will be caused by 20 percent of the individuals involved: “In most societies, 20 percent of criminals commit 80 percent of crimes. Twenty percent of motorists cause 80 percent of all accidents. Twenty percent of beer drinkers drink 80 percent of all beer. When it comes to epidemics, though, this disproportionality becomes even more extreme: a tiny percentage of people do the majority of the work” (p. 19).

Second, there is the Stickiness Factor. In epidemics, a virus spreads more the longer it sticks around in a carrier’s system. A virus that is easy to cure, or that is immediately fatal, will therefore spread less than one that is hard to cure but does not kill its carrier immediately. Likewise, ideas that stick in one’s head are more likely to be passed on than ones that are easily forgotten.

Finally, there is the importance of Context, which can affect the spread of a disease or an idea in unanticipated ways.

I found chapter 2, “The Law of the Few,” the most exciting part of the book. Here Gladwell discusses three types of individuals who are highly influential in the spread of ideas: Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen. All of these individuals are involved in person-to-person interactions, which is how contagious ideas are spread. Again, we are not talking about ideas being diffused to separate individuals from a common hub, which is how the system controls our minds, but about person-to-person interactions, which can do an end run around top down control. This chapter deserves careful study, because communicating ideas is our business. Gladwell holds up a mirror, in which we can see both our strengths and our shortcomings.

In subsequent installments on Gladwell, I will discuss his analyses of Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen, as well as some contextual factors that may prove useful to White Nationalists.


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  1. Theodore
    Posted September 7, 2015 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    “So we have to conclude that the White Nationalist movement has not quite found the right people, formulated the right message, and created the right means of propagating it.”

    And this is after many decades of “activism.” The typical, run-of-the-mill “movement” leadership have failed.

  2. anon
    Posted September 10, 2015 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    I think Gladwell is correct and context is the key. You need to use what works in your current context and that requires experimenting rather than simply copying what worked at some other time and place in the past.

    Creating virus memes for the win.

  3. Lorenz Kraus
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    “Have you used a cattle prod to improve your yield?” askes the devil’s advocate.

    The use of pain can be spiritually transformative. People like to suffer for a good cause, and while they might object and mildly suffer in the beginning, after the fact, they often might come to understand their spanking was good for them. Social workers call it “intervention.”

    Why else do people run marathons, get tattoos, piercings, lift weights for the burn, self-flagellate, diet to extreme, and do natural childbirth? They like pain for a good cause. No pain no gain. That’s what war is based on.

    How do these drug gangs grow? Through ritual beatings. How does the military grow? Through patriotic conscription. Humanity requires brute force to break and form new spiritual and political allegiances; this is a normal feature of our software and hardware. Even conscientious objectors comply to take up arms for a fight at the rate of 80 percent.

    That’s empirical data.

    Most people, even conscientious objectors, comply. It’s just a matter applying it in a manner that attains compliance to the objective; and stopping when the object is achieved. Very few people are willing to die for their “beliefs” and “convictions” made out of soft ice cream. They will fight for life and family, but not for servility to the Jews.

    Jews are more apt to use brute force, since they literally see us as cattle. They won converts to communism and the Red Army with guns to the back, controlling food rations, and putting terror campaign in everyone’s mind. Maybe that subconscious willingness of Jews to use force is the key to their hold on whites and induces servility to the Jews; and that only a stronger willingness to use force to unite whites/Gentiles, and exclude Jews, will break the spell.

    “Why can’t the sheeple wake up?” You haven’t pressed them into action. The sheeple are awake to whoever uses force to attain compliance for superficial matters.

    It’s not the job of the sheeple to “wake up.” It’s the Good Shepherd’s job to herd them away from the Jews. A little swat can do it. What if a mere swat saves Europe and sparring the swat means the end of civilized Europe? Brute force is the root of civilization and civility. The uncivilized gets bounced.

    Counter-intuitive yes; but, Rome wasn’t built on peace and love.

    The willingness to swat is just as good as a swat.

    People long to see the nerve for nationalism.

    Before long, people volunteer for a good cause when they see one. They too want the satisfaction of nationalism and its spiritual completeness. The need to swat is only needed in the beginning to create momentum.

    Whites are not inclined to horsewhip others whites to wake them up and herd them away from Jew power. What if that is necessary to the survival of the white race? What if a pin-pick in the ass is enough to save civilization? Can you administer it?

    People love tough love for the right cause. They will learn to love emancipation from the Jews. They will kiss your hand for getting them out of Jew cult. You just have to be willing to be a prick.

    Hitler converted millions of communists in ten years. He gave the communists a horse-whipping when they needed it. An organized horsewhipping through the country-side can be therapeutic and uplifting; just as it can be punitive and crushing when it comes from the Jews. It’s all about interpretation. In an emergency, nothing is off the table.

    Those from a conservative and libertarian background are afraid to initiate force, but liberals aren’t. That’s all they advocate. They know that power comes from the willingness to shove things down people’s throat.

    “We don’t know what’s in the law; the GOP will come to like it.” And so they have. Rules for this, regs for that.

    “Hands up white man! You have the right to be emancipated from the Jews. Do you wish to exercise this right?” Yes? Great.

    A community organizer carries a cattle prod.

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