Normally I wouldn’t mirror a whole post from another site. However, Scott Adams has closed his comments section, so it is no longer possible to discuss what he asserts in his latest essay. It is my hope that what he has to say will provoke discussion. Need I say, courteous , thoughtful, and robust discussion, both about Mr. Adams’ contention and about what other readers’ responses may be?
You will notice one main thesis presented and several embedded corollaries. I request that you take them on one at a time so they can be responded to one at a time. After you’ve read his essay, I’ll give you my own opinion regarding the situation and what ought to have occurred. You can take that on also, should you so desire.
My agenda here is to provide a forum for those who have something cogent to say about one of the most dismal situations ever to burden our increasingly diminished “exceptional” nation. In this discussion, I have no doubt we’ll stray into the OT weeds; there are simply too many assumptions present to avoid that effect for anyone who grabs hold of Benghazi.
Hillary Clinton has become our very own Heracleum mantegazzianum especially given the fact that from long before the shooting started and into the coming decades, the sequelae of that hogweed sap will wound all of us, including those who run away by refusing to think about it.
Perhaps the chosen image should have been a nuclear bomb? After some thought, the New York Stinging Hogweed seemed more apropos to sum up the numerous hairy impeccabilities of our former Secretary of State. Thus the immediate reaction and the long-term consequences are perhaps as injurious AS nuclear radiation. Anyone who has brushed, however inadvertently, a Giant Hogweed — ah, what an apt flower symbol for (to change the metaphor) FOR this dung-covered cash cow the Democrats have shoved at us. Anyone who has come within touching or smelling distance can verify the pain. Hogweed damage can take up to six years to heal; for some it causes permanent blindness.
[Edited with better information from Mark Spahn]
You have only to look at her frozen shell-shocked gofer, Huma Mahmood Abedin Weiner, to see what happens even to those devoted to this woman. Perhaps only someone raised as a true believer within the strictures of Islam would be so blind? The choices both women made when they picked their spouses (and stayed with them) is indicative of some deep folie à deux. The next generation of psychohistorians — those far and safely outside the confined consensus of academe — will have their work cut out for them with these two women.
Mr. Adams’ book is linked at the end of this essay. I recommend it in the best way I know how: I bought the Kindle version and found it unable to surrender all the information inside: some of the material (not just his cartoons) are in images I wasn’t able to enlarge. More modern versions of Kindle may have that function, but I stubbornly stick to the original Kindle, sans the annoying touch screen “improvements”.
[Sometimes Amazon and Wal-Mart seem to be offshoots of government: they offer what they want to sell, but not always what you want to buy. Since they haven’t completely taken over yet, one is able to access places like eBay to get the older or less “best-selling” versions of things you think you need. I was able to find an old (but unused) IBM large-screen monitor for the Baron when his old one gave out.]
At any rate, I bought Adams’ book again, this time as a used paperback; I promptly bought copies for my children, too, though I realize my enthusiasms and Road-to-Damascus paradigmatic shifts are not necessarily heritable. Darn. That’s a hard lesson for some of us parents… I always give with the idea they may pass it on to someone else who might find my book gifts more amenable to their own thinking.
Now, on to Mr. Adams’ essay. It is up to you to decide: (a) is this essay straightforward, or (b) is he being tongue-in-cheek [again, maybe?]; (c) are his “facts” correct or is he sneakily trying to trip you up?, and (d) in the case of (a) how would you refute his assertions?
The primary goal of government is its own credibility.
That notion needs some explaining.
Governments do many things, including building roads, providing social services, defending the homeland, and more. But no matter what the government is trying to accomplish, its macro-responsibility is to maintain its own credibility. Governments without credibility devolve into chaos. Credibility has to be job one.
Consider all the different government systems around the world, and all the different laws they created. The Chinese government is different from the United States government, which is different from Jordan’s government, which is different from Great Britain. But each of those governments is credible to its own people, and that’s the key. The specific laws and the specific forms of government don’t matter too much, so long as the public views its own local system as credible.
The notion of credibility is why my political preferences don’t align with either of the candidates for president. I look for credibility in government, not for my personal agreement with a particular policy.
For example, I think laws regarding abortion are most credible when they are agreeable to the majority of women, no matter what the majority of men think. Imagine an abortion-related law that was acceptable to 90% of men but only 10% of women. It wouldn’t be credible. Nor should it be.
I take this same thinking to how a president should fill Supreme Court openings. For maximum credibility, we should have eight justices instead of nine, equally divided by liberal versus conservative credentials. That way nothing gets through the Supreme Court unless one of the liberals or one of the conservatives switches sides. That’s how you get credibility. Compare that to a 5-4 court that always votes conservative or always votes liberal. With a biased court, every decision will lack credibility with half of the citizens. That’s a problem.
[From Dymphna: a sidetrack onto a brief history of the Supreme Court. It leaves out much of the real history, but this is enough for our purposes here to let you examine Mr. Adams’ assertion about the best number for Supreme Court justices. This is an example of what I mean by his tongue-in-cheek assertions vs. his desire to ascertain how persuasive he can be, even with a bad idea. As such, it serves as a good lead in to his next theme.]
This gets me to FBI Director James Comey’s decision to drop the case against Hillary Clinton for her e-mail security lapses. To the great puzzlement of everyone in America, and around the world, Comey announced two things:
1. Hillary Clinton is 100% guilty of crimes of negligence.
2. The FBI recommends dropping the case.
From a legal standpoint, that’s absurd. And that’s how the media seems to be reacting. The folks who support Clinton are sheepishly relieved and keeping their heads down. But the anti-Clinton people think the government is totally broken and the system is rigged. That’s an enormous credibility problem.
But what was the alternative?
The alternative was the head of the FBI deciding for the people of the United States who would be their next president. A criminal indictment against Clinton probably would have cost her the election.
[Aside from Dymphna. See if you can establish his missing middle term here.]
How credible would a future President Trump be if he won the election by the FBI’s actions instead of the vote of the public? That would be the worst case scenario even if you are a Trump supporter. The public would never accept the result as credible.
That was the choice for FBI Director Comey. He could either do his job by the letter of the law – and personally determine who would be the next president – or he could take a bullet in the chest for the good of the American public.
He took the bullet.
Thanks to Comey, the American voting public will get to decide how much they care about Clinton’s e-mail situation. And that means whoever gets elected president will have enough credibility to govern effectively.
Comey might have saved the country. He sacrificed his reputation and his career to keep the nation’s government credible.
It was the right decision.
Comey is a hero.
This is the first post by Mr. Adams in which he does not turn the last sentence into some play on words/ploy to buy his book. I wonder why?
- Does he consider what he has written here too shameful for including a link to his book?
- Was it simply a senior moment?
- Has he finally wearied of flogging the book?
- Since his book is mainly concerned with the art of persuasion, does he think this post doesn’t make that cut?
We’ll likely never know.
Here, as promised, is a link to Mr. Adams’ book on persuasion:
As you can tell from the title — Failure and Winning — it’s difficult to know this is really a book about being/becoming persuasive. [One of the reasons we remain adamant about the strictures of our comments section is our basic belief that you never persuade anyone by cursing at them, calling names, or churlishly dismissing another’s ideas. Persuasion may not be your goal; your goal may simply be to vent. But at Gates of Vienna, there are no such easy way-in-way-out vent holes. At the very least, even if you don’t want to persuade anyone, you must keep a civil tongue in your head whilst on the premises. Cursing and name-calling are sure signs of infection via cultural degradation. No such spores will pass the portals here. Latin is permitted, though. And sometimes French, if you can carry it off cleverly — et si vous dites très brièvement.]
In my opinion, in this essay Mr. Adams has slyly attempted to make the case for the great forewarning in the mid-19th century, issued by de Tocqueville: he admonished us to watch with vigilance for the harm that would issue from THE TRYANNY OF MAJORITY RULE. If you agree with his assertions, then you believe in majority rule. I do not. Finding the “right” answer among many possible variants isn’t easy. But in this case, the thesis that convicting a criminal would be wrong because it would deprive Democrats of their current presidential candidate is easily gotten ’round: choose another candidate.
You have only to look at what would happen were the Republican candidate found guilty of so many felonies in a former government position: s/he would be hounded into jail forthwith. The fact that the Dems own the Iron Triangle is no excuse for double standards. Mr. Comey didn’t take the bullet — only God can judge him on why he did what he did. We can say with a fair amount of moral certainty that what he did was wrong. So wrong, that he too ought to step down. He may feel it is too dangerous. difficult, or futile to do so. By all that is just, he should leave and take Mrs. Clinton with him.
The many tyrannies developed and applied in the 19th and 20th centuries used a faux “tyranny of the majority” as a whip once they came into power. The “majority” they claimed to possess was often little more than a monstrously faux chimera for the exclusive use of those who controlled the mechanisms of state power: bureaucracies, media/social media, and in America’s case, the third arm of the Iron Triangle: Hollywood. (thank you,Bill Whittle).
Everywhere employed, this monstrous admixture of social shame, exclusion, threats of impoverishment, imprisonment or effective banishment (e.g., self-exile for safety’s sake) has proved mortally, murderously effective. One has only to look at the cancerous growth of socialism — of real true devout belief in Socialism, say here, in a book by one of its survivors Shakedown Socialism: Unions, Pitchforks, Collective Greed, The Fallacy of Economic Equality, and other Optical Illusions of “Redistributive Justice” — to see its deleterious effects, one of which is certainly a cortical blindness to those very effects. Those who shake free of the shackles are an important source of Survivor Stories.
Those who would seek to understand the energizing effects of Donald Trump’s campaign for President have only to look at our blinded populace. He is here because at this awful juncture in our history it may be that only a one-eyed man has any chance to lead us out of this Socialist Cave in which we sit, murmuring about shadows of former generations.