The Inexperienced Voter

    In yesterday’s blog I made the provocative claim that a smart civilian can learn any political topic in an hour under the tutelage of world experts. The job of President of the United States was designed for inexperienced people. Being a governor or a senator isn’t much like being president. Governors don’t deal with international affairs and senators don’t manage big organizations. The best-case scenario is usually a president with half of the experience you might want, and even that experience isn’t terribly relevant. No job is similar to being president.

    Personally, I have never been a governor or a president, but you can’t tell me those jobs have much in common that really matters. And the stuff that matters (giving speeches, judging talent, leadership, etc.) is what any good CEO can do.

    As far as I can tell, all seventeen Republicans and three Democrats in the primaries had enough brains and experience to do the job of president. That’s because they all know how to leverage the experience of others, also known as leadership.

    The thing that surprised me on social media – in response to my post about experience – is that so many people believe president-like experience is important for doing the job of president. That’s the sort of thinking that sounds totally reasonable at first. Experience is almost always a good thing – in almost any endeavor – so why wouldn’t experience be extra important for the high-stakes job of president? 

    But here’s the problem. The people who think experience matters, also vote.

    How can you vote for the best candidate for president if you have no experience voting for these particular candidates in the past? What experience do you have that makes you qualified to know that – for example – Hillary Clinton would negotiate the best international trade deals? You know nothing about trade deals, and even less about how Clinton might actually deal with them once on the job. Now multiply that times every complicated topic in domestic and world affairs. That’s a lot of topics in which you know little or nothing – because you have no experience as president. But you still think your vote is adding intelligence to the process.

    If you were here with me in person, you might be arguing that you don’t need deep knowledge about the individual political topics because you are only judging the skill and political philosophy of the candidate. If you pick the right person for the job – in our Republic system – that person can go make the right decisions on your behalf.

    As a voter, you’re doing exactly what you say an inexperienced candidate for president can’t do. If you vote, you believe you can get the right solutions on complicated political issues by electing the right candidate. Yet you don’t think a smart candidate for president – with no government experience – can pick the right advisors for a topic.

    If experience is so important for being President of the United States, why isn’t it equally important for you as a voter? You have no experience voting for these two particular candidates. Sure, maybe you have done some hiring at your job site. But that is nothing like picking a president.

    As a voter, you are totally inexperienced (in any detail) with the topics that a president must address, and you are also inexperienced at picking between a Trump and a Clinton. No one has ever made that specific choice before.

    If you think government experience is necessary to do the job of President of the United States, you’re probably suffering from analogy dysfunction. A senator is not like a president. A governor is not like a president. 

    No one is experienced at being President of the United States. That’s why the Cabinet and all the presidential advisors exist. 

    Do you have expert advisors on every political topic advising you on how to vote? Or do you think experience is not important for the vital questions of your country’s survival?

    Pick one. 

    If you are confident that you know who would do the best job as president, you might like my book. But you don’t need it because you already know everything.

Is the United States a Patriarchy or a Matriarchy? (Part 1)

    Today we start the Rationality Engine (invented in this blog) to see if the process can settle for us the question of whether the United States is a patriarchy or a matriarchy. 

    Here we stipulate that the country has been a patriarchy from its founding until modern times. The claim we are testing is that the country has recently transformed from a patriarchy to a matriarchy.


    Patriarchy: Men have the most power in society

    Matriarchy: Women have the most power in society

    We all agree that women had a bad deal throughout history. We also agree that modern men do not experience anything similar to the types of problems women have experienced through history. It’s not a competition about history. And if it were, men would lose. Let’s agree on that.

    We also stipulate the obvious, that no two situations are alike. Your situation will not resemble the average. Nor will mine. So while anecdotes are useful for explaining ideas, they are not reasons, and they are not data. If I say the sky is blue, assume everyone understands there might be at least one cloud up there. It’s still basically blue-looking

    Explanation of Bias

    For those of you new to the Rationality Engine, phase one involves your host (me) confessing his biases so you can keep me honest. So here goes.

    1. My views on gender match those of the most well-informed feminists. I’m a strong supporter of equal treatment. Society works best that way.

    2. My career in banking ended when my boss told me the company asked her to stop promoting white men because there were already too many in upper management. (She told me this in direct language.)

    3. My career at Pacific Bell ended when my boss told me the company asked him to stop promoting white men because there were already too many in upper management. (Again, he said this in direct language.)

    Some folks are confused because in my books I confessed to being incompetent at my corporate jobs. That’s true. But I also had top performance reviews and oversized raises throughout that era because my bosses couldn’t tell the difference. To them, I was a rising star.

    4. When my corporate careers stalled, I turned to cartooning and things worked out. Folks assume I am bitter because gender discrimination ended my corporate careers. I probably would be bitter if I were not typing this next to the fireplace in my mansion. Getting rich takes the sting out of a lot of things. 

    5. I was once married, and delighted that I had the experience. My ex moved one block away (to stay near) and we are best friends. I love her more than ever. I’m healthy, single, rich and totally free to do what I want, whenever I want. My personal life is extraordinary. I mention this because there is speculation that I am a bitter Golem lashing out at a cruel world that won’t give me sex. The reality is that I live in California, and I don’t know any healthy single people here who can’t find plenty of sex. 

    You should assume I have bias on this topic, as nearly anyone would. The test of the Rationality Engine is whether your scrutiny will suppress my bias. When you see it creeping in, call me out in the comments and I will try to correct.

    Claims Phase

    In this phase I present a series of claims and present my preliminary verdict on their validity. These are claims of fact, not a final verdict. Once you see my preliminary verdicts on the claims, you can critique them in the comments and I will adjust as needed. This is a living debate that is intended to improve over time. 

    To keep things simple, I will focus on one area today: Political power

    Claim: Women have the most political power in the United States because more women than men vote.

    Preliminary Verdict: True. 

    In the 2008 presidential election, according to CNN, 70 million women voted compared to only 61 million men. That’s enough of a difference to say women could control decisions in the United States if they collectively decided to do so, according to the rules of our Constitution.

    In upcoming posts I will discuss gender differences in economics, job opportunities, family dynamics, and other power-related topics. But for today let’s focus on political power. Do you agree that women have enough of a majority to control political outcomes?

    Remember, the past doesn’t count. Everyone agrees that the past was a patriarchy. We’re focusing on today.

    Let me know what you think in the comments.

    If you think my blog is terrible, you should see my book.

    If you have been following my Trump Persuasion Series, you will recognize what I did in this tweet and why.