It’ s Lewis aka Nerd #2.
I’m wondering something.
Have you ever been lied to, oppressed, or bullied?
I think we all have at one time or another in our lives.
Well what do you do when you feel like you’re the pip squeak being taken advantage of by a super power? You can grumble under your breath and just accept that nothing can be done by little old you.
Or, you can use this technique laid out in this incredible story I’ve typed out for you here from one of my favorite books I’ve read this year, “The 33 Strategies Of War” that has led (and is still leading today) to many a nobody… becoming a somebody who comes to the rescue for their fellow man.
Occupy The Moral High Ground – The Righteous Strategy
In a political world, the cause you are fighting for must seem more just than the enemy’s. Think of this as moral terrain that you and the other side are fighting over; by questioning your enemies motives and making them appear evil, you can narrow their base of support and room to maneuver.
Aim at soft spots in their public image, exposing any hypocrisies on their part. Never assume that the justice of your cause is self-evident; publicize and promote it.
NERD #2 NOTE: Think of how Google using an informal corporate motto of “Don’t be evil” automatically implies they are righteous. It serves as a pre-treatment of the market spraying everything they produce with layer of protection against being distrusted and in reverse serves to keep them from going to market with anything that could be perceived as evil.
When you yourself come under moral attack from a clever enemy, do not whine or get angry; fight fire with fire. If possible, position yourself as the underdog, the victim, the martyr.
Learn to inflict guilt as a moral weapon.
The Moral Offensive
In 1513 the thirty-seven-year old Giovanni de’ Medici, son of the illustrious Florentine Lorenzo de’ Medici, was elected pope and assumed the name Leo X. The church that Leo now led was in many ways the dominant political and economic power in Europe, and Leo – a lover of poetry, theater, and painting, like others in his famous family – wanted to make it also a great patron of the arts.
Earlier popes had begun the building of the basilica of St. Peter’s in Rome, the preeminent seat of the catholic church, but had left the structure unfinished. Leo wanted to complete this mighty project, permanently associating it with his name, but he would need to raise a fair amount of capital to be able to pay for the best artists to work on it.
And so in 1517, Leo launched a campaign to sell indulgences. Then as now, it was catholic practice for the faithful to confess their sins to their priest, who would enforce their contrition by assigning them a penance, a kind of worldly punishment.
Today this might simply be a prayer or a counting of the rosary, but penances were once more severe, including fasts and pilgrimages – or financial payments known as indulgences.
The nobility might pay an indulgence in the form of a saintly relic purchased for the church, a large expense that would translate into the promise of a reduced time spent in purgatory after death (purgatory being a kind of halfway house for those not evil enough for hell, not good enough for heaven, so forced to wait); the lower classes might pay a smaller fee to buy forgiveness for their sins. Indulgences were a major source of church income.
For this particular campaign, Leo unleashed a squadron of expert indulgence salesman across Europe, and the money began to pour in.
As his chief architect for the completion of St. Peter’s he appointed the great artist Raphael, who planned to make the building a splendid work of art, Leo’s lasting legacy to the world.
All was going well, until, in October 1517, news reached the pope of a priest named Martin Luther (1483-1546) – some tiresome German theologian – had tacked to the doors of the castle church of Wittenberg a tract called The Ninety-five Theses.
Like many important documents of the time, the tract was originally in Latin, but it had been translated into German, printed up, and passed out among the public and within a few weeks, all of Germany seemed to have read it.
The Ninety-five Theses was essentially an attack on the practice of selling indulgences. It was up to god, not the church, to forgive sinners, Luther reasoned, and such forgiveness could not be bought.
The tract went to say that the ultimate authority was scripture: if the pope could cite scripture to refute Luther’s arguments, the priest would gladly recant them.
The pope did not read Luther’s writings – he preferred poetry to theological discussions. And a single German priest surely posed no threat to the use of indulgences to fund worthy projects, let alone to the church itself.
But Luther seemed to be challenging the church’s authority in a broad sense, and Leo knew that an unchecked heresy could become the center of a sect. Within recent centuries in Europe, the church had had to put down such dissident sects by the use of force; better to silence Luther before it was too late.
Leo began relatively gently, asking the respected Catholic theologian Silvester Mazzolini, usually known as Prieras, to write an official response to Luther that he hoped would frighten the priest into submission.
Prieras proclaimed that the pope was the highest authority in the church, even higher than scripture – in fact, that the pope was infallible. He quoted various theological texts written over the centuries in support of this claim. He also attacked Luther personally, calling him a bastard and questioning his motives: perhaps the German priest was angling for a bishopric? Prieras concluded with the words, “Whoever says that the Church of Rome may not do what it is actually doing in the manner of indulgences is a heretic.” The warning was clear enough.
Leo had much on his mind during these years, including turmoil in the Ottoman Empire and a plan to launch a new crusade, but Luther’s response to Prieras got his attention right away. Luther wrote a text in which he mercilessly took apart Prieras’s writings – the church, he argued, had failed to answer his charges and to base its arguments on Scripture.
Unless it’s authority in granting indulgences and excommunicating heretics was rooted in the bible, it was not spiritual in nature but worldly, political, and that kind of authority could and should be challenged.
Luther published his text alongside Priera’s, allowing readers to compare the two and come to their own conclusions. His direct quotation of Prieras, his audacious and mocking tone, and his use of recently developed printing technology to spread his message far and wide – all this was quite shocking and new to church officials.
They were dealing with a clever and dangerous man. It was now clear to Leo that the war between the church and Luther was a war to the death.
As the pope pondered how to get the German priest to Rome and try him as a heretic, Luther accelerated his campaign, continuing to publish at an alarming rate, his tone ever more vitriolic.
In an Open Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, he claimed that Rome had used its spurious authority to bully and cow the German people for centuries, turning Germany’s kingdoms into vassal states.
The church, he said again, was a political power, not a spiritual one, and to prop up it’s worldly rule it had resorted to lies,forged documents, whatever means necessary.
In On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, he railed against the pope’s lavish lifestyle, the whoring among the church hierarchy, the blasphemous art Leo funded. The pope had gone so far as to have staged an immoral and bawdy play by Machiavelli, called Mandragola, within the Vatican itself. Luther juxtaposed the righteous behavior advocated by the church with the way its cardinals actually lived. It was the pope and his entourage, Luther charged, who were the real heretics, not he; in fact, the pope was the Antichrist.
It seemed to Leo that Luther had responded to Prieras’s threat by raising the temperature.
Clearly the threat had been weak; the pope had been too lenient. It was time to show real force and end this war. So Leo wrote a papal bull threatening Luther with excommunication.
He also sent church officials to Germany to negotiate the priest’s arrest and imprisonment. These officials, however, came back with shocking news that altered everything; in the few short years since the publication of the Ninety-five Theses, Martin Luther, an unknown German priest, had somehow become a sensation, a celebrity, a beloved figure throughout the country.
Everywhere the pope’s officials went, they were heckled, even threatened with stoning. Shop windows in almost every German town contained paintings of Luther with a halo over his head.
“Nine-tenths of the Germans shout ‘Long live Luther,’ one official reported to Leo, “and the other tenth ‘Death to Rome.” Luther had somehow aroused the German public’s latent resentment and hatred of the church.
And his reputation was impeccable: he was a best selling author, yet he refused the income from his writings, clearly practicing what he preached. The more the church attacked him, the more popular Luther became. To make a martyr of him now could spark a revolution.
Nevertheless, in 1521, Leo ordered Luther to appear in the town of Worms before the Imperial Diet, a gathering of German princes, nobles and clergy organized by the newly elected Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V.
Leo hoped to get the Germans to do his dirty work, and Charles was amenable: a political creature, worried by the antiauthoritarian sentiments that Luther had sparked, he wanted the dispute over.
At the Diet he demanded that the priest recant his teachings. But Luther, as usual, refused, and in dramatic fashion, uttering the memorable line “Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me.” The emperor had no choice; he condemned Luther as a heretic and ordered him to return to Wittenburg to await his fate.
On the way home, however, Luther was kidnapped and taken to Warburg Castle. The kidnapping had actually been planned and executed by his many supporters among the aristocracy; he was safe. Living in the castle under an assumed name, he was able to ride out the storm.
Leo died that year, and within months of his death, Luther’s ideas and the reforms that he had advocated had spread throughout Germany like wildfire.
By 1526 a Protestant party was officially recognized in different parts of Europe. This was the birth of the Reformation, and with it the vast worldly power of the Catholic Church, at least as Leo had inherited it, was irrevocably broken.
That obscure, pedantic Wittneberg priest somehow won the war.
Luther’s original intention in his Ninety-five Theses was to discuss a point of theology: the relationship, or lack of it between God’s forgiveness and papal indulgences. But when he read Prieras’s response to his argument, something charged in him.
The pope and his men had failed to find justification for indulgences in the bible. There was much more they could not justify as well, such as the pope’s unlimited power to excommunicate.
Luther came to believe that the church needed drastic reform.
Reformation, however, would require political power. If Luther simply railed at the church’s wickedness from the pulpit or among his fellow priests, he would get nowhere. The pope and his men had attacked him personally, questioning his motives; now Luther in turn would go on the offensive, fighting fire with fire.
Luther’s strategy was to make the war public, transforming his moral cause into a political one. He did this by exploiting the previous century’s advances in printing technology; his tracts, written in vigorous, angry language that appealed to the masses, were widely disseminated.
He chose points of attack that would particularly outrage the German people: the pope’s decadent lifestyle, funded through the sale of indulgences; the use of church power to meddle in German politics; on and on.
Perhaps most devastating of all, Luther exposed the church’s hypocrisies. Through these various tactics, he was able to spark and stoke a moral anger that spread like fire, forever tainting the public’s vision not just of the pope but of the church itself.
Luther knew that Leo would respond to him not with arguments based on the bible but with heavy handed force, which, he also knew, would only make his cause shine all the brighter.
And so with incendiary language and arguments that questioned Leo’s authority, he baited the pope into rash counterattacks. Luther already led an exemplary life, but he took it further by refusing all income from his writings. This widely known move in effect made his goodness theatrical, a matter for public consumption.
In a few short years, Luther gained so much support among the masses that the pope could not fight him without provoking a revolution. By using morality so consciously and publicly, he transformed it into a strategy for winning power.
The Reformation was one of the greatest political victories in history.
Understand: you cannot win wars without public and political support, but people will balk at joining your side or cause unless it seems righteous and just.
And as Luther realized, presenting your cause as just takes strategy and showmanship. First, it is wise to pick a fight with an enemy that you can portray as an authoritarian, hypocritical, and power-hungry.
Using all available media, you strike first with a moral offensive against the opponent’s points of vulnerability. You make your language strong and appealing to the masses, and craft it, if you can, to give people the opportunity to express a hostility they already feel.
You quote your enemies’ own words back at them to make your attacks seem fair, almost disinterested. You create a moral taint that sticks to them like glue. Baiting them into a heavy-handed counterattack will win you even more public support.
Instead of trumpeting your own goodness – which would make you seem smug and arrogant – you show it through the contrast between their unreasonable actions and your own crusading deeds.
Aim at them the most withering charge of all – that they are after power, while you are motivated by something higher and selfless.
END OF EXCERPT
Who are you to question authorities in a field as specialized as lung transplant surgery? These professionals, these gods in a science based profession – not faith based – should never be questioned by the public, right?
That’s the question followers/fans/friends of a dying man named Jim Gilliam had to answer in heroic way in order to save this mans life by rallying against UCLA’s Medical Center.
This man tells his incredibly inspiring story in this video titled “The Internet Is My Religion”. Click that link before this sentence to see a wonderful example of the impossible, made possible all by voicing your opinion and stirring emotion in a group of people who believe in, and have love for you.
Julian Assange is the someone pursuing this strategy now using Wikileaks to counter attack corruption in government.
And if you want to see a current example of someone who’s using this strategy and winning at it in the information marketing realm, go check out The Salty Droid. There, you’ll see a master at work.
If there are injustices going down in your market and you’re in a David vs. Goliath situation, you can get a ton attention fast using this Martin Luther Hero strategy.
You better have elephant-sized balls though because like pope Leo, people don’t like when their gravy train is derailed and they’re being called on their shit so they’re gonna gun after you.
And if your cause is just, trust that you won’t be alone. You’ll have gained the support of following who will support you and have your back and go to war for you.
I know I’m leaving out countless other inspiring examples of people who have used this strategy in the past or are using it today. Please feel free to share examples in the comments below for everyone here to see and gain confidence from.