I’ve been a fan of Scott Adams for a long time. I always found Dilbert to be pointedly hilarious, not only about work, but about gender relations, too.
These are pretty red pill, and Adams has always been willing to poke fun at men, too.
That’s likely how he avoided accusations of misogyny for so long. But then Trump happened, and misogynist became one of his better qualities, to hear the media describe him. Adams examined how effectively Trump appeared to be using recognized techniques of persuasion, and in that moment, wham!
Adams became the world’s biggest Trump supporter.
Everything Trump did, Adams approved! Adams wasn’t making reasonable observations based on objective criteria, he was worshipping the new Emperor. Heck, Adams probably had a shrine to Trump in his bedroom. Then the media found out Adams has a girlfriend who is younger and prettier than the shrew-approved limit, and the gloves came off.
Caroline Winter lost her damn mind!
Here is how Winter introduces Kristina, in Winter’s Bloomberg profile of Adams:
Until recently, she maintained a website that showed her posing in a bikini, described as a model and baker, with a D cup size.
This Dilbert comic seems appropriate right about now.
No one hates women quite like other women.
All well and good. What I want to make clear is that I like Adams, and demonstrating some delightful confirmation bias, I find him smart and agreeable! When his new book Win Bigly: Persuasion In A World Where Facts Don’t Matter arrived in the mail, I was quite certain I would find more intelligence and affability, because I already agree with most of what he says, and I am obviously smart and nice, so ……
I got to page 5 and I am honestly perplexed. Is Adams virtue signalling? I had to read the paragraph a few times. It’s so entirely inconsistent with Adam’s normally calm and orderly mind, or is it my mind that is perhaps lacking order or calm? People experiencing cognitive dissonance don’t usually know they are experiencing cognitive dissonance.
Just to clarify, I am using cognitive dissonance in the exact same way that Adams uses it: cognitive dissonance arises when we do something that contradicts how we see ourselves and we spontaneously generate hallucinations to explain our behavior so we can continue to think of ourselves in the same way.
I am a fundamentally good person who loves small animals and cares for the vulnerable, but that puppy was a jerk! That’s why I kicked it.
I tend to think I am pretty good at spotting cognitive dissonance in my own mind because I am not typically encumbered with the belief that I am smart and nice. I know a couple narrow fields of inquiry really well, and I am nice to people I care about, but in general, I don’t really care what happens to other people. I am nice out of politeness, but beyond courtesy, I don’t care. #NotSorry
See this drunk girl using a slice of pizza as a pillow?
She is dumb. I assume I am dumb in the exact same way, and one of the reasons I don’t get black out drunk in public is because I assume I will be the passed out girl, sleeping on a curb. I don’t generate hallucinations about all the ways I am different from her. I take the prudent action of not drinking myself stupid, because I know I’m probably not different.
Based on my tendency to not hallucinate, I don’t think I’m experiencing cognitive dissonance when I read this passage from Bigly:
Generally speaking, conservatives think we live in a country where everyone already has equal opportunity. Liberals generally think the government should do more to guarantee equal opportunity. I go one step further and suggest considering slavery reparations for African Americans in the form of free college and job training funded by a twenty-five-year tax on the top 1 percent. In the long run, I want free education for all, but you have to start someplace. No matter who goes first, it will seem unfair to everyone else. So why not let African-Americans in low-income families go first? Keep in mind that helping the demographic group that is in the deepest hole gives society the biggest economic bang for the buck. And when society is prosperous, most of it flows right back into the pockets of the 1%, making their taxes for this purpose almost an investment.
There is lots to unpack here, but what I want to focus on is the idea of reparations. For slavery.
I never owned any slaves, you never picked any cotton.
No one has owned slaves for over 150 years and it’s time to get over the narrative that slavery was some unique institution America perfected, exploited and clung to bitterly. Americans and their British counterparts were virtually the only men on the planet who objected to slavery. Everyone else thought it was just fine, and huge swathes of the planet still think it’s just fine.
Read Thomas Sowell’s Black Rednecks and White Liberals if you’re curious.
And now, 150 years later, we’re supposed to pay black people for the crime of ending slavery in America?
I call bullshit. I have no objection to Adams’ economic rationale for education, and I too would love to see education be ‘free’, although nothing is ever free, it’s just a cost borne by all. I don’t even have a problem with a 25 year tax on the 1%.
What I have a problem with is the idea that supporting the educational aspirations of low-income people should be based on race and an historical past that is long in the past. I highly recommend J.D.Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy for a look into the lives of poor white people. The reality is that poor people are expensive and they tend to make everyone’s lives as miserable as their own. Why on earth would we create a race test to see which poor people we are going to help? Determining who counts as poor should be where people quibble over details. That’s what should feel unfair. Adams is right in that there will always be people complaining that the free beer isn’t cold enough.
Do we really want people complaining that the free money is going to people who aren’t black enough?
A race test tied to poverty and reparations seems like an absolutely terrible idea to me. After we pay modern blacks, who have never picked a single puff of cotton, are we paying the indentured Irish? The Chinese railway workers? The American Indians used as pack mules? The interred Japanese? Who goes next and how far back can we cry about injustice?
We should be willing to pay for education for the poor, no matter what their race, because it’s cheaper than paying for food stamps and jails and police, and a nice thing to do. Paying only people who meet a race test on the grounds that a long time ago, some people were mean to other people who looked like them?
I’m not persuaded.
Contrast is everything.
How did I do, Scott?
Lots of love,