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How to Determine Who is Hallucinating about Politics - Scott Adam's Blog

How to Determine Who is Hallucinating about Politics

As the 2020 presidential election approaches, two distinct versions of so-called “reality” have emerged, similar to what happened in 2016. I call this effect “two movies on one screen.”

In Movie One, President Trump is absolutely, definitely a racist, and any honest person can see it in the way he talks, the people who support him, and his policy proposals. For the viewers of this movie, Trump’s alleged racism is a fact, not an opinion. Therefore, logically, all Trump supporters must be racists because they support a racist president. This view of reality is promoted by CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC, NBC, NPR, and essentially all of the left-leaning press.

In Movie Two, President Trump promised the country he would not be politically correct if elected, and sure enough, he is not. He goes hard at all critics, with uncautious language, and that makes it easy for his political foes to cherry pick the times he criticizes women and people of color, framing those instances as some sort of pattern. Viewers of Movie Two are confused about whether the viewers of Movie One are lying, stupid, brainwashed, or mentally ill.

Those two realities are starkly different. How can any of us tell which is the true one? After all, there are millions of otherwise intelligent and sane people watching both movies. Given the stakes, we sure wouldn’t want to be wrong. My suggestion, which works for any situation in which reality seems ambiguous, is to compare how well each version of reality predicts what happens next. The reality that predicts the best is the “true” one, assuming reality has any objective qualities at all.

So let’s see how well the movies have predicted the future so far. We’ve been watching some version of these same movies since 2016, so we have about three years of track record to review.

Which movie predicted that Israel would name a settlement after President Trump, or that Trump would be the most popular American president in Israel?

Answer: Only Movie 2

Which movie predicted that President Trump would have about the same number of black supporters as any other Republican President.

Answer: Only Movie 2

Which movie predicted President Trump’s words would be continuously taken out of context to change their meaning from ordinary to racist?

Answer: Only Movie 2

Example 1: When President Trump said white nationalists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville should be “condemned totally,” the press reported that he called them “fine people.” Don’t believe me? See for yourself here and here.

Example 2: When Trump referred to “shithole countries,” talking about the education and economic situation in some nations, the press and pundits reported that he called the people in those countries “shithole people.”

Example 3: When Trump referred to the rodent infestation in Baltimore, the press and pundits reported that he was calling the people vermin.

For more examples, see my prior blog post on why only one side hears the racist dog whistle and the other does not.

Which movie predicts President Trump would continuously brag about how low black and Hispanic unemployment is under his administration?

Answer: Only Movie 2

Which movie predicted President Trump would be the president to champion prison reform with a bipartisan coalition?

Answer: Only Movie 2

Which movie predicted President Trump would be tough on immigration, including the detention centers at the border?

Answer: Both (but for different reasons)

In Movie One, it’s all motivated by racism. In Movie Two, it’s all motivated by nationalism, as in protecting current citizens from crime and job loss.

Which movie predicted that racists would favor Trump over Democrats?

Answer: Both (but for different reasons)

In Movie One, white supremacists see Trump as one of their own, trying to stop people of color from entering the country. In Movie Two, Trump is simply doing his job, like every president before him, and protecting the border for the benefit of all citizens, especially black and Hispanic citizens. In Movie Two, racists and Democrats are united in their confusion because they believe the mainstream press when it reports that Movie One is reality.

Which movie predicts the press would find endless “evidence” of President Trump’s alleged racism?

Answer: Both (but for different reasons)

In Movie One, Trump is doing all kinds of racist things and the press is calling him out every time. In Movie Two, confirmation bias, mental illness (Trump Derangement Syndrome), and politics are behind all the accusations what are little more than fever dreams about Hitler being under the bed.

Which movie predicts that 47%(ish) of the country would support the president — a number similar to President Obama’s favorability at the same time?

Answer: Movie Two

If the evidence of Trump’s racism were as obvious as Movie One’s script alleges, you would predict Trump’s popularity to be closer to 10%. Apparently there are tens of millions of women and ethnic minorities who don’t notice all the racism and sexism that the press tells us is glaringly obvious.

Which movie predicted that President Trump would be successful with the economy and also make the world safer in military terms?

Answer: Movie Two

In Movie One, Trump is not only a racist, but he is also a Russian puppet, mentally unstable, and too impulsive and stupid to manage either the economy or international affairs. Movie Two predicted Trump would boost the economy and move the country away from war. So far, that seems to be the case.

Which movie predicted that in our world of secret recordings and non-stop leaking, no “smoking gun” of racism has been produced about ANYONE in the entire Trump administration?

Answer: Movie Two

If Movie One were predictive, we would expect lots of reports of private conversations in the administration that are obviously racist. The government is a leaky place, so if the president and his close advisors were racists, we’d have plenty of credible reports about it from insiders. We have nothing credible of the sort.

Movie One, in which the president is an obvious racist, didn’t do a good job of predicting our current situation, except in cases where it makes the same prediction as Movie Two. But Movie Two successfully explains all observations over the past three years.

Given the subjectivity of reality, the viewers of Movie One won’t be able to read this blog post without being triggered into cognitive dissonance.


My new book, Loserthink — How Untrained Brains are Ruining America, is available for preorder.

 

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