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Scott Adams awkwardly defends a super-awkward Tweet about opponents of Trump

Scott Adams: Dunning-Kruger in action

By David Futrelle

Like Donald Trump, and like a lot of people who think they’re much smarter than they are, cartoonist-turned-Trump-rationalizer Scott Adams hates to admit he’s wrong. Trouble is, he’s wrong a lot; he can barely open his mouth on Periscope or type out a Tweet without saying something ridiculous if not patently false.

But one tweet of his from six months ago has proven to be so egregiously wrong that he’s written an entire blog post trying, and failing to defend it.

Six months after this tweet, Trump’s administration is imploding, our illegitimate president has seen his approval rating drop into the mid-thirties, and some 30,000 people just came out to an anti-fascist march in Boston that was in part a massive public repudiation of Trump’s inability to clearly and convincingly denounce literal Nazis — to name only a few of Trump’s current woes. It’s less awkward than ever to be anti-Trump.

In his blog post, would-be “master persuader” Adams offers up an exceedingly unpersuasive set of arguments — if they can even be called that — to try to convince Trump-haters that they should feel awkward for hating Trump.

As you might expect, anti-Trumper are saying [my] tweet didn’t age well. They are saying this on the same week that their side protested a free speech rally by throwing urine on cops.

Well, no. 30,000 people marched against a rally organized by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and semi-quasi-Nazis that billed itself as a “free speech” march, much in the same way that 9/11 conspiracy theorists define themselves as “Truthers.” The alleged urine-throwers made up a fraction of a percent of the marchers.

Anticipating this obvious rebuttal to his nonsense, Adams remarks snarkily that

I learned this past week that if you are marching with urine-hurlers, and making common cause with urine-hurlers, you’re just as bad as urine-hurlers. And if that logic doesn’t hold up, it would feel super-awkward for me to be on the team that says it does. But that’s just me.

It’s just you. You’re trying to equate a massive peaceful march in Boston that was attended by a miniscule number of alleged “urine-hurlers” with two marches in Charlotteville, organized by and filled to the brim with neo-Nazis and Nazi-equivalents, many of them armored and armed with clubs and pepper spray and in some cases with semi-automatic rifles, a march in which a woman was killed — a woman whose death was declared “more than justified” by one of the march’s speakers and hailed as “payback” by the march’s main organizer.

Adams continues on, grasping at straws.

Meanwhile, Senator Schiff, a prominent anti-Trumper, spoke out today against violence. But he failed to name Antifa or White Supremacists by name, despite being prompted to do so by Jake Tapper in this interview, thus drawing a moral equivalence between Antifa and White Supremacists. And if he later mentions any hate groups by name, we still have to wonder why it took so long. We learned last week from anti-Trumpers that this sort of moral equivalence, and the peculiar pause before a full disavowal, are deeply meaningful. If this logic doesn’t make sense to you, it might feel super-awkward to be on the team that insists it does.

This would be a “gotcha,” I suppose, if Schiff — a Congressman, not a Senator –were actually unwilling to denounce white supremacists. Unfortunately, at least for Adams, Schiff has called them out by name on various occasions, as he did in these Tweets shortly after the debacle in Charlottesville (and before Adams wrote his post).

Adams continues flailing.

And what about the racist dog whistle that anti-Trumpers tell us only they and racists can hear? Is it not super-awkward that your best criticism involves hearing a secret message that only racists can detect?

Well, no. You don’t have to be a white supremacist to notice white supremacist dog whistles; you just have to know something about white supremacists.

Or what if your view is that President Trump accomplished nothing in his first six months? Would this extensive list of his accomplishments make you feel super-awkward?

Now this is awkward — for Adams. The list he’s talking about was posted to Reddit’s The Donald several months ago, and, well, it’s pretty pathetic. It claims, among other things, that “Trump has successfully enacted a Travel Ban” (well, that’s one way of putting it I guess), that he’s put “thousands of coal miners back to work” (bullshit), and that “Trump has already saved taxpayers $86 Billion by cutting regulations” (even the right-wing think-tank “insight” piece cited as evidence only claims that “recent regulatory actions … could produce [emphasis mine] more than $86 billion in savings for taxpayers,” much in the same way, I might add, that my butt could produce flying monkeys). Most of the other “accomplishments” listed are small beans.

Trump’s promise to replace Obamacare with something better, meanwhile, has been a humiliating failure, and last night he announced a “plan” on Afghanistan that was a total repudiation to his oft-repeated promise to get us out of that seemingly endless war.

Did you think that no progress in building the “wall” would be embarrassing for Trump supporters? Or did you see the New York Times confirm that progress is being made?

In fact, the NYT article supposedly supporting this claim states only that

[t]he United States Army Corps of Engineers has begun preliminary preparations for the construction of segments of a wall in several places along the border with Mexico. …

Engineers are drilling and taking soil samples to determine what type of barriers would be most effective in the different types of geography along the border … .

I might as well claim I am making progress on climbing Mount Everest because I periodically walk up flights of stairs.

Perhaps you rejoiced this week about President Trump’s tweet on General Pershing’s handling of Islamic terrorists because he was so factually wrong about the pig blood thing. But maybe you didn’t know how accurate he was according to Pershing’s own words. That feels super-awkward to me, but maybe it sounds different to people who hear the secret racist beacon at the same time.

Trump’s story — claiming that Pershing stopped terrorism for decades by massacring dozens of suspected Muslim terrorists, without trial, using bullets dipped in pig’s blood — has been declared utterly false by historians. (It also would have been a war crime.) The passage in Pershing’s memoirs that Adams links to hardly confirms this story; it makes reference not to massacring Muslims with blood-coated bullets but to burying Muslim terrorists alongside pigs. That’s also racist as fuck — nothing “secret” about Pershing’s or Trump’s racism — but it’s not the same story.

And the inaccuracy of Trump’s tweet was only part of the problem. The much bigger issue? That our president would essentially endorse war crimes as a supposed solution to terrorism.

I will take anti-Trumpers at their word that they don’t feel awkward about any of this.

Well, good, because we very definitely don’t.

I got that prediction totally wrong. …

I will take this opportunity to publicly eat some crow and agree that six months into this presidency, anti-Trumpers do NOT feel super-awkward. But according to Julian Assange, perhaps they should:

Adams posts a screenshot of this tweet from Assange:

The only awkward thing here? That anyone would actually believe — or profess to believe — that the neo-Nazi “free speech” rally had anything to do with free speech. The 30,000 counterprotesters who marched in Boston weren’t protesting against free speech; they were engaging in it. Much like those who have been dragging Adams on Twitter over his ridiculous tweet. Nothing awkward about that.

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Ray of Rays
Ray of Rays
3 years ago

@ Alan

Not to worry, if I understand the Amman Declaration correctly, you technically can’t be declared kafir! A message that was thoroughly ignored by both the actual terrorist groups it was aimed at, and every white person disingenuously claiming that Muslims needed to do something about terrorism.

Ah, makes sense. Doesn’t sound like it lasted long, though; the Traditions were already bowing to pragmatism, since there wasn’t enough material to sustain that type of Civil Law and I think the first commentaries on the Qur’an were written only a couple hundred years after the Prophet’s death. In fact, I think the Hadith and Sunnah are increasingly controversial, since they’re generally harder to divorce from the specific context of medieval era Arabia (hence the small but increasing popularity of ijtihad and Qur’an Alone movements).

Definitely agree, though. Though unfortunately being a legal geek adds an extra layer of depressing when someone mouths off about “Sharia Law” being a monolithic, all-encompassing thing (my instinct is to immediately ask “which school?” And even that’s reductive).

@AngryWarthogBreath

I feel like I’ve heard of that before, but completely forgot. It sounds fascinating, I wonder what else went into his gameplay considerations?

There’s also something wonderfully symbolic if he built a home near the spawn point, since I guess that would make the Hajj a literal homecoming.

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

@PH + Dali
I feel like we’re dancing around the Peace Corps. Cos I think we could be doing a lot more with that. Off base?

Dalillama: Irate Social Engineer

@Axe

I feel like we’re dancing around the Peace Corps. Cos I think we could be doing a lot more with that

At present, the Peace Corps is more a feel-good gesture than a useful program; a few thousand volunteers with a couple month’s worth of training is not even close to the scope and scale under discussion. It’d need to be completely reorganized and reconstituted. If we’re adapting an existing organization, I would suggest the Army Corps of Engineers. Break them off from the Army and expand their mandate and you’re well on the way. Would carry a bit more of the hierarchical institutional culture with it for my tastes, but can’t have everything.

Pavlovs House
Pavlovs House
3 years ago

@Dalillama: Irate Social Engineer

“The National Guard, Air Guard, and Coast Guard.”

That’s intriguing. One would have to give some defensive missions that the Navy currently has primarily (like mine countermeasures) to the Coast Guard, but that’s possible, given the type of vessels involved and the needed capacity.

Interestingly, not all current Air National Guard units would be needed. Some of the heavy transport units of the ANG are really there right now to support offensive capability. A purely defensive ANG would, in terms of force structure, perhaps look something like Switzerland’s Air Force, fighter-interceptor units with the air defense mission as primary and support/logistic/light transport units.

The force structure of the Army National Guard would probably have to be altered to support the air defense mission overall too.

All of this depends too on a truly realistic threat analysis, which would be painful for a lot of people. But, really, it’s important to ask — what’s the actual threat out there now that justifies the continued maintenance of a nuclear deterrent force?

Pavlovs House
Pavlovs House
3 years ago

“If we’re adapting an existing organization, I would suggest the Army Corps of Engineers. Break them off from the Army and expand their mandate and you’re well on the way.”

Yeah, that a federal organization with a mission like the Corps of Engineers belongs to the U.S. Army is really more just the legacy of the fact that for a long time, well into the nineteenth century, the only way engineers were trained in the U.S. was by the Army. Yet currently NOAA and the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps are uniformed services with commissioned officers but NOT part of the armed forces.

So that’s a kind of precedent for what Dali is suggesting for the Corps of Engineers, perhaps.

Pavlovs House
Pavlovs House
3 years ago

This is really interesting but, alas, I must be off to bed. I owe my colleagues a bunch of work and have an early medieval warfare lesson plan to develop. Not my specialty. Just get me to the eighteenth century….. (this is a survey class)

WHTM made my day a few weeks ago when somebody brought up Jeffery Amherst and I was like “wow, eighteenth-century military history of WHTM — these people are smart.”

Good night all. Feel free to radically re-design U.S. defense policy while I sleep.

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

@Dali

At present, the Peace Corps is more a feel-good gesture than a useful program; a few thousand volunteers with a couple month’s worth of training is not even close to the scope and scale under discussion

You can do a lot with just a buncha warm bodies to throw around. We have 5000 in Iraq now, and 7000 Peace Corps. Not a super tiny number comparatively. But noted on training, and, if you wanted to do more than 1 thing at a time, you’d many times those numbers probably

If we’re adapting an existing organization, I would suggest the Army Corps of Engineers. Break them off from the Army and expand their mandate and you’re well on the way

That’ll do! You would need some killer marketing to sell it tho. Especially if we’re losing the big, ARMY branding. And the guns (I know firearms are banned on corps land, but I’m pretty sure they still work and train with em. Very well could be mistaken)

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
3 years ago

@ angrywarthogbreath

so the Qaaba is the point between heaven and earth

That got quite interesting with Muslim astronauts. The imams’ take was that they just pray downwards. Although apparently it can be a bit tricky in freefall anyway; so once again there’s some “just do the best you can” pragmatism.

@ ray of rays

Civil Law

I take it you mean civil law as in the ‘not common law, inquisitorial, code napoleon, what they use in Louisiana, sense.” But yeah, that’s what I was alluding to.

(my instinct is to immediately ask “which school?” And even that’s reductive).

I love me a bit of comparative jurisprudence. It’s funny though, a few years back there was a documentary series about the courts in Karachi. I think they were aiming for a sort of “isn’t this exotic?” vibe. But when we watched it, it was like “This might as well be Horseferry Road Magistrates Court.”

Pavlovs House
Pavlovs House
3 years ago

@Axe

“That’ll do! You would need some killer marketing to sell it tho. Especially if we’re losing the big, ARMY branding. And the guns.”

Right, but consider if this is happening within the broader scenario of restructuring the U.S. armed forces overall to a truly purely defensive posture and force structure. That hurdle is the hugest in my opinion and once you’re past that….assuming it’s possible….what you’re describing makes sense organizationally.

“(I know firearms are banned on corps land, but I’m pretty sure they still work and train with em. Very well could be mistaken)”

Yeah, officers assigned to the Corps of Engineers are still in the Army so like everyone else they’ll do at least the minimum, i.e. go to the range once a year and re-qualify at the very least on a rifle.

AngryWarthogBreath
AngryWarthogBreath
3 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw

Yes, I loved hearing about that about the astronauts – I think it also came up from discussing this. I love scholarship in general, and for some reason – possibly because I see so much “God said it, I believe it, that settles it” – I particularly love religious scholarship. I’ve been very fond of the old Jewish joke about four rabbis arguing, A B and C against D, when the sky shakes, the earth splits open, and an all-encompassing voice speaks “RABBI D IS CORRECT!” …at which point the other three say “Okay, that makes it three to two.”

If anyone’s curious, here’s the original thread: http://www.minecraftforum.net/forums/minecraft-discussion/discussion/122769-rules-of-islam-and-other-religions-in-minecraft

As I recall, it’s actually very good about people eagerly discussing the matter, without the expected bigotry leaping out. That said, it’s been a while since I read it, so I might be wrong.

Frederic Christie
3 years ago

Wow, so Scott Adams is just a raging liar now. Not good to know.

I mean, seriously, even if you just have entirely mainstream priorities, no rational person today can say that there’s no valid reason to be embarrassed by Trump. A lot of leftists have told me that the Russia stuff should be de-emphasized but I disagree entirely. The fact that Trump is a venal traitor should be a pretty unifying message, and at the very least using it means that one has forever robbed one’s opponents of the ability to wave the flag and claim patriotism. When entirely centrist and even right-wing CEOs are leaving his councils, when he’s getting resignation letters from Kal Penn and others, that should be embarrassing. Hell, Trump’s gross basic errors of science and fact should be embarrassing.

Adams has to basically be reading Breitbart and the Daily Stormer to get the kind of media diet that would allow him to defend the notion not only that people against Trump (a very big group, including even some extreme right-wingers) might go too far but also that there’s no one that should be embarrassed on his side. You’d have to try harder to write pro-Republican propaganda.