Categories
alt-right Dunning–Kruger effect hillary clinton irony alert literal nazis scott adams trump

Scott Adams: Smearing your political opponents with baseless insinuations is “good persuasion”

You know who else was big on lies? This dude

Hold onto your hats, everyone, because Scott Adams has discovered something about politics that could be HUGE — if it weren’t something that literally every single person already knows.

He’s discovered that smearing your political opponents with lies can be a more effective strategy than telling the truth. Only he doesn’t call this brilliant new strategy “smearing your political opponent with lies.” He calls it “good persuasion.”

In a recent post on his blog (archived here), the Dilbert cartoonist and Dunning-Kruger poster boy lets us in on the “Wikileaks persuasion” we all supposedly missed.

Do you remember when Wikileaks first started releasing the hacked emails from the DNC? Julian Assange told us the good stuff was coming later. Then some more emails were released, but still no good stuff. Just stuff. 

But the really, really good stuff was coming, Assange assured us. Not this next release perhaps, but soon. Just wait.

And then it never came. There was no good stuff in those emails. There was plenty of little stuff. But nothing that moves elections.

But by repeating this false promise, Adams notes, Assange convinced a good portion of the electorate that Wikileaks had indeed offered proof of dastardly crimes committed by the woman Trump called “crooked Hillary.”

Imagine my shock to discover that baseless smears of political opponents, repeated regularly and with apparent sincerity, can actually affect how people see that person. Even though Assange never came out with his promised proofs of Hillary’s alleged perfidy, his baseless insinuations did indeed contribute to the cloud of suspicion that hung over Hillary’s head.

You have to give Assange credit for this persuasion. He made the public remember something that didn’t happen. …

Assange turned … nothing into a something in our memories by making us remember that something big was coming. Even though it didn’t. That’s good persuasion.

Yes, it’s true. In politics, shameless bullshittery can get you a lot further than truthtelling.

Adams seems to believe that Assange was the first person to come up with this brilliant strategy, and that he is the first person to point this out.

Sorry to break it to you, Scott, but one famous “persuader” figured this out long before you were even born.

“[T]he great masses of the people … more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big,” this fellow wrote in his most famous book.

[E]ven when enlightened on the subject, they will long doubt and waver, and continue to accept at least one of these causes as true. Therefore, something of even the most insolent lie will always remain and stick-a fact which all the great lie-virtuosi and lying-clubs in this world know only too well and also make the most treacherous use of.

I’m surprised Adams didn’t realize he was reinventing the wheel here, because the quote in question comes from a “persuader” who is much revered in the Trump-loving corner of the internet that Adams has made his home.

The “persuader” in question is of course Adolf Hitler, though he liked to pretend that the “big lie” was a technique practiced by the Jews, not one that he regularly employed to great effect.

Scott Adams would no doubt know all this, if he spent more time reading and less time EATING PUPPIES.

NOTE TO EXCESSIVELY LITERAL-MINDED READERS: That thing about the puppies is a joke. It is not true. Scott Adams does not in fact murder puppies with his bare hands and eat their still-warm flesh raw.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

48 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Conan the Librarian
Conan the Librarian
3 years ago

More importantly, the fact that Adams indicates his approval of baseless smear campaigns of political opponents says something about his moral character, doesn’t it?

Ooglyboggles
3 years ago

@Conan the Librarian
“No you see it’s fight fire with fire-” “They do it too” and other bullshit addages to make people feel better about committing the worst mankind can ever offer. It’s literal fascist propaganda.

Conan the Librarian
Conan the Librarian
3 years ago

Well I guess that’s how Hitler justified his own use of “the big liw” Some role model, eh Scott A.?

RosieLa
RosieLa
3 years ago

NOTE TO EXCESSIVELY LITERAL-MINDED READERS:

is my new favourite feature of this blog. Please keep it up!

Kat
Kat
3 years ago

@David

NOTE TO EXCESSIVELY LITERAL-MINDED READERS: That thing about the puppies is a joke. It is not true. Scott Adams does not in fact murder puppies with his bare hands and eat their still-warm flesh raw.

This note! It’s as though you didn’t comprehend Scott Adams’s wisdom. He has instructed us in the art of persuasion. You obviously read his instructions . . . and then you tossed them away.

Don’t you see? Telling the truth undermines the lie that came before. And that lie had the potential to be a Big Lie. What a shame.

Scott Adams — he tries and tries to enlighten us. But some of us resist him.

Bina
3 years ago

Scott Adams does not in fact murder puppies with his bare hands and eat their still-warm flesh raw.

Of course not, sillybilly! Everybody knows he bites the heads off live kittens and gargles with their blood!

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Sorry. I’m only persuaded by kitties.

comment image

Fishy Goat
Fishy Goat
3 years ago

@WWTH Yeeees…..maaaaasteeeeeerrrr…..

Steven Dutch
Steven Dutch
3 years ago

You all do realize there’s a difference between saying something is effective and praising it, right? Chesterton once said, if a man could pick off his grandmother at 300 yards with a rifle, we’d say he was a good shot, but not a good man. “Good persuasion” is in the same category.

Podkayne Lives (Effortless Chicken)
Podkayne Lives (Effortless Chicken)
3 years ago

You all do realize there’s a difference between saying something is effective and praising it, right? Chesterton once said, if a man could pick off his grandmother at 300 yards with a rifle, we’d say he was a good shot, but not a good man. “Good persuasion” is in the same category.

Do you believe that Adams disapproves in any way of the behavior he is describing?

I have to say, I find his painstaking explanations of How To Be A Demagogue both funny and cringy. He genuinely seems to think that these techniques are quite esoteric, and that few will have heard of such stuff. I think most grade-school bullies get this one down pretty quickly.

Lea
Lea
3 years ago

Steven,
I can read just fine. That is praise.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I feel like Steven Dutch used to post here non-trollishly and then all of a sudden changed to troll. What’s with that?

comment image

Monster-Teeth
Monster-Teeth
3 years ago

I bet anything that Scott Adams would be salty if you told him that Donald Trump sold us out to the Russkies.

Oh, wait! That’s not baseless!

That smug asshole.

Fuck Adams, Assange, Putin, Comey, Trump, & all of the deplorables– malevolent trash.

Viscaria
Viscaria
3 years ago

I’ve pioneered a new technique where you can get someone to do what you want if you convince them that you have their best interests at heart. You just have to earn their trust. Their confidence, I guess you might say. Anyway, you’re welcome to use my amazing new “confidence man” technique, I just ask that you give credit to me, a 100% certified genius, for its invention.

Snowberry
Snowberry
3 years ago

Yes, Adams, that would be a good strategy if you were unethical as hell and the world wasn’t made of lies. Which it will be, if people keep using it.

reimalebario
reimalebario
3 years ago

“NOTE TO EXCESSIVELY LITERAL-MINDED READERS: That thing about the puppies is a joke. It is not true. Scott Adams does not in fact murder puppies with his bare hands and eat their still-warm flesh raw.”

Can you prove that he doesn’t? Do we actually have documentation for that? Has anybody here ever personally witnessed Scott Adams not eating a puppy?

eientei95
eientei95
3 years ago

@Viscaria
Where can I learn more about this “confidence man” technique? Do I have to enrol at the Viscaria University or do some correspondence course for 8 easy payments of $99.99?

A. Noyd
A. Noyd
3 years ago

Steven Dutch says:

You all do realize there’s a difference between saying something is effective and praising it, right? Chesterton once said, if a man could pick off his grandmother at 300 yards with a rifle, we’d say he was a good shot, but not a good man.

If the fellow exclaiming over the shot is a lifetime subscriber to Splattered Grannies Monthly, are we still supposed to assume he’s only making note of accuracy, not expressing admiration for the shooter or approval of the deed?

EJ (The Orphic Lizard)

@reimalebario:
Yesterday, while I was walking home, I saw someone eating something. I can’t be absolutely sure that it wasn’t Scott Adams and wasn’t a puppy. Therefore, I feel confident saying that I may have witnessed Scott Adams eating a puppy.

Tessa
Tessa
3 years ago

EJ (The Orphic Lizard):

@reimalebario:
Yesterday, while I was walking home, I saw someone eating something. I can’t be absolutely sure that it wasn’t Scott Adams and wasn’t a puppy. Therefore, I feel confident saying that I may have witnessed Scott Adams eating a puppy.

I have undeniable proof that he has in fact eaten many puppies. I will release that evidence at a later date. Stay tuned. Until then, rest assured that Scott Adams definitely eats puppies.

rugbyyogi
rugbyyogi
3 years ago

David had to make that disclaimer, because he hasn’t published proof yet that Scott Adams eats puppies, but it’s quite possibly coming…and soon. Very soon.

@eientei95 you could have learned about all these tips and tricks of the con at a very famous, very prestigious university which used the very best teaching techniques – immersive experience. Unfortunately, said uni was shut down when liars and enemies made Mr Trump unjustly pay out $25 million to settle a yuuuugely unfair lawsuit.

bluecat
bluecat
3 years ago

Chesterton once said, if a man could pick off his grandmother at 300 yards with a rifle, we’d say he was a good shot, but not a good man.

Chesterton was wrong.

Because if someone could pick off their grandmother at 300 yards with a rifle, they would indeed be a good shot.

It’s only if they were willing to do it that we’d question their morality.

ramen
ramen
3 years ago

I call bullshit. I don’t like to speculate about the insides of other people’s heads, but I’m not buying that Scott Adams appreciates people deliberately deceiving him.

Then again he’s a Trump supporter, and here I’ve already assumed that facts are real, and words mean things, and any number of other Trumpy fallacies of reasoning.

Viscaria
Viscaria
3 years ago

@eientei95

Where can I learn more about this “confidence man” technique? Do I have to enrol at the Viscaria University or do some correspondence course for 8 easy payments of $99.99?

I’m actually going to need full payment upfront, but don’t worry; your life changing information packet will follow shortly after your payment is received. Unless it is tragically lost in the mail.

banned@4chan.org
banned@4chan.org
3 years ago

>Dunning-Kruger poster boy

I’d like to know who did Scott Adams the disservice of convincing him he was a clever man.

Schnookums Von Fancypants, Purveyor of Misandrist Klondike Bars
Schnookums Von Fancypants, Purveyor of Misandrist Klondike Bars
3 years ago

Chesterton once said, if a man could pick off his grandmother at 300 yards with a rifle, we’d say he was a good shot, but not a good man.

Oh, is this like how we praise Lee Harvey Oswald’s shooting skills but decry his choice of targets? Oh wait, NO ONE FUCKING DOES THAT.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
3 years ago

@ shnookums

Oh wait, NO ONE FUCKING DOES THAT.

USMC rifle instructors do make a big thing about the fact that Oswald was trained by the Marines. Even down to the fact that by their standards he’d only passed the basic minimum qualification rather than the advanced rankings!

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
3 years ago

(Further reinforcement of my opinion that the military is actively interested in training amoral murder machines. Pretty sure I recall that they adopted a lot of the SS training regimen into a number of western militaries after the second world war.)

Oh, yeah, Scott Adams is an idiot. Had a friend recently say how impressed he was with Adam’s intelligence after hearing him on a podcast, though. That was a sad moment.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
3 years ago

@ scildfreja

I’d very much have to disagree with you there; certainly that there’s an intention to do so anyway. But admittedly it’s a complex topic. I did once write a paper though on this very subject for the MOD. Be interested in your thoughts actually. So if you’d like to comment on it, do you have a burner email I could send it to?

Schnookums Von Fancypants, Purveyor of Misandrist Klondike Bars
Schnookums Von Fancypants, Purveyor of Misandrist Klondike Bars
3 years ago

@Scildfreja Unnýðnes

Hmm, should I change my name to Schnookums Von Fancypants, Amoral Murder Machine? 😉
(I am a veteran, and no,I’m not offended. I understand that sort of opinion even if I don’t quite agree with it).

Ben
Ben
3 years ago

@ banned

I think Adams has to have convinced himself. With this startling discovery of one of the basic reasons that people lie, with his theoretical musings about geopolitics, and with virtually every comment he makes, he reveals that not only is he ignorant of his own ignorance, he’s ignorant of the possibility that he could be capable of being ignorant about anything. Time and again, Adams proves that he believes knowledge doesn’t exist if it hasn’t occurred to him (or if he doesn’t see a use for it). It’s like he lacks information permanence, to coin a phrase?

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
3 years ago

Just ’cause they’re training them to divest themselves of their ethical impulses doesn’t mean they’re at all successful! I’m sorry that I wrote that the way I did, I didn’t mean it like that at all. I know that the military can and does hold some of the most moral, clear-thinking and bright people out there.

I was referring more to the changes in military training after the second world war, which I seem to recall adopted some of the more cold-blooded techniques of some German training. I’m of course no expert on it, and will bow to your greater knowledge and experience on it. Wasn’t that the case? I can’t find the source where I got that from, so I could be entirely wrong.

Either way, that says nothing about the ethics of people who’ve been in or are in the military, and I apologize for even insinuating the idea. You don’t deserve to be tarred with that brush!

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
3 years ago

@ scildfreja

I was referring more to the changes in military training after the second world war

The main changes to military training (particularly infantry) came about following the realisation that firing rates were very low; i.e. very few soldiers tried to shoot at the enemy. The question became how to overcome the normal human inhibition on intra-species violence.

That mainly consisted of the abandonment of the use of stationary concentric ring targets on a standard range and the adoption of pop up human shaped targets in a more realistic environment. The military also introduced positive reinforcement for good performance rather than negative reinforcement for poor performance. It was basic operant conditioning to establish an automatic firing response. There were lots of other innovations (greater use of crew served weapons etc) but that was the gist of it.

I’ve not come across any references to emulating the SS.

Podkayne Lives (Effortless Chicken)
Podkayne Lives (Effortless Chicken)
3 years ago

I was given to understand that the firing rates were raised, at least in part, by the generation raised on first-person-shooter games getting old enough to enter the military. Is that just urban legend?

Dr Casbah X Jazz, Esq
Dr Casbah X Jazz, Esq
3 years ago

“Blimey! This Dilbert tossa, ‘e’s gonna give us lot wot’s inna comics a bad name, innit?” (hic!) –Andy Capp

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
3 years ago

@ podkayne

US firing rates were about 17-22% in WW2; 55% in Korea and settled at around 95% from Vietnam onwards. So that seems to pre-date FPS games.

It is the case though that there is some crossover between the simulators the military now use and game manufacturers. Generally though the idea that playing Call of Duty is a substitute for actual training is treated with some scepticism. However associations with video games is sometimes used as a recruitment tool.

Podkayne Lives (Effortless Chicken)
Podkayne Lives (Effortless Chicken)
3 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw

Thanks, the numbers do seem to contradict what I’d heard pretty flatly.

Schnookums Von Fancypants, Purveyor of Misandrist Klondike Bars
Schnookums Von Fancypants, Purveyor of Misandrist Klondike Bars
3 years ago

@Scildfreja Unnýðnes

Oh, don’t worry about it. I was kinda teasing you in any case, and I don’t entirely disagree with your premise either.

chesselwitt
chesselwitt
3 years ago

@ Ben

… he reveals that not only is he ignorant of his own ignorance, he’s ignorant of the possibility that he could be capable of being ignorant about anything.

That’s a great way of putting it. He and Drumpf are two peas in a pod in that regard.

dlouwe
dlouwe
3 years ago

You all do realize there’s a difference between saying something is effective and praising it, right?

Well, I guess that’s true? But they aren’t mutually exclusive concepts, so it’s a moo point.

You haven’t included any compelling reason to think he’s not praising it. “It’s possible that he’s not praising it, therefore he’s not praising it” – see? Doesn’t follow.

hottotrotsky (IT'S ABOUT ETHICS IN PUPPY DEVOURING)
hottotrotsky (IT'S ABOUT ETHICS IN PUPPY DEVOURING)
3 years ago

Many people are saying Adams eats puppies, the best people. Why aren’t the corrupt and rigged authorities investigating Adam’s puppy eating? The media is lying about how Scott Adams eats puppies alive three or more times a day! Russia, hack Scott Adams and show the world his thousands of pictures of himself devouring puppies!

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
3 years ago

@A. Noyd,

I was going to make a comment about the fact that Adams has been a vocal supporter of Trump et al for a long time now, therefore yes, I think he’s not simply describing but approving – but you beat me to it with great panache 😀

ColeYote
ColeYote
3 years ago

Scott Adams does not in fact murder puppies with his bare hands and eat their still-warm flesh raw.

As far as we know.

Boogerghost
Boogerghost
3 years ago

#HideDogbert

kupo
kupo
3 years ago

@dlouwe

it’s a moo point

Ha, that typo gave me a chuckle.

comment image

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
3 years ago

No better proof of the concept than that some people still think Scott Adams is clever

NelC
NelC
3 years ago

Be fair: Adams only eats puppies at Christmas. And Easter. And on his birthday. And hardly at all during the rest of the year.

Richardbillericay
Richardbillericay
3 years ago

Steven Dutch says:

You all do realize there’s a difference between saying something is effective and praising it, right? Chesterton once said, if a man could pick off his grandmother at 300 yards with a rifle, we’d say he was a good shot, but not a good man.
If someone was to write a highly influential canon of whimsical, surreal and humorous novels and essays in the service of a bigoted and reactionary populist agenda, we’d say he was a good writer but not a good person to quote as an authority. The only objection I can see old GKC having to Trump’s agenda would be a lack of “chivalry”. Plus what everyone else said. BTW Scott Adams has never denied that he eats puppies. Why won’t he do that?