Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter

Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 4 months ago to Politics
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Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter by Scott Adams (Penguin, 2017) is a tribute to Donald Trump. It is also a tribute to Scott Adams. The author of Dilbert has been popular online for decades; and he had tens of thousands of readers when, back on August 13, 2015, he began predicting Donald Trump’s victory. Throughout the book, Adams gives himself a lot of credit for that. Adams calls Trump a Master Persuader (in capitals). Trump won because facts do not matter. People make up their minds based on emotion and then cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias provide them with “reasons” to justify their choices. Adams says that Trump could have run on any platform, even Bernie Sanders’.

One of Trump’s most successful tactics as a Master Persuader is intentional wrongness. He makes a grandiose claim, such as building a wall along the border. People point out the errors. He might modify his position – he does that often – but it remains that he has framed the discussion, defined the terms, tilted the debate in his favor. Everyone talks about what he wants them to talk about. The border wall, banning Muslims, global warming, Syria, North Korea, whatever the issue of the moment, Trump made huge statements that grabbed headlines, then slowly shifted away from the hardline stance, often to no specific proposals at all. All the while, everyone talked about what Donald Trump told them to talk about.

Another way that Trump achieves that control and neutralizes his opponents is by flooding the news. He issues so many statements in so many media and so often provocative that news agencies can only report them all and yet be unable to actually focus on any one or a few of them. He did this in the campaign and it made him the most newsworthy candidate in the race.

Among the many failed strategies of the Democrats was their campaign called “imagine President Trump.” It was supposed to turn people against him, of course. People who consumed news were supposed to be shocked and disgusted by the picture and thereby vote for Hillary Clinton. In fact, all the Democrats achieved was to plant the vision of President Trump in millions of people. The Democrats did Trump’s selling for him. “Love Trumps hate” was another failed campaign slogan. All it said was “Love Trump…” And apparently, very many people do.


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  • Posted by Lucky 4 months ago
    You may deplore Trump's approach but it beats outright dishonesty:

    -the trillion dollar industry mainly government (your) money and investment from the virtue-signalling mega-rich devoted to the carbon change climate scare with fabrication of data, blacklisting, threats to opponents ...
    - the encouragement of illegal immigration on a vast scale by barbarians
    - the view that N.Korea, Iran, will negotiate and consider the views of all parties honestly
    - and as for flooding the news, most of the media are stridently anti-Trump, the only exception in the big media is News Corp which is certainly not pro-Trump.

    The USA, its friends and allies, the West, and all those elsewhere, 'in the huts and villages around the world', who are not slaves to mass superstitions, or cronies on the take, have good reason to thank whatever it is, maybe just luck, that Trump is President.
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    • Posted by  $  4 months ago
      You have probably watched Michael Moore's famous explanation of Trump's appeal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lMp_...

      If Bernie Sanders had gone to the Detroit Economic Club and threatened Ford with a 35% tariff on cars made in Mexico, the conservatives here would have raged, and properly so. But Donald Trump made that threat. As a Master Persuader, he did not mean it at the detail level, but he defined the discussion.

      Bernie Sanders certainly could say what you opened with, just changing some nuance, about the mega-rich using the government to steal from the workers. That is just classic Marxism. A hundred years ago, Vladimir Lenin wrote a little book, Imperialism which explained in Marxist terms with a thick array of economic facts, that laissez faire was dead and war was now on the horizon. Indeed it was. But those are facts, and in the world of persuasion, facts do not matter.

      Scott Adams has more visibility than I do, but I said the same thing in 2011 -- and I was nonly reviewing an academic article with the same point here: "Why Evidence is not Enough
      https://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/2.... And, interestinlgy, that paper from the Yale Law School blogsite is now archived at Mother Jones.
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      • Posted by Lucky 4 months ago
        Michael Moore- no knowledge so pass.

        35% tariff on cars- correct, a media master stroke getting the workers on side
        and scaring the corporates. As the media was,and still is, flat out hostile,
        that is how he got cover. Question- was it from an outgoing and pushy
        personality, or a calculated and effective strategy?

        Classic Marxism- Soros, the merchant banks, Hollywood and media moguls, and
        cronies, yes, they are stealing from the workers - or in our terminology, looters
        stealing from producers. The moochers, being Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and all the
        green gang, the viros, are baying along joining in the bandwagon fun. In
        this case the theft is by government, the cronies gain, the moochers get a warm
        fuzzy feeling. I suppose there can be some grudging respect for the
        Algore types who without intellect or facts make multi millions from the carbon
        scare, more the fool the rest of us for swallowing.
        (Caution- if A contains B, then existence of B does not imply A).

        Your point that facts do not matter, or rather- Evidence is not Enough, is of
        course correct, well for most people. Story- I have over the years formed many
        opinions, and, have even changed sides. Once was from reading Bjorn Lomborg,
        the facts as they appeared to me - common ground, this is what we want, then,
        this is the best way to get there. Now I see how Lomborg's thinking was inadequate.
        The question is, how to persuade, with integrity, without untruth, as you put it -
        defining the discussion- when the mass media is grossly hostile, Trump partly has it,
        is there a better way?
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        • Posted by  $  4 months ago
          Facts do matter; and evidence is enough -- for some people. Thanks for the link to Bjorn Lomborg. I did not know who he is.

          "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public; or in some contrivance to raise prices." -- Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, Chapter X "Wages and Profits," Part I.

          Marxism is not just whatever the bad guys want, anymore than capitalism is what General Motors wants. Many variants of socialism existed in Marx's day and continue in ours. Moreover, some their proposals were supported by the conservatives of their time (and now in ours). But that is not Marxism, which is a specific analysis of history (and a prescription for the future). Most of Marx's Capital is devoted to minutely analyzing economic history in order to prove his thesis that we are behaviorally determined by the economics of our society.
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        • Posted by strugatsky 3 months, 3 weeks ago
          35% tariff would not scare corporations. In fact, for an American-based corporation, it is pure mana from heaven. But it should scare the consumers. If in fact there was to be a 35% tariff on a certain industry, the costs to the American consumers would increase by more than 35%, while the quality and the costs to the corporations will decline.
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  • Posted by  $  CBJ 4 months ago
    Some interesting comparisons between “Win Bigly” and the writings of fictional character Floyd Ferris in “Atlas Shrugged”:

    “The main theme of this book is that humans are not rational. We bounce from one illusion to another, all the while thinking we are seeing something we call reality.” (Win Bigly)

    “What you think you think is an illusion created by your glands, your emotions and, in the last analysis, by the content of your stomach.” (Floyd Ferris in Atlas Shrugged)

    “The human brain is not capable of comprehending truth at a deep level.” (Win Bigly)

    “Thought is a primitive superstition. Reason is an irrational idea. The childish notion that we are able to think has been mankind’s costliest error.” (Floyd Ferris in Atlas Shrugged)

    “Humans think they are rational, and they think they understand their reality. But they are wrong on both counts.” (Win Bigly)

    “The more certain you feel of your rational conclusions, the more certain you are to be wrong. Your brain being an instrument of distortion, the more active the brain the great the distortion.” (Floyd Ferris in Atlas Shrugged)

    “Two of my favorite examples are quantum entanglement and the double-slit experiment. I’ll spare you the wonky science, but if you do some reading on these topics, you will quickly learn that the human brain doesn’t have the capacity to understand the nature of reality. (Win Bigly)

    “That gray matter you’re so proud of is like a mirror in an amusement park which transmits to you nothing but distorted signals from a reality forever beyond your grasp.” (Floyd Ferris in Atlas Shrugged)
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    • Posted by term2 3 months, 3 weeks ago
      The implication here is that we cant know reality, and that makes me upset and feel like an idiot. For example, I thought Hillary was crooked and an evil person far before Trump called her Crooked Hillary. It was the facts of what she did that led me to that conclusion.
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  • Posted by  $  CBJ 4 months ago
    "I have no reason to believe humans evolved with the capability to understand their reality. That capability was not important to survival." --from Win Bigly by Scott Adams.
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  • Posted by term2 3 months, 3 weeks ago
    I am reading that book on Kindle, and I have mixed thoughts about it. On the one hand the author is a dyed in the wool liberal (so I dont trust him at all). On the other hand, presidential elections are geared to emotion and NOT facts, so he has some good points. What we would really want to know is what the candidate would actually do IF elected. On that basis, Trump gets good marks. The tactics both parties have to use to GET elected are a bit suspect.
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  • Posted by CaptainKirk 3 months, 3 weeks ago
    Here's the thing... No matter what Trump said, he was going to be attacked by the media.
    His Genius was exaggerating something, so the attack countered the exaggeration more than the fact.
    Meanwhile, he ENLIGHTENED the average citizen (DeepState, FakeNews, DNC/MSM Cabal, 2 Systems of Justice, SWAMP).

    He was MOSTLY right, and if you watched, he was a decent guy (waiting with Dr. Carson who did not hear his name called).

    I will use the example I am closest to: Voter Fraud. President Trump CLAIMED that 3-5 Million Illegal votes were cast, and if it weren't for that, he would have won the popular vote too!

    Problematic? Genius? Or both? I say both. First, using Statistics and self-reporting, we have found 2-3% of ILLEGALS who were asked about voting in a recent election (in OH, I believe), they said they clearly voted, and they knew the candidates they voted for without prompting with a name!!! This makes it easy to project about 1-2 Million Illegal votes cast, without an issue. And that is from one source. But the 3-5 is hard to support WITHOUT a TON of research/analysis.

    The GENIUS was adding that he would have won the popular vote. I know many people who feel that was moronic. But when I convince you to buy a car BECAUSE I promise you lifetime oil changes... You are tripping over pennies.

    Here, Trump made you think! He also got you PASSED the number of Illegal Votes cast, because the media focused on his ego.
    The fact that MILLIONS of illegal votes were cast SUDDENLY became REALITY. You can't attack the back of the message without accepting the front of it, to a degree.

    Now, the media, true to form, call him a LIAR. Interesting. He only exaggerated! But they COULD NEVER say that. Their words were chosen carefully. It must be a lie. BUT HE GOT US TALKING! He broached the subject...

    At first, I was SICKENED by the numbers he used. We could not prove those numbers RIGHT NOW. OMG, I don't want the pressure to exaggerate on the research. Lets just find the truth... But my mind changed when LITERALLY 10 Times the number of people interested in the topic started asking questions. They ALL wanted to know if it COULD BE that bad (interesting). I would say I could justify 1-2 Million with my eyes closed. Especially when you have people registered to vote in multiple states...

    Finally, the media the CONFLATED "illegal votes" with "Illegals Voting"...
    Just like "You'd be in Jail" was conflated with "Putting your political opponents in Jail"... As opposed to "Putting CRIMINALS who admitted to, and were caught, deleting documents that we subpoenaed to be kept/turned in"

    My question is: Who is behind President Trump. Because this level of play is almost beyond a single person... Either he is pure genius, has a natural touch, or he is getting some top-notch help...
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    • Posted by Rex_Little 3 months, 3 weeks ago
      According to Adams, once the campaign was well under way, Clinton had the help of a Master Persuader (Adams kept referring to him as "Godzilla"). So my question is, why didn't this neutralize Trump's persuasion ability? Surely if it had, the antipathy toward Trump from both the media and the Republican establishment would have given HRC the easy win.
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      • Posted by CaptainKirk 3 months, 3 weeks ago
        Rex, you can OUT DO some one elses marketing/persuasion... But UNDOING it is hard.
        Neutralizing can only be done by doing more and better Persuasion.

        What in the world could HRC convince a Trump Supporter of, to swing them back:
        - She wasn't a criminal? (That was on the news: Exonerated! Constantly. Nobody believed it)
        - She cared about Americans? (Closing the Coal mines, and MORE MINERS were going to lose their jobs)
        - She wanted to help EVERY DAY AMERICANS? (She ridiculed them: Deplorables)
        (FWIW, I was emailing the trump campaign, and they did a few things I suggested, and I got 2 thank you emails on the ones
        they took... But the one they avoided: I gave them away to Attack HRC Supporters after her Deplorables comment... I was
        totally embarrassed when Trump said publicly that he would NOT attack a single one of her voters, because they are Americans!)
        He was a bigger man than I was.

        I don't think you could have neutralized Trump without showing us he was working us. The ONLY thing that would have stopped me from voting for him would have been:
        - Undeniable Video Proof that he was working with the Bilderberg Group, and he was actually executing their plan!

        Other than that, I wanted a Bull in the China Shop!
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      • Posted by EdGoldstein 3 months, 3 weeks ago
        When you accept Adams idea that Trump did not base his campaign on facts, you must accept the idea Trump was lying. However Trump was stating facts we had been documenting for years without getting those facts seen outside Conservative media. There is an ongoing invasion. The trade deals intentionally undermine US manufacturing. The Ckintons are crooks.

        What Trump did was bring those facts out in the open and the media was unable to hide reality behind their propaganda smoke screen.
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  • Posted by strugatsky 3 months, 3 weeks ago
    Adams may be correct in evaluating Trump's tactics, but the strategy is pure Progressive projection, which has nothing to do with reality outside of the Progressive micro-world. Trump simply had the balls to talk about subjects the RINO's have avoided like a plague.
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  • Posted by Peggy 3 months, 3 weeks ago
    In a country where the likes of the sure winners, trump and hrc are both far less than what America needs, there is no way we can expect to save the country.
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