Sunday, January 29, 2017

Scott Adams — Be Careful What You Wish For (especially if it is Hitler)

Now you have literally millions of citizens in the United States who were either right about Trump being the next Hitler, and we will see that behavior emerge from him soon, or they are complete morons. That’s a trigger for cognitive dissonance. The science says these frightened folks will start interpreting all they see as Hitler behavior no matter how ridiculous it might seem to the objective observer. And sure enough, we are seeing that…
But lately I get the feeling that Trump’s critics have evolved from expecting Trump to be Hitler to preferring it. Obviously they don’t prefer it in a conscious way. But the alternative to Trump becoming Hitler is that they have to live out the rest of their lives as confirmed morons. No one wants to be a confirmed moron.…

I can think of dozens of ways the protesters could cause the thing they are trying to prevent. In other words, they can wish it into reality even though it is the very thing they are protesting.
In the 3rd dimension of persuasion, the protesters need to be proven right, and they will do whatever it takes to make that happen. So you might see the protesters inadvertently create the police state they fear....
Scott Adams' Blog
Be Careful What You Wish For (especially if it is Hitler)
Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert®

See also
President Trump has issued temporary immigration orders that ban citizens from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. This is a good opportunity to test the Persuasion Filter against what you might call the Hitler Filter....
How Trump negotiates.

The Persuasion Filter and Immigration

For new readers of this blog, my starting point is the understanding that human brains did not evolve to show us reality. We aren’t that smart. Instead, our brains create little movies in our heads, and yours can be completely different from mine.
This is very important as a verification of the relativity of human experience and knowledge based on it. Humans are programmed to survive and reproduce, not to explain reality objectively (scientifically). Science was developed as means of doing this, but the overwhelming tendency is to construct narratives that favor survival and evolution rather than furthering understanding as a goal.

There are other strong arguments for epistemological relativism also, logical, philosophical, psychological, sociological and anthropological.


John said...

Scott Adams and his putrefying straw man. A sure sign of the creative juices drying up, especially for a satirist, is calling someone the "new Hitler" or those opposed to someone as claiming that they are a new Hitler. Had Adams, no relation I hope, made a grab for Mussolini, he may have just gotten away with it, with Trump's mannerisms and all. As is, the Hitler trope is evidence of a satirist all dried up and on the verge of painkiller overdose.

Dan Lynch said...

I have been trying to demonstrate to my deranged "liberal" friends that Trump is a Jacksonian, not a Nazi.

Even if you accept the Jacksonian framing, Jackson was no saint. He did a lot of bad things. Nonetheless Jackson was a right wing POPULIST, and very popular in his day because he stood up for ordinary (white) Americans.

There is a power struggle going on in the White House and in the Republican party. It's the Jacksonians (Trump, Bannon, Ivanka, Kushner) vs. the neolib / neocon / religious right Republicans. As Ian Welsh explained, you should hope that Bannon's side will prevail, because Bannon is looking out for ordinary Americans, in his own right-wing way.

The immigration EO was handled poorly, without proper legal vetting. It will probably be shut down in court. Regardless how one feels about immigration, the sloppy EO was just plain incompetent. Trump should probably issue a new EO that addresses the legal issues, but he won't because that would require admitting a mistake. So I think that will be a losing issue for Trump, at least until the next terrorist attack (which probably won't be committed by someone from one of the 7 banned countries).

Polls show the public is pretty evenly divided on the Muslim immigration thing, so I don't see it as a political win. Personally, if I were president I would focus on ending the dumb wars and fixing the economy, not on divisive social issues.

Matt Franko said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

Dan, you're probably right. If Trump is a fraction as bad as his likely role model Jackson, the US is going to be the proverbial car wreck by the time Trump's finished.

It's the so-called "economic nationalism", as the self-confessed "Leninist" Bannon calls it, that will cause the worst of the undreamt of problems. Any putative move away from the globalisation that Washington has carefully crafted and now has everyone caught in its web will cause economic turmoil across the world. Leo Panitch said something along these lines quite recently.

Whether it's a PR stunt and begins and ends with photo opportunities with a few select companies like Carrier, or instead something with real teeth is something we'll find out soon enough, but if Trump is serious in any way about this "Leninist" economic nationalism, the world is going to quickly spin out of control and Washington and its global partners are going to come down on Trump and his minions like a ton of bricks.

Greg said...

I used to really like Adams. Now he just likes hearing himself pontificate about how average people just dont get Trump and his brilliance. Only other persuaders such as himself can think in the 3D world. Those who are against Trump are just emotionally charged and cant think straight. Only Trumps supporters can see through the fog of unreason.

Boy its a good thing we have these reasoned, even keeled, 3D thinkers like Trump/Adams/Bannon to guide us through this crazy world.

There are certainly a lot of people just trying to upend Trump because they are butt hurt but this doesn't make Trump by default the guy on the high road. He's just the winner of the most recent game and we'll see if he can navigate everything, which includes dealing with petty human political battles, and come up with a successful presidency. Im betting against him mainly because I dont think he can just bully his way to success in this job like he did in every other job he's ever held........ but he's also failed spectacularly at his old job too.

Some have speculated that if you actually take the money Trump was gifted 50 years ago and look at his net worth today he's not done much better than just buying TBills Of course we dont really know now do we since he's never let anyone examine his finances so.

@ Dan Lynch

where do you find liberal friends in rural Idaho? ;-)

Dan Lynch said...

@Greg, the only liberals I find are on the internet, and most of those are fake liberals who only stand for whichever talking point the Democratic party wants them to care about this week.

I grew up in the Bible Belt South, so for most of my life I have felt like I'm living in an insane asylum. One learns to have a dark sense of humor about the world we live in.

Penguin pop said...

Yes, Scott has an interesting take on the world, but at some point, one has to admit Trump's behavior has been reckless since he's taken office. I also do wonder where Trump would be had he not gotten that "small loan" of a million dollars. He probably would be managing some rinky dink real estate firm in the middle of nowhere and would have never been heard of by anyone. He's a direct byproduct of that snarky, bourgeois kind of New York liberalism and directly benefited from mainstream media for years by being on Oprah and ilk and went batshit in his later years to try to go against all of that for whatever reason. Nothing about this guy makes any sense to me.

Peter Pan said...

When Trump is assassinated he'll be revered as a martyr. Better do it soon though.

Andrew Anderson said...

Speaking of the Bible and Trump, some comfort, at least for those who believe it.

The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes. Proverbs 21:1

Greg said...

Actually Penguin I think the loan was more like 20 Million but who really knows. You certainly cant believe Donald on it. He's called it a "small" loan as you say. Sorry, 50 years ago a million wasn't small. Its not small today for chrissakes.

@ Dan
I live in the south now and I know exactly what you mean. I feel like Im in the twilight zone sometimes, or more like those scenes from "invasion of the body snatchers" where the un corrupted are trying to find anyone else that hasn't fallen asleep and been taken over. There are about 3 people at work that I feel like I can actually talk to and not avoid certain topics.

I do think Adams has an interesting take, Ive read his two short stories and his book about "How to fail at everything and still win big" , but I think he has bought into himself just a little too much. He has sworn he never really cared who won the election (He disliked both supposedly) but he has now gone totally in the tank for Trump. He has always wanted to be right ( who doesn't) and he was definitely blind to his own irrationality. Some of the crap he has posted about women demanding equal pay and the such is pretty pathetic. He really sees himself as above the fray and the only one capable of analysis unvarnished by emotion and irrationality. His schtick is wearing a little thin for me.

Dan Lynch said...

@ Greg, I agree with Adams that Trump is a "master persuader." That's important when running for office, or selling a program. But it is not a substitute for good policy.

Trump is not a detail man, and he has surrounded himself with a bunch of scalawags, so it remains to be seen if Trump's administration will be able to offer some decent policies, particularly with regards to health care and economics.

Greg said...

Oh I agree Dan. He is a master persuader, (also known as a first rate bullshitter) but Adams has come to believing that he is a better candidate because of it. Just because you can sway people to your side doesn't mean you are a better candidate.

Yes there is a lot to learn about persuasion and learning that efforts to just use rational arguments have their limits but Adams now has been persuaded that Trump has better ideas, is surrounded by smarter people and that success is guaranteed but many of us will never see it cuz we are blind and stupid

Adams is setting this up so that any poor results will be the fault of the complainers undermining and not understanding while any good results are the result of Trumps hard to understand genius

He has a recent post which is basically suggesting that people who are fearing a Hitlerish Trump will act in a way to provoke an authoritarian reaction and prove themselves right in their minds while in fact being wrong. He's pulling out the "she dressed to be raped" argument on the trump detractors. Whereas in fact, if Trump reacts like an authoritarian its because he IS an authoritarian not because they made him

Tom Hickey said...

There is counter-evidence to the claim that the president's job is not be persuader-in chief.

Actually, FDR excelled at it and it is in large measure what made his presidency great. He was not a hands-on guy and was astute enough to know that. He appointed hands-on people.

His appointment of Marriner Eccles turned out to be genius but FDR probably didn't realize why. One of his worst picks was Henry Morgenthau for Treasury, and his worst mistake was listening to Secretary Morgenthau, who was a sound finance guy, when the economy started to respond to New Deal stimulus in 1936. Morgenthau's recommendation to impose fiscal discipline, which FDR accepted, put the economy on a downward path again in 1937. WWII fortunately ended the long contraction and the economy turned around post war, FDR seems to be have pretty clueless about political economy himself.

FDR would have done better listening closely to his VP for the first three terms, Henry Wallace, but Wallace was too far left for the American elite and he was not a influential as he should have been based on knowing what was going on and what to do. If FDR hadn't caved and replaced Wallace with Truman on the ticket in FDR's last term, the world would be different place today.

But FDR's skill as a master persuader kept the country together through the depression and war years, which was a huge achievement. Of course, conservatives were always biting at his ankles at least, and disgruntled workers complained loudly. That was a great accomplishment and his speeches will go down in the annals of history. But FDR's naïveté about political economy almost did his presidency in, and his failure to stick by Wallace did America in.

Trump's presidency will depend a lot on the people he has appointed. A master persuader has more leeway that someone who isn't but in the end, performance will out. Only time will tell that, and this administration will face the same kind of opposition that Bill Clinton and Obama did, too.

John said...

Tom: "Trump's presidency will depend a lot on the people he has appointed."

That's the clear difference between Trump and FDR, and indeed any presidency. And wow, some of Trump's appointments are real beauties. There comes a point when governing is not about throwing red meat and pissing off the PC brigade, although that can be good tribal politics. His appointees can do the red meat and anti-PC stuff well enough, but that doesn't help working America or keep some semblance of peace. None of these people show the remotest capabilities in governing sensibly and making rational choices. As history shows, wars can be ignited by the most innocuous things. Trump and his scallywags, as Dan calls them, haven't got a cool head between them. They're all headbangers, from Trump all the way down to whoever's agriculture secretary. If they weren't all stinking rich, nobody would give them the time of day, although for many of them the time of day is always the time you let a rightwing nationalist pro-Wall Street pro-Raytheon Jesus Christ into your heart. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

Detroit Dan said...

I'm watching Miss Universe now, and can't help but think that this sort of thing is Trump's strength, and not politics.

Trump is off to an absolutely horrific start, as far as I can tell. Probably 30% of the electorate is impressed with his performance thus far, and these are not the influential 30%. He just doesn't have the necessary base of support to win the battles he's in.

This could be confirmation bias from my perspective. I voted for Jill Stein, partially on the theory that either a Trump or a Clinton presidency would be extremely unpopular, and I'd rather have the Republicans be unpopular (as they so richly deserve, in my opinion).

Trump apparently wants to make America great again, taking us back to times that will never (and should never) come back. Anyone who believes in the fairy tale of turning back the clock is just not smart. That never happens. We've got to keep moving forward and deal with the world as it is. Plus he has no charm at this point.

That was also a big part of Hillary's problem, in my opinion. She had too much baggage to get out in front of a changing political landscape.

So far, so good. Hillary and the neo-cons lost. Trump won, but is massively unpopular and digging a deeper hole for himself. The social-democrats led by Bernie are increasingly obvious as the most sane alternative to the stupid (Trump) and compromised (neo-liberal).

Now back to Miss Universe! (Ironically, there is a feminist as well as internationalist slant to the procedings which goes against the Trump persona we have come to know over the last year. He's probably lost this part of his base already.)

Penguin pop said...

"This could be confirmation bias from my perspective. I voted for Jill Stein, partially on the theory that either a Trump or a Clinton presidency would be extremely unpopular, and I'd rather have the Republicans be unpopular (as they so richly deserve, in my opinion)."

I did the same considering I live in a historically red state and because I thought her platform aligned with my beliefs the best. Yeah, I thought the recount wasn't executed well enough and was dismayed for a while by that, but got over it eventually. The only good thing about Trump is he's destroying the Republican Party as we know it and it's energized so many people to want to take real action politically. If he continues to head down this path, more people will pretend they never voted for him or his cronies in the first place. I made it clear plenty of times Hillary would have been no blessing of her own and she would have had her own unique problems, mainly being a more hawkish version of Obama.

Let's hope in a few years, the Democrats will be completely unrecognizable from what they are today and a huge infusion of the social democrat wing of the party will take over, assuming other issues like gerrymandering are addressed as well. I sometimes regret not voting in the Democratic primary, but Bernie only winning 29% of my state was discouraging to say the least.

Tom Hickey said...

Probably 30% of the electorate is impressed with his performance thus far, and these are not the influential 30%. He just doesn't have the necessary base of support to win the battles he's in.

This 30% holds the threat of being primaried over all GOP politicians heads if they don't have Donald's back. As long as he keeps this 30% on board he has the GOP in his back pocket.

Greg said...

@Tom, I agree that being persuader in chief IS the most important thing a president does, but the best persuader doesn't necessarily make the best president if he is persuading us into compromising positions. Im not convinced Trump will ever surround himself by enough sane people.

As John said, his main goal seems to be to piss certain groups off. To just say "screw you Im in charge and go ahead and whine". That is not a good basis for making decisions. He's a petulant, vindictive SOB. 70 yr old adolescent brat.

I am delighted that Trump is pissing off neo cons but I dont have to be above just being vindictive. My office doesn't require it.

Detroit Dan said...

This 30% holds the threat of being primaried over all GOP politicians heads if they don't have Donald's back. As long as he keeps this 30% on board he has the GOP in his back pocket. [Tom]

That's a good point.

Penguin pop said...

"As John said, his main goal seems to be to piss certain groups off. To just say "screw you Im in charge and go ahead and whine". That is not a good basis for making decisions. He's a petulant, vindictive SOB. 70 yr old adolescent brat."

Agreed. He's a 4chan president. Purely there to troll for his own amusement rather than putting his big boy pants on and actually leading he country.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Trump has closer to 60% support (Rasmussen). Fake News polls (CNN, MSNBS,FOX et al) don't count.

And The God-Emperor is doing yeomen work by alienating neocons, neoliberals and dumb-ass SJW's. The cold culture war is going hot fast, thanks to the above mentioned. Now that those leftist cretins have decided to resort to violence against those in whom they disagree it is reasonable to expect push back from the right. You pull their hair they're gonna pull yours back and show you just how much it hurts.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Most Support Temporary Ban on Newcomers from Terrorist Havens(except suicidal leftists of all stripes)

John said...

"Most Support Temporary Ban on Newcomers from Terrorist Havens."

They may support it but that's because they don't know anything. They're the same people who supported the invasion of Iraq because they were led to believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks. And they're the same people who believe that the US is bankrupt at best or owned by China at worst. And they're also the same people who are falling for the Washington-bankster scam that is deluding people into believing that Social Security and Medicare needs to be privatized. We know that everything that comes out of Washington is a lie, for the simple reason that these people are professional liars or deluded idiots. But miraculously Trump is an honest fellow, notwithstanding the fact that this is the same man who led a knowingly untruthful and racist campaign which claimed that Obama was not American.

If Washington were serious about terrorism, there would be a ban on the Gulf Arab state financiers of terrorism and the FBI and the Fed should wreak havoc with the accounts of those associated with terrorism, not move their agents to dealing with illicit money going to Cuba. 3000 dead in New York and Washington moves its agents from the jihadi financing section to the Cuba section. This has nothing to do with terrorism. This is all bait and switch. This is all about creating hysteria and division in order to gain traction with the public and political capital in congress.

John said...

"I can handle being labeled a moron as long as neocons, neolibs and SJW's get their asses handed to them."

Welcome to the party! I've been told for years that I don't understand the new paradigm: neoliberalism, neoconservatism, liberal imperialism and postmodernism don't exist, and if it they do, they're nothing more than social constructs in your head, which proves they don't exist but postmodernism does, which therefore proves that it too also doesn't exist! That's at one end of the elitist spectrum. The other end of the same but scanty elitist spectrum says the dumb plebs need to be ruled by the elites who went to the right schools, learned how to use the right cutlery and choose the right wine, and straight after brandy and cigars indulge in the molestation of the East European staff. They're all prostitutes anyway, they reply in shock indignation at any sign of hesitation on your part, and then comes the smug elitist smirk that is meant to be a put down for your lack of social grace.

Cromwell would have had them all executed. We need another Cromwell and a huge army of tough bastard roundheads who'll smash enough elite heads that the world recovers a little sense. Being civil and meeting the elites in the middle is pointless. The Clintonistas are the fucking elites. And the uber-liberals, who so many deluded fools put their hopes, in like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders aren't that different: look at their voting records, and tell me they're not cut from the same rotting cloth. The unions have been smashed, and hardly anybody reads the alternative left media. It's about as bad as it can be. The only slight hope is that working people are being royally fucked.

Malmo's Ghost said...


For me, most of my PRACTICAL ideology/politics come down to the plight of working stiffs. Don't give two shits about identity politics either. And I loathe PC in any form. BTW, I can glean useful information on the subject of work from a variety of thinkers such as Karl Marx, Ralph Nader, Bob Black, Erich Fromm, Bertrand Russell, Lewis Mumford, John Zerzan, Eric Hoffer, Alfie Kohn, Duane Elgin, EF Schumacher, John Taylor Gatto, Paul Goodman,A shitload of early 20th Century anarchists and, yes, even Donald Trump et al.

There's no proper label for my ideological makeup (I do tend towards reason over revelation though). I do know that I despise not a small number of self professed liberals (despise this group the most), conservatives, atheists, theists, capitalists, socialists, and communists. Yet I've learned a great deal from many whom I generally despise, even the loathsome liberal. I'm one big dialectic in progress I guess.

Oh, btw, just to make it clear, contemporary liberals suck the most.