Temperament, Communication, and the Ron Paul Revolution

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was it in that dawn to be alive,
to be young was very heaven!
~ William Wordsworth

the mainstream media pundits interview Ron Paul can be amusing as
well as frustrating. Most of these pompous twits appear unable to
understand the nature of the uprising occurring under their noses.
They are amazed at the growing army of activists making so many
good things happen without central direction from the Paul campaign
staffers. It reminds me of the tag line from the film Butch
Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
where Butch and Sundance are
pursued relentlessly by the Pinkerton railroad detectives: "Who
are these guys?" For the political professionals, it's just
too puzzling. Their existing paradigm cannot account for a real,
spontaneous grassroots revolution against the old political establishment.
It spooks them.

It's a
good question. Who are these guys? Many commentators, including
some Ron Paul supporters, focus on the young computer specialists,
those lovable "geeks" and "nerds" who allegedly
live their lives hunched over computers in their mom's basement.
The anti-Paulists accuse them of spamming or hacking internet polls
so that Paul scores high when "everybody knows" he has
only minimal support. (Not true, of course, on either count.)

The Ron
Paul revolution does attract the young, brainy types. In that way
it is reminiscent of the early stages of the post-World War II libertarian
movement and the early Libertarian Party. But, very fortunately,
there are many more who are not much like the geeks and nerds so
familiar in libertarian circles. That's a good thing. Existing Ron
Paul supporters must continue to attract people of all types to
the revolution. Fortunately, Ron himself is already doing a good
job of that. As he frequently and humbly points out, it is not because
of Ron Paul the messenger, it's the message of liberty, small government,
no IRS, the rule of law, sound money, and peace.

In order
to make the liberty message appealing to various kinds of people
it helps to know something about how people actually differ and
what different kinds of messages might appeal to them. For starters,
there are four basic kinds of people. Remarkable, but true. There
are four basic patterns of personality organization ("temperaments")
and each of us fits most comfortably within one of them. I
covered this ground in a previous article
, but it will help
to repeat the basics here. Beginning with Hippocrates in ancient
Greece, scientists and philosophers interested in human nature (e.g.,
Plato, Aristotle, Paracelsus) have observed and commented on the
four kinds of people, right up to the present day. In the late 20th
Century, the theory was thoroughly developed by psychologist
David Keirsey
, who uses the term "temperament," to
describe the phenomenon. I will summarize that briefly.


There are
observable differences in the ways people learn, communicate, lead,
interact, choose careers, solve problems, perform their work, relate
within the family, etc. These differences fall into four recognizable

In the
Keirsey model the four temperaments are named: Guardians,
Artisans, Rationals and Idealists. Each temperament
has its unique basic needs or motivations, values, special intelligence,
talents and skills, elements of conduct and style of communicating.
Although each of us is a unique individual, we each tend to be most
comfortable operating according to one of the four temperament patterns.
It feels "natural" to us. Consequently, we develop the
strengths associated with our temperament and to have the weaknesses
and blind spots associated with that temperament.

Is our
temperament, our personality, set by heredity or by environment?
The fundamentals are innate. Our basic needs, values and preferences
are inborn (but don’t seem to be dictated by parental genes). It
is a matter of inclination or preference in certain directions.
Environment affects how we develop, of course, but we are happiest
and most effective when we have the greatest freedom and encouragement
to develop in the directions called for by our innate needs and

A simple
metaphor for understanding Temperament is to think of being right
handed and having three left hands. From infancy you preferred using
your right hand and through practice became quite skilled at using
it. That’s your temperament, with all the strengths, talents and
skills in that pattern. The other three temperament patterns are
like left hands. You can become more skilled with your left hand
if you practice with it. Similarly, you can work to change your
behavior to be more like someone who is of a different temperament;
but, it will be difficult and you will never be as comfortable or
effective in that adopted role as you are in your natural temperament
role. Here's a brief look at each of the four temperaments. After
we familiarize ourselves with them, we will make some educated guesses
about how best to appeal to them with the Ron Paul message of liberty.


need to be responsible, to know their obligations and do their duty.
They also need to "belong," to be part of organizations
and groups, like the family, church, volunteer groups, corporations
and government. Guardians value order, security, stability and tradition.
They truly are “pillars of the community.”

Each temperament
has a unique type of intelligence. For the Guardians, it is logistics.
Guardians excel at reliably getting the right stuff to the right
place, at the right time, to the right people, in the right quantity
and quality. They handle all relevant details and have a place for
everything with everything in its place. Any office manager, administrator
or bureaucrat is probably a Guardian.

In communicating,
Guardian language is factual, down-to-earth, and linear. They rely
on comparisons and measurements to make their point.

reliable, punctual and helpful, Guardians work hard and follow the
rules. They expect others to do the same. Guardians want well-organized
lives and that things be planned in advance. (I think of them as
"the organization temperament.) They don’t like change for
the sake of change, nor irresponsible risk-taking.

tend to seek work in civil service, teaching and school administration,
accounting, banking, insurance, medicine and business. They help
people to be comfortable, secure and orderly. Some famous Guardians
are George Washington and other former Presidents Harry Truman,
Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon. Many corporate executives
and managers are Guardians, as are most government regulators.

constitute 50 per cent of the population. By sheer weight of numbers,
their views tend to dominate the setting of cultural standards and
law, particularly in a conservative direction. They stick with the
tried and true, seeking stability and security.


need to be free to act (Don't fence me in.) and to make an impact
(Look at me; see what I did.). They value spontaneity, variety,
excitement, virtuosity and beauty. Boredom, routine, or burdensome
rules and regulations frustrate them. Artisans are uncomfortable
in structured environments, such as the public schools and corporate
situations (which Guardians dominate). Unfortunately, many brilliant
Artisans drop out of both.

The Artisan's
special intelligence is tactical. Tuned in to their environment,
they perceive what’s happening, who is doing what with whom. They
see opportunity, what needs to be done in the here and now, and
move quickly to capitalize. Artisans like to act on impulse and
it usually works for them. If they don’t succeed, they optimistically
pick themselves up and get on to the next adventure.

language is colorful, full of anecdotes, questions and slang terms.

are the premier tool users. “Tools” can be machinery, heavy equipment,
musical instruments, art supplies, athletic equipment, weapons,
aircraft, surgical instruments, computers, language, or even other
people. The great performer, actors, musicians, comics, the sculptor,
painter, designer, landscape architect, chef, trial lawyer or orthopedic
surgeon is likely an Artisan. In business, he or she is the entrepreneur,
the crisis manager, the top negotiator.

Many notable
politicians, such as Andrew Jackson, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan,
JFK and FDR, were Artisans. In the military, it’s the battlefield
genius, such as George Patton. The writer Ernest Hemingway was an
Artisan. Virtuosos all. Artisans do it with flair, style and audacity.
No wonder they are so popular.

make up about 40 per cent of the population.

The Rationals

need to be competent and to accumulate knowledge. They value science,
theories, efficiency, ingenuity, logic and expertise. Rationals
are ingenious and innovative, searching for the underlying systems
and structures that explain events. They analyze everything and
operate scientifically, applying principles to the facts to arrive
at objective conclusions.

have a special strategic intelligence. They excel at identifying
the material, manpower and methods needed to achieve ultimate objectives.
They build the model or design the system that will lead to success.
The Rational mind works best with concepts, theories and abstract

language tends to the scholarly, full of qualifications, often employing
conditionals (if-then statements), and demanding clear definitions.

prize precise, clear thinking and precise language. They do not
like to repeat themselves. They are independent thinkers, unimpressed
by so-called established authority. Pragmatic and skeptical, they
nonetheless can be persuaded by logic and evidence. Rationals tend
to present a calm exterior, though their feelings run strong and

are drawn to careers or projects that challenge the mind. They typically
enter the sciences, including computer science, engineering, mathematics,
physics, economics and philosophy. In business, Rationals are often
found at the executive level where strategic thinking is highly
valued. Albert Einstein is the classic example of a Rational. Other
famous Rationals are presidents Jefferson, Lincoln and Eisenhower,
author/philosopher Ayn Rand, and Democrat presidential candidate
Hillary Clinton.

are about five percent of the population. People of other Temperaments
tend to miss the point of Rational arguments. What may be important
to Rationals appears not to be to them.


have a profound need to find meaning and significance in their lives.
They highly value relationships. They seek empathic relationships
where they can grow while nurturing others. Idealists are compassionate,
imaginative and appreciate the uniqueness of, and potential in,
each individual. They believe people should be authentic, showing
their true selves.

The special
intelligence of Idealists is diplomatic. They excel at bringing
people together, helping them see the best in each other. They have
unusual powers of insight or intuition and a talent for communication.

language is dramatic, and they tend to employ metaphors and universals
in their communication.

value morality and ethical conduct and will speak out when their
standards are violated. They have a vision of the ideal and believe
that, by expecting the best from everyone, the world can make progress
toward their vision. Idealists find discord and violence stressful.
Accordingly, they work for consensus and avoid confrontation. Idealists
are passionate, romantic and sometimes openly emotional.

are attracted to careers that involve communicating, teaching, counseling,
mediation, psychology, the social sciences, guidance, mentoring,
writing and journalism. In business, they are frequently found in
Human Resources. Some famous Idealists are Mahatma Gandhi, Eleanor
Roosevelt and Martin Luther King. There has never been an Idealist

make up about five percent of the population. Despite their relatively
small number, Idealist views tend to be quite influential because
so many journalists, writers and academics, those in the social
sciences, are Idealists.

Take a
minute to reflect on the descriptions above and make your best educated
guess as to your own temperament and the temperament of other people
you know. I have tested this informally at libertarian gatherings.
You should not be surprised to learn that easily more than half
of the libertarians are Rationals. That's still considerably different
than when I first started making such inquiries about twenty years
ago. Then the Rationals were about ninety per cent of the known
(to me) libertarian population.

and Communication

Every individual
is most comfortable communicating in the style of his own temperament.
Indeed, it is difficult for anyone to adjust his communication style
so that it does not come out in the manner typical of his temperament.
Similarly, each of us is most comfortable receiving communications
in our own temperament style. If what we receive fits our own style,
we are more likely to respond positively to the messenger. "Birds
of a feather flock together" because people are most comfortable
with others who share their values, their way of thinking about
the world, how it works and how it should work. This mutual recognition
of shared temperament, which is usually subconscious, is an obstacle
to broad appeal. The lesson for Rationals, who are only five percent
of the population, is that even if they get all the Rationals on
board the Ron Paul bandwagon, it would still be a relatively small
crowd, with plenty of room remaining. Our message of liberty must
be as diverse as the potential audiences. We must learn how to appeal
to all four temperaments.

this is already happening, to some extent. From my observations,
it appears that all four temperaments are already active in the
Ron Paul revolution. Let's look at each of them in turn and consider
how we might consciously reach out to people of each temperament
in language that appeals to them.

Guardians. Ron Paul is a Guardian; at least that is my best
reading based on his background (family man, military flight surgeon,
a physician who has delivered 4,000 babies, etc.); his character
that emphasizes responsibility, honesty, the rule of law; and his
consistent commitment over the years to traditional (Old Right)
conservatism, best exemplified by his strict adherence to the Constitution.
It also is reflected in his language and communication style: straightforward,
factual, to the point. This is terrific. Ron may play down his role
as "only the messenger," but he is more than that. Most
people are attracted to him. (People tend to like others of the
same temperament; so it helps that Guardians make up 50% of the
population.) It is impossible not to respect him. His message, though
it differs radically from that of the traditional anti-constitutional
bozos in the race, is more acceptable because this man is
delivering it. He, without dissimulation, comes across as an honest,
wise, learned father figure who has your best interests in heart
and in mind. There is no way anyone could think he would mislead
them. For the Guardians out there, Ron Paul is a powerful message
just because of who he is and how he presents himself.

How do
the rest of us best appeal to the Guardians? The strongest appeal
to anyone is to show how our "product" supports his or
her needs and values. Guardians need to be responsible and to belong,
and they also value order, law, security, stability and tradition.
It should be apparent that Ron's record of adherence to the Constitution
and his assurance that a Paul administration would continue to do
so tells Guardians that the government must and will obey the law.
That message invokes the values of order, law, and stability. The
anti-war, non-interventionist foreign policy will improve security
for Americans while saving trillions of dollars. (Guardians value
frugality.) It also places the responsibility for peace in foreign
countries on the people living in them. It is in line with American
tradition, as expressed by the founding fathers. We can also point
out the irresponsibility of government for the past century. Government
gets larger and larger, costs more and more, fails to do the jobs
assigned to it, and has made a chaotic mess of the monetary system
and the marketplace. Democrats and Republicans are equally at fault,
equally irresponsible. The federal government's imperial designs
are also completely irresponsible, costing hundreds of billions
in resources and destroying millions of lives in a series of unconstitutional
wars. A Paul presidency will provide monetary and financial stability
and will create conditions conducive to secure family life, without
interference in personal affairs and free of threats of military
adventurism or conscription. (Harry Truman was a popular Guardian
president, famous for the sign on his desk that read: "The
Buck Stops Here." This reflects a classic Guardian trait, taking
responsibility. I believe that aspect of his temperament contributed
greatly to his popularity.)

a few slogans that might push Guardian buttons. Make Government
Obey the Law. Vote for Responsibility. Security Through Peace. Liberty
is Our Tradition. Stop The Chaos. 1776/2008. Save My Family. With
a little brainstorming, you could no doubt come up with many more.

Artisans. These action-oriented, thrill-seeking folks (about
40% of the population) are often at odds with the Guardians. They
love to be free, able to do what they want and go where they want,
acting on impulse. Rules and regulations (and regulators) drive
them nuts. (But, being seekers of adventure and action, many wind
up in the military, looking for adventure.) The message of freedom
central to the Paul campaign is immediately appealing to the Artisans.
We can already see Artisan supporters in many of the pro-Paul videos,
especially the music videos, and from entertainers (e.g., strippers,
rappers) and athletes who support Ron. It's a good bet that many
of the people attending rallies and demonstrations are Artisans.
That's where the action is, and they like action. It's also a way
for them to make an impact with their action. For Artisans, the
best part of the message is liberty, freedom from government snooping
and control, ending the Drug War, being able to do your own thing
free from the nanny state. Lowering taxes is a great way to increase
liberty. The more of your money you get to keep, the more neat stuff
you can do. Lower Taxes = More Fun!

My advice
to activists in the campaign is to create opportunities for Artisans
to take action, enlisting them in brainstorming, planning and joining
in a variety of activities. The existing meet-up groups are an obvious
starting place. Parties are good; just ask an Artisan. Have a party,
invite prospects, crank up the volume and have a good time. Remember
December 16: ParTea! ParTea!

Each of
the temperaments deals with stress and adversity its own way. For
Artisans, the typical response is to retaliate. Mess with
an Artisan, you might have a fight on your hands – blowback.
Which reminds me of Jesse Ventura's (Jesse is an Artisan) Minnesota
gubernatorial campaign in 1998. That campaign made news with all
the newly active young people who came out to join Jesse's campaign
and vote, winning him the election. Although I doubt his campaign
managers knew about Temperament, they came up with the perfect slogan:
Retaliate in '98. Young Artisans, rebellious toward government's
intrusive meddling, rules and regulations, found that slogan irresistible.
So, how about Retaliate in 2008 (or '08)? Couldn't hurt.
Take it a little further and craft messages around the concept of
retaliation. The politicians have been pushing you around far too
long! Don't take it any more! Sock it to 'em! Stand up and fight!
Take it to the streets! Retaliate! (We might as well have some fun
harassing the anusocracy.)

Rationals. Only five percent of the population, these intellectual
knowledge seekers typically find the libertarian philosophy attractive.
(Not always. Abraham Lincoln was a Rational, as is Hillary Clinton.)
Rationals value personal autonomy. They don't like to be told what
to think or what to do. They want to figure things out themselves.
Because they also value logic and critical thinking, their desire
for autonomy will probably lead them ultimately to sound conclusions
about the proper relationship between the individual and the State.
But, Rationals tend to prefer reading, thinking, writing and talking
about political ideas, rather than following through with action
such as down-and-dirty street-level campaigning. In this regard,
they differ greatly from the Artisans, although both are natural
freedom lovers.

appreciate expertise. They enjoy engaging with people who know what
they are talking about and what they are doing. So, Ron Paul and
other libertarians, who have the knowledge to explain esoteric matters
such as the Fed's inflationary policies and their fallout, will
get their attention and support. Rationals tend to be long-range
thinkers. They are open to discussion and analysis of economic issues.
As such, they can see the longer term economic effects of inflation,
the bankrupt social security system and the ultimate bankruptcy
of the U.S. government. They are naturally eager to apply their
formidable brains to such issues and share their thoughts. That
makes them a valuable resource in that they are capable of spreading
the message articulately in internet and other forums. If others
in the campaign will encourage them and help find outlets for them
to promulgate the ideas central to Ron's campaign, a lot of good
can be done.

care little for tradition and established ways, which differs substantially
from the Guardian value set. However, we all like people who are
like us. The significant founding fathers were Rationals, e.g.,
Jefferson, Madison, Franklin. The Declaration of Independence and
the Constitution are the product of Rational minds. It should not
be too difficult to demonstrate to young Rationals today that the
natural rights ideas expressed in the Declaration are still sound
for today and forever. Similarly, it should be easy for them to
see that those brilliant Rationals of the 18th Century
developed an elegant blueprint for limited government. So, the pitch
to Rationals is not one based on respect for tradition, rather it
must appeal to their respect for the intelligence and command of
political philosophy of the founders. Challenge them to learn (they
love accumulating knowledge) about the revolutionary background
of the Declaration and the Constitution. Those who accept the challenge
are quite likely to begin spreading the word.

especially the younger ones, tend to like science fiction films.
One to think about is the highly popular The
, which had a clear and powerful individual versus
the controlling and duplicitous authority theme. Recall that the
protagonist was called Neo, an anagram for The "One."
Do you think campaign posters reading "Ron Paul. He's The One"
might reach out and touch some of these youngsters? Might be worth
a try. Or even more head-on: "Smash The Matrix." They'll
get the reference.

Idealists. Like the Rationals, these intellectuals make up only
about five percent of the population. But, they are a different
type of intellectual. It is not science or logic that moves them.
Rather, they envision an ideal world and want others to join them
in making it come true. Usually their ideal world includes government
welfare programs and other such feel-good projects. Hence the cliché,
"good intentions trump actual outcomes." Idealists tend
to be emotional rather than analytical and they abhor confrontation
and violence. Although small in overall numbers, they are overrepresented
in the social sciences and in language and writing pursuits. A great
many journalists are Idealists, which helps explain the leftward
tilt of most media. Anyone who willingly describes himself or herself
as a "bleeding heart liberal" is probably an Idealist.
Even so, many Idealists are committed libertarians.

of the value they place on human welfare and their opposition to
violent confrontation, Idealists tend to be anti-war, quite emotionally
so. This is a great opportunity for Ron Paul and other anti-war
libertarians (that should be a redundancy) to promote Ron's candidacy
to the Idealists out there. An obstacle will be the typical Idealist's
emotional attachment to the Democrats, or, more accurately, their
hatred for the Republican Party establishment. The best anti-war
pitch to them will be one that emphasizes love for humanity (remember
the 4,000 babies Dr. Paul delivered) and is personalized, showing
the effects of war on individuals. Dr. Ron Paul, as President, will
be committed to ending the violence of war so that every man, woman
and child can live in peace and flourish as the unique individuals
they are.

highly value self-actualization; they want every person, especially
children, to have maximum opportunity to discover the authentic
self within and develop to the fullest potential. Liberty, and only
liberty, creates environments in which that can happen, for everyone,
not just some preferred or established groups. If we can help Idealists
see that government crushes and stultifies the best within us, and
that liberty encourages self-actualization, they should embrace
a champion of liberty like Dr. Paul. This will be a challenge for
logical, tough-talking Rationals, Guardians and Artisans, but we
can all learn how to communicate in Idealist language. We already
have a good example in those banners with the word "rEVOLution."
This pairs the touchy-feely, peaceful, Idealist word "love,"
with "revolution," a much scarier concept. That's brilliant
cognitive dissonance. It works because it is telling the Idealists
that although we are in a revolution, its motivating center is love;
and only good can come from that.


One of
the great things about the internet, as Gary
North recently pointed out
, is that it makes communication almost
costless. It only costs one the time to write and broadcast his
message and the recipient(s) the time to click on it and read it.
So, if LRC readers find anything of value in the foregoing, it costs
them almost nothing to absorb it, act on it, and rebroadcast it
in the format of their choosing to a multitude of audiences. All,
or any part will do. Take what you think will be useful in your
efforts to bring others into the revolution and adapt and use it
as you think best.

There is
no one, true path to liberty. The Ron Paul campaign, the internet,
and the millions of people involved in both prove it every day.
The old, political establishment is under siege. The power-mad goons
are surrounded by heroic lovers of freedom whose numbers will continue
to increase exponentially. I'm glad I have lived long enough to
see it.

19, 2007

Bergland [send him mail]
is a retired California attorney now living in Washington. The 1984
Libertarian Party presidential candidate, he is also the author
of Libertarianism In One Lesson (9th Ed. 2005) published
by, and available from, Advocates
for Self-Government, Inc.
David remains active teaching communication,
martial arts and personal security.

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