Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Scott Adams' Trump Cult

Sam Harris has done a podcast with Scott Adams, Dilbert cartoonist and out & proud Trump supporter.

It's all kinds of crazy, but a very unique sample of insanity starts at 1:13:00, with Scott Adams saying the following:
"Let me describe what I call my 'perfect life arc'. You are born as a little baby and you're completely helpless and selfish because you have to be, it's the only way you can survive, other people have to do it for you. As you're a kid, maybe you help out with some chores, but you're still mostly selfish but by the time you're an adult especially if you've had children -  you end up giving more than you're taking. And if you've done everything right and you've taken care of yourself and your family, and you're old and you're 71 years old the last things you should be doing is giving back more and the very last thing you do on the moment of your death is transfer 100% of your assets away.
So the perfect life is perfectly selfish and trying to improve every year until you're perfectly giving. If you look at Trump's arc, you can see the perfectly selfish part - and it was really part of his brand - through his primary working years, the Trump University years and all that, and we see especially with the young son and a new wife he's reached a certain point in his career - he's turned over his company. And in my opinion, again this would be making the mistake of imagining that i can tell his inner thoughts but I have talked to people that know him and have talked to him personally about this stuff  and the reports I get is that he's actually doing this for his son and for the country. 
And to your point, uh, he knew - he's not a neophyte to public life - he knew that running for President as a Republican especially was going to get his reputation just destroyed. The amount of arrows this guy has signed up to take is hard to explain in selfishness. If you put the selfishness filter on that, then he's crazy too because he did something that clearly would be awfully painful for him and his family. Their risk of physical death...

The stream of ridiculous consciousness ends there was Sam Harris moves the conversation to challenge him on a number of points.

However, let's recap a number of claims Scott Adams is making:

  1. Trump is more inclined to be giving simply because he's 71 
  2. Trump has found a cause and wishes to make life better for third wife and fifth child
  3. Trump has endured a kind of martyrdom in seeking the Republican nomination for President
  4. Trump has 'turned his company over' and invalidated all his business interests
  5. Trump's actions during the "Trump University" (2005-2010) & pussy-grabbing (2005) era qualifies as Trump's 'primary working years'. Apparently 'primary working years' includes the ages between 60 and 65.

Of course, each of these points and many others within are absurd for many reasons. What is interesting aside from this is why a 60 year old white male would trust a 71 year old white male despite such glaring evidence of personal character flaws spanning decades.

The reason is identity politics. It doesn't matter what Trump says or does, Adams will trust him without a doubt and has a frame for Trump's actions as Adams can't help but put himself in Trump's shoes. Anything Trump can be explained away, as Adams feels the same way. There is absolutely no logic to this.

Trumpkin like Adams talk about Trump's nomination and presidency like some sort of trial by fire, painting Trump as the second coming of Christ even though Trump has done nothing in particular that has proven challenging. Trump can't manage to thread water in a shallow pool, and this is obviously true as it would be difficult to find a Republican that would say that Trump is seeing larger challenges than previous Republican administrations have tackled. Bush saw 9/11. Reagan was shot. And so on.

If half of the nonsense that Scott Adams says (or rather, @ScottAdamsSays) is true, then Obama deserves a form of sainthood as he also had to deal with Trump challenging his legitimacy as President in the most toxic and asinine way possible. Trump acts like losing the popular vote is some sort of crucifixion as if Trump himself did not repeat falsehoods about Obama's very being.

Adams is a sensitive man, and Trump is a sensitive man. In many ways, they were meant for each other as they demonstrate the same emotional state and ability to defend with irrational reflex instead of productive logic. 

Adams is persuaded by Trump. Adams finds Trump a persuasive man. That's all fine, but everyone that does not also see the appeal is merely disgusted by the fact-free bromance.

Not everyone wants to vote for the lemon party.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Why Everyone Loves To Hate Sam Harris

If one does not know who Sam Harris is, these rambling paragraphs are not going to make a lot of sense. Sam Harris is not going to be an element defined by what Sam Harris is, but the reaction that this 'Sam Harris' gathers.

Everyone hates Sam Harris. Everyone.

There are a group of people that hate Sam Harris because of (((what he is))) and for what he does. Many of the 'alt-right' hate his identity, and hate his actions as a 'globalist cuck' that voted for Hillary. The feelings of this group is not subject of discussion, as there's not much point in discussion.

There is yet another fringe group of people that hate Sam Harris over a bits and pieces of atheist drama. Daniel Dennett, for example, is one of the people that think Sam Harris believes a bit too much meditating hippie crap that hasn't really produced jack squat.

However the most pernicious and deceitful group of people that hate Sam Harris so much that they'll seriously claim he's a genocidal maniac that supports ethnic cleansing. That's how deranged the 'debate' is on Twitter.

Obviously this is not true, but what is true is Sam Harris has a mode of argument that drives many to rage and then lash out with lies. Let's work through these as a means to understand how hopeless the situation is and understand why Sam Harris gets smeared as he does.

Sam Harris loves being dramatic, is addicted to hypothetical scenarios, and lingers on topics far longer than normal humans are ready for.

First, the dramatic part. Sam Harris is dramatic. Oh, so very dramatic, whether it's intended or not. His current project that takes up most of his time is a podcast called 'Waking Up'. This is a title in a culture between "red pill" and "woke" that is so cringeworthy that one can't quite guess how many ethically-sourced drugs Harris was on when he thought that title was cool.

The podcast opens with such a bizarre tune that the listener soon believes that Robert Stack may start talking at any moment. Instead, one is met with Sam Harris' monotone voice that is both calming and unsettling at the same time. What does a Sam Harris giggle sound like? Allah knows. The listener is permanently in suspense.

The second infuriating trait is Sam Harris's moralizing about hypothetical scenarios. (Or at least seem that way) The scenario in which Sam Harris is Jack Bauer and must beat up a trolley driver to save someone's life or something. The reasoning may be bulletproof but the arguments may well sound like they edge into navel-gazing for regular people that don't have a taste for thinking about any and all potential scenarios. Sam Harris is quite happy to dive deep into topics with a simple lead-in that makes it clear he's in it for the sake of discussion. Regardless of these disclaimers, many are going to second-guess his emotional state and/or his motivations.

The third maddening thing about Mr Sam is that his content is a rabbithole that is either the best assortment of freethought the world has ever seen or a volume of self-referential nonsense that would bring one to smash their own computer to avoid seeing any more of it. Even people that agree with Sam Harris may not have the energy required to keep up with the questions and comparisons Sam Harris is making this week. The simplest and easiest thing for many to do when drama pops up is to just assume that Sam Harris has finally lost his mind rather than pick apart what his detractors are saying about him this time around the smear campaign trail.

Now, whether these three criticisms make sense or not, these are the not the criticisms that people usually make of Sam Harris. Sam Harris is called a 'new atheist bigot' that a lot of other names for no reason other than people can't adequately describe why they dislike Sam Harris. Maybe these paragraphs will finally give people the words they need to describe their feelings.

End of all the drama, Sam Harris is going to remain a person that people love to hate and love to smear. Maybe he'll finally snap. In the meantime, hopefully people can honestly evaluate his arguments for what they are instead of making up labels for him that end up smearing all the people who find his arguments at least somewhat compelling.

One not need to like Sam Harris, or trust Sam Harris. After all, who can really trust someone that enjoys talking about mixed martial arts with Joe Rogan?

Just stop lying about him.