March 16, 2016

"Do you remember a year ago when you thought humans were rational most of the time – let’s say 90% of the time – and irrational the rest of the time?"

"That was how most people saw the world, and still do. But Trump is teaching you that you had it backwards. The truth is that humans are irrational 90% of the time."

I wasn't one of those people who saw the world that way. I always thought what people like to think of as reason is thoroughly interwoven with the bodily nervous system and inherently emotional. So I also don't agree with Scott Adams that "humans are irrational 90% of the time." I think we are human 100% of the time, and our wonderful, beautiful, horrible human mind loves to divide things into 2 categories like "rational" and "irrationality," so we enjoy reading Scott Adams as he lays that all out and puts numbers on it. We love numbers. 90%. So specific and yet so rounded.
Our brains simply evolved to keep us alive. Brains did not evolve to give us truth. Brains merely give us movies in our minds that keeps us sane and motivated. But none of it is rational or true, except maybe sometimes by coincidence.
What percent true would you rate that?

86 comments:

TosaGuy said...

What people are good at is rationalization.

traditionalguy said...

Reptilian brains are always with us. Thank God we have Words that we can use to regulate our Snake instincts.

Kill the pig...kill the pig...kill the pig. OOps, sorry.

Shouting Thomas said...

Politics isn't and shouldn't be about abstract rationality.

It's irrational to believe it is or should be.

Politics is about individuals and constituencies advocating for their self-interest.

So, you folks who think you've very rational and that politics should reflect that are actually the ones who are delusional.

Derek Kite said...

I won't put a number to it, but I agree with his premise. Survival also required, still does, responsiveness to correction. Free markets are about constant corrections to avoid failure, democracies are about being able to get rid of powerful rulers without having a revolution, naturally keeping the lid on stupidity.

The most salutary thing about this cycle is the hard, very hard reality that all but a few have been stunningly wrong. I think we have yet to see the extent to which the political assumptions of a generation will be overthrown.

That is also a human trait. Find a pattern, find confirmation, accept it as truth, benefit from the pattern, then when things change lose out while the nimble benefit. Neither traits prevail but both become necessary for survival.

Big Mike said...

Scott Adams reminds me of a class my theater professor taught back during my college days. He used Act III Scene 2 from Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" as the text. Brutus is the first to speak to the Roman citizens, and he lays out the rational case for murdering his old friend Caesar because of Caesar's ambition to become emperor. ("Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.")

Then Anthony speaks. Webb Smalley was a pretty good actor to go with being a great professor, and by the time Smalley was through with Shakespeare's words, with the sarcasm growing every time he said "Brutus is an honorable man," heck, I was ready to jump out of my chair and go slaughtering not just Brutus, Cassius, and Cinna, but anyone even named Brutus, Cassius, or Cinna.

Emotions count.

Laslo Spatula said...

"...as he lays that all out and puts numbers on it. We love numbers. 90%. So specific and yet so rounded. "

"I think we are human 100% of the time..."

For the sake of less roundedness let's put the percentage of being human at 98% of the time.

The other 2%? You know: Hitler.

Or deer in the headlights.

I am Laslo.

Derek Kite said...

And by the way, the open and bloody battles in the US are going to save the world once again. Every country faces the same issue that are at stake; a detached elite with extraordinary power, economic turmoil and change that is leaving a good percentage of the population without a place, enormous human migrations. They represent failure in the schemes and plans that have been touted as nothing but salutary, and are being exposed as extraordinarily short sighted and silly. It could be that the fistfights in a Chicago arena end up preventing a conflagration.

kjbe said...

I believe we are rational all of the time. 100%. From our own perspective, in any given situation we're each trying to figure things out. It might not look like it makes sense from the outside, but from the inside, the solution, at the time, with what we know is all we can do at any given moment. Hence, rational.

Henry said...

There's a number of great primary night voter interviews by Clare Malone at FiveThirtyEight that may sound irrational, or not:

Eileen, a 58-year-old resident of West Park who didn’t want to give me her last name, was a Trump voter that I met coming out of the parish gym. She had found the election to be an incredibly “exciting” one.

“I paid more attention to this than any other year before,” she said, noting that that she had watched all of the debates. Eileen, who voted for Obama in the last election, said that it was Trump’s “enthusiasm and realizing this country needs such a change,” that was the ultimate deciding factor.

Dave Malloy, a 27-year-old engineer, voted for Bernie Sanders, but said that his choice had been between the Vermont senator and Trump. He was looking for a candidate, he said, who “doesn’t seem like everyone who’s been in power since I’ve been alive.” I asked him what he thought about the violence at Trump rallies of late. “I think that’s part of the game,” Malloy said. “Could have just been some drunk jackass.”

rhhardin said...

It's gotten more irrational since women started running things.

David in another form said...

50%. or less. Being rational does not mean being correct. It imply means that we evaluate facts and reach conclsuions based on pwrmises. Facts are always incomplete, and emotions and deception can further destort facts. Emotions also affect our premises. Nevertheless within that thicket we tend to act rationally even if often mistaknly. Generally the problem is mispercption, which can be caused by emotion, but my many other factors as well.

Henry said...

Personally, I'm not surprised to see Sanders and Trump, enthusiasm and nihilism, flung together like that.

Henry said...

And rhhardin writes an rhhardin thing!

Laslo Spatula said...

Ed Gein was 108% human.

100%, plus 8% for the additional human skin he wore.

You can use this math in a similar context for Jeffrey Dahmer.

I am Laslo.

Michael K said...

I disagree about the "irrationality" but agree that emotion in politics is powerful. Germany tells us that. I believe that Kaiser Wilhelm II wrecked the 20th century with his emotional conduct of the Germany state when he became Kaiser at the extremely unfortunate death of his father. He was jealous of his British cousins and especially of his uncle, the Prince of Wales.

All that has happened the past 100 years is the result of his actions. There would have been no Hitler and no Lenin without him. The German people reflected some of his feelings but they also rationally felt they needed respect for their accomplishments in science. Organic Chemistry and Medicine were huge accomplishments of Germany at the time.

Unfortunately, the Prussians took control of government but, even there, Bismarck was a rational man and, once Germany was unified, he wanted to stop the military aggressiveness and "live and let live." Wilhelm fired him and the door to the tiger's cage was open.

Trump is appealing to emotions that have been repressed by our feckless but greedy Ruling Class. If some rational and wise people in power had realized the imbalance that was developing, this might have been avoided but wisdom in politics is rare. Reagan was wise but he had a war to win. He got the economy going again but Tip O'Neill was not wise and he took advantage of Reagan's success to build a political machine with the public employee unions and spending.

Clinton was corrupt but wise enough to let the GOP Congress save him from his leftist instincts. Gingrich had a chance to be wise but had a book deal instead. Hastert was deeply corrupt and left us with the whirlwind we see now. Pelosi and Reid operate at the reflex level. There is no thought there, let alone wisdom.

And Obama played the role of Buchanan.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Support for Trump is 90% rational. It's grounded in a well-earned distrust for the Republican Party at the national level. It's also rational to sucker punch protesters.

samanthasmom said...

Rationnal/Irrational when it comes to voting is like berating someone for not voting in their own "self-interest". Everyone votes in their own self-interest. Sometimes their self-interest just isn't what other people think it should be.

rehajm said...

Thaler convinced me rational was a random coincidence.

PB said...

Fear is not always irrational. What is dangerous is the mal-education rampant in our society, particularly with regard to economics.

Robert Cook said...

"Free markets are about constant corrections to avoid failure...."

To believe there are ever "free markets" is irrational.

Ralph Hyatt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric the Fruit Bat said...

(1) I think maybe I was supposed to read Critique of Pure Reason back in college or maybe I just heard a character refer to it in some Woody Allen movie.

(2) When it comes to the profundity of cartoonists, I like what Kliban had to say on the subject. LINK.

(3) This morning I was listening to Richard Dawkins talking about extended phenotypes. Stuff like how a specific sort of male birdsong will induce a female of the species to produce specific hormones. A whole host of behaviors soon follow. Any distinction between emotion and reason would seem to have precious little to do with it.

(4) I read somewhere that leadership is the ability to create followership. Maybe someday scientists will identify the chemicals that humans like Donald Trump get other humans to produce. And the host of behaviors that soon follow.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Politics is about individuals and constituencies advocating for their self-interest.

Exactly. Wasn't the book, "What's Wrong With Kansas" basically a lament that lower and working class voters wouldn't vote for what the author considered to be in their economic interest? Well, now they are (or at least attempting to) and the establishment (Democrat as well as Republican) is freaking out.

It seems pretty convenient to me that people droning on about conservative principles and how dreadful Trump is are the people who are benefiting from current political status quo.

Here is a clue for any establishment types that may be reading this, being against illegal immigration and for controlling the border does not, ipso facto, make you a racist. Being against exporting jobs overseas so you and your children can have jobs at reasonable wages is not irrational, neither is being tired of seeing identity group politics used against you.

If the current establishment (left and center) will not make an accommodation with the people who are the losers in globalization, then someone a lot worse than Trump is going to emerge.

PB said...

It would certainly be interesting if sanders voters went for Trump in the general.

traditionalguy said...

Religions teach words that are memorized by recitation until they can be brought to mind when needed as self control tools. That is a regulatory method. Some are better at it than others, and we call them educated. A person can be educated in a new field built on new words naming and thereby controlling our interaction with a certain level of reality for the first time.

But bad Religion and faked science can both send us on Unreality Trips.

So who do we trust? A proud and aggressive deal maker and builder with our traditional WASP values or a socialist that wants to recreate European Monarchy Hell because he misses it.

Richard Dolan said...

"Brains merely give us movies in our minds that keeps us sane and motivated. But none of it is rational or true, except maybe sometimes by coincidence."

Ann asks "[w[hat percent true would you rate that?" Completely false. Worse, it's silly and misleading. The brain isn't an internalized movie theatre; there is no 'little man' sitting in the center of the brain to watch a movie; and the solipsism at the heart of it all is the sort of nonsense everyone should have left behind before moving on to sophomore year.

n.n said...

Voting for a lawyer to fill an executive position is questionable.

Voting for an executive to fill an executive position is rational, even logical.

Discovering your faith in emanations (i.e. "gods") from a penumbra is irrational.

Establishing a religion based on the selective principles pulled from its darkest fringes is regressive.

Normalizing premeditated abortion of a human life at a uniquely vulnerably stage in our evolution is insane.

Robert Cook said...

"Exactly. Wasn't the book, 'What's Wrong With Kansas' basically a lament that lower and working class voters wouldn't vote for what the author considered to be in their economic interest? Well, now they are (or at least attempting to) and the establishment (Democrat as well as Republican) is freaking out."

Do you suggest that working class and poor people who vote for Trump are voting in their own economic interest? What leads you to this conclusion?

Patrick said...

People can only be rational to the extent that they have all correct and relevant information. That is, of course, impossible. That is also the reason that those who claim to know what is best for the country, and the world are doomed to fail.

Karen of Texas said...

samanthasmom said...
"Rationnal/Irrational when it comes to voting is like berating someone for not voting in their own "self-interest". Everyone votes in their own self-interest. Sometimes their self-interest just isn't what other people think it should be."

What I find interesting? I've had many left leaning types claim that don't vote for *their* "self-interest" because that is selfish. They claim they vote for the greater good which is how everyone should vote. They don't realize their self-interest is trying to make others be self-interested in what they know is the greater good.

n.n said...

As for politics, it is ideally a [social] consensus, reached through a reconciliation of individual interests. At worst, it is a minority decree, based on the hypermorality of an individual or committee.

Carol said...

Yeah I love being called irrational for liking Trump, by someone who then turns around and supports Bernie...there's equal crazy on both sided IMO.

Michael K said...

Wasn't the book, "What's Wrong With Kansas" basically a lament that lower and working class voters wouldn't vote for what the author considered to be in their economic interest? Well, now they are (or at least attempting to) and the establishment (Democrat as well as Republican) is freaking out.


Exactly and some of us have multiple graduate degrees. I have been slowly coming to the Trump side. It began when I realized he had the right enemies.

Cookie is clueless about what the working class needs.

Robert Cook said...

Trump and Sanders are not like each other.

Robert Cook said...

What does the working class need, Michael K., and how will Trump provide for those needs?

buwaya puti said...

Bismarck was one of a trio of excellent leaders of Prussia at the time - Kaiser Wilhelm I, Moltke were the others, with a generally very high quality supporting cast. None would have managed the unification of Germany without the others, it was a team effort. My take is this was just plain good luck, perhaps, or if not exactly good, an accident of fortune. It was pure chance that threw such a team together at such a time.
Besides which, they were ridiculously lucky. All of what they did could have been prevented, derailed, or limited by any number of pebbles on the road, random chances and points of decision. Go deep into what really happened and this becomes clear. Too much of history truly is a matter of horseshoe nails.

Henry said...

@Robert Cook. Neither are Trump nor Obama. Yet the voters I referenced above make just those connections.

Obama and Trump: "enthusiasm ... this country needs such a change"

Sanders and Trump: "[not] like everyone who’s been in power since I’ve been alive."

Chuck said...

My brief exposure to the Scott Adams/Dilbert blog -- through the Althouse portal -- has confirmed my satisfaction that I never wasted my time on the comic strip.

Henry said...

Robert Cook: What does the working class need, Michael K., and how will Trump provide for those needs?

He'll give them Circuses. Bread, I don't know.

Tom said...

This is worth reading on the subject:

https://hbr.org/1991/05/teaching-smart-people-how-to-learn/ar/1

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Robert Cook

Do you suggest that working class and poor people who vote for Trump are voting in their own economic interest? What leads you to this conclusion?

I would point to the clause, "or at least trying to." And, it is also in their economic interest to vote for Sanders.

Globalists and free traders and open border advocates often make the case that free trade and open borders lead to an expanding economic pie for everyone (usually with a nod to comparative advantage.)

That's all well and good if you are in the set that is getting served slices of the pie.

But a lot of people aren't getting a slice of the pie, instead a lot of them are seeing the slice of the pie they were getting being taken away and given to someone else.

It's a lot easier to be "fair" and live by a set of principles when you are getting slices of pie.

When you aren't getting any pie and are being told you don't deserve any pie, well then, is it so surprising that you might be interested when someone stands up and advocates for your right to have some pie? That you might support him?

Of course, the rational thing to do would have been to anticipate the situation and prevent it by making sure that everybody got some pie, but apparently the rational people in charge didn't think that was necessary, for some reason.

damikesc said...

I believe we are rational all of the time. 100%. From our own perspective, in any given situation we're each trying to figure things out. It might not look like it makes sense from the outside, but from the inside, the solution, at the time, with what we know is all we can do at any given moment. Hence, rational.

I actually feel the Trump thing is perfectly rational.

There is a large group of people ignored by the political parties. NRO is telling the poor to basically go fuck themselves. I have friends who are in the "I got mine, so fuck you" camp.

To the ones who don't "have theirs", and there's a lot of them, why in the hell would they side with THESE people? Who wants to side with people who view them, honestly, as lesser beings? I'm hardly wealthy and if the rich get fed to the wolves, why should I, personally, care?

Here is a clue for any establishment types that may be reading this, being against illegal immigration and for controlling the border does not, ipso facto, make you a racist. Being against exporting jobs overseas so you and your children can have jobs at reasonable wages is not irrational, neither is being tired of seeing identity group politics used against you.

It's depressed me to see alleged conservatives resorting to calling Trump supporters "racists". The same slur they feel is unfair when applied to them they HAPPILY throw upon others. That they refuse to even acknowledge that there is a legit opposition to immigration is telling and shows why society is what it is now.

There is really no conservative vs liberal dichotomy. It is rural vs urban. The people who provide the food and the labor against the ones who take it and provide little of actual worth in return.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

What does the working class need

A slice of the pie? Maybe just a small slice? Just a sliver really.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

"I'm a rational person. I always wait till I have enough information before making any decision."

How do you know when you have enough information?

"I'll know, because it feels right."

Ron Winkleheimer said...

So Trump isn't the perfect candidate for the working classes, he might even be a bad candidate and for that matter POTUS. But, he is the candidate that is apparently willing (to use another, probably racist now, metaphor) to break a few rice bowls.

And is willing to break the "rules" of discourse that have been used to deprive the working class of not only their rice bowls, but their ability to complain about their rice bowls being taken.

Robert Cook said...

"Of course, the rational thing to do would have been to anticipate the situation and prevent it by making sure that everybody got some pie, but apparently the rational people in charge didn't think that was necessary, for some reason."

This is because "the rational people in charge" don't serve the American people, they serve those who are getting the majority of the pie and who, angry they aren't getting all of it, intend to see that all of it is what they will--in time--have.

My question is: what makes one think Trump will stop prevailing practices--or would be able to--and deliver more of the pie to the working class and poor?

Henry said...

@Tom -- That's an excellent article. Thanks.

Most politics is single-loop politics.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...I think we are human 100% of the time, and our wonderful, beautiful, horrible human mind loves to divide things into 2 categories like "rational" and "irrationality," so we enjoy reading Scott Adams as he lays that all out and puts numbers on it.

So you reject the idea that there is a difference between rational and irrational, or that human thought can be so categorized, or both, or what?
Rationality is a concept and a label, sure. Are you saying the concept is flawed/invalid or that the label doesn't always or ever apply...or something else?
I don't understand what you're saying.

Writ Small said...

I heard a guy speak on this subject at a business conference this past Thursday, a young Stanford professor by the name of Chip Heath who was hawking his new bestseller (available via Amazon here).

His main and extended metaphor was a rider sitting atop and guiding an elephant. The tiny rider is our thinking, rational self. The elephant represents our emotional desires. The rider tells the elephant we're going to stick to our diet, get up early to go the gym, and limit ourselves to two beers tonight. The elephant may or may not go along with any of those things.

The main message was that we often falsely think we can get people to change by appealing to the rider, but in fact people are far more motivated when the elephant is invoked. One example he gave was Canada's anti-smoking campaign connecting impotence to smoking with a bent-cigarette image. This he contrasted to the ineffective US approach of printing "cigarette smoke may contain carbon monoxide" warning labels.

The entire talk was with respect to business change, but professor Heath did say there were completely healthy and positive ways to appeal to the elephant. A good leader will find those ways.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

(1) I have no idea why people are putting an "e" after GOP and I'm not about to google it.

(2) I've noticed that "rice bowl" has been gaining currency on the internet. I don't know why nor do I care.

But I remember the term from the movie The Sand Pebbles. It was a condescending way the status quo sailors justified their use of coolies. Steve McQueen was the anti-hero who bucked the system, IIRC.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

My question is: what makes one think Trump will stop prevailing practices--or would be able to--and deliver more of the pie to the working class and poor?

Like I said, he at least is saying he will while breaking the taboos that have been used to keep the working class and poor from even complaining. To a lot of people he makes them feel that they have a "say" in government. That's even backed up by polls. Much of Trump's support comes from people who feel they have no say in the government.

If Trump fails, somebody else will come along.

Waiting for the perfect candidate is not an option.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I've noticed that "rice bowl" has been gaining currency on the internet. I don't know why nor do I care.

That's me. I totally claim credit for that. Also, GOPe means GOPestablishment.

Michael K said...

"What does the working class need, Michael K., and how will Trump provide for those needs?"

A job to start with. Do you have one ?

traditionalguy said...

Tom's article site was excellent. We have to confront people to educate them. That could be a Trump aphorism set against a "just pretend you Love them like they are" Kasich aphorism.

Michael K said...

"I've noticed that "rice bowl" has been gaining currency on the internet. I don't know why nor do I care."

It may come from "The Sand Pebbles" which was a very good book and a mediocre movie. The term was used by Chinese who were killing American.

traditionalguy said...

Tom's article cite was excellent. We have to confront people to educate them. That could be a Trump aphorism set against a "just pretend you Love them like they are" Kasich aphorism.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I'm getting old.

I can remember when only hippies complained about the "establishment" and class referred to socioeconomic status imposed by birth and enforced by both custom and law.

Things change, apparently.

Michael K said...

I just noticed; "It was a condescending way the status quo sailors justified their use of coolies."

Actually, it was not the sailors but the other Chinese who used it as their excuse to kill people.

Michael K said...

"Things change, apparently."

You might read Charles Murray's "Coming Apart."

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I can remember when only hippies complained about the "establishment" and class referred to socioeconomic status imposed by birth and enforced by both custom and law.

I'm pretty sure that railing against the establishment goes back, at least, to Andrew Jackson.

For that matter, a lot of the opposition to him had to do with class prejudices as well.

rhhardin said...

A rising pie lifts all boats.

Paul said...

"My question is: what makes one think Trump will stop prevailing practices--or would be able to--and deliver more of the pie to the working class and poor?"

A secure border and curtailing unfair trade practices for starters. These are the issues that the blue collar workers and un-under employed feel most disenfranchising.

You may say he won't or can't do anything about it, or if he did it won't really solve anything, and you may be right. But you may be wrong. The point is everyone else is more of the SOS, or in the case of Sanders crazy. At least with Trump people feel they have a chance to have a chance.

Robert Cook said...

"Like I said, (Trump) at least is saying he will while breaking the taboos that have been used to keep the working class and poor from even complaining. To a lot of people he makes them feel that they have a 'say' in government. That's even backed up by polls. Much of Trump's support comes from people who feel they have no say in the government."

It's not just that Trump makes people "feel" they don't have a say in government, we demonstrably do not. Washington serves the wealthy elites, plainly so. We are just the noisome rabble to be dealt with, through lies and false promises if possible, more harshly if necessary. The politicians pander for our votes every election cycle, but beyond that, most of them ignore us. (I am not cynical enough to believe no one in Washington sincerely wants to represent their constituents at home--as opposed to constituents in Wall Street offices and corporate boardrooms. I believe there are committed public servants in Washington. However, they have little or no power to effect necessary change.)

However, Trump has not put forth any comprehensive policy statements that would show any convincing or realizable plans on his part to actually give power--or jobs--back to the people. He also panders to people's emotions, and they respond emotionally...irrationally, in other words. There is no rational basis to suppose Trump will, or has plans, or even could make the changes those supporting him hope and expect he will make to improve their lives. They're being suckered again.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Basically, it all came down to the establishment of the time not be willing to accommodate the changes in the US caused by western settlement.

The Eastern establishment wanted to keep all the power in their oh so capable hands.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

They're being suckered again.

Possibly, God help him if he is. Cynicism is a fine pagan philosophy, but a pretty crappy political program.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Also, every politician "panders" to peoples emotions. We aren't Vulcans, we are people. Appealing to peoples' emotions is a basic for rhetoric.

n Aristotle's Rhetoric, he identifies three artistic modes of persuasion, one of which was “awakening emotion (pathos) in the audience so as to induce them to make the judgment desired

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pathos#Aristotle.E2.80.99s_text_on_pathos

In fact, calling it pandering is an appeal to emotion itself.

carrie said...

Having HIllary be the democratic candidate is what is irrational, which is why Trump is doing so well.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Pander:

gratify or indulge (an immoral or distasteful desire, need, or habit or a person with such a desire, etc.)

Appeal:

to ask for aid, support, mercy, sympathy, or the like; make an earnest entreaty

I remember reading a Heinlein novel were the government regulated the use of words in mass media because they had gotten so good at using loaded words and phrases they could easily sway public opinion one way or the other with the words used to "frame" an issue.

William said...

Being 100% human doesn't occur all that often. Donald Trump is far more human than Hillary. So,for that matter, is her husband. Sarah Palin is far more human than Hillary. Between Carly Fiorina, Elizabeth Warren, and Hillary, it's a toss up They all have trace qualities of humanity, but it's not their dominant characteristic.......I don't mean these comparisons to sound sexist. Both John Kerry and Al Gore have a kind of uncanny valley affect and are far less human than Hillary.

Sammy Finkelman said...

They are rational - they are just brainwashed on a few points, which nobody is contradicting.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Not being able to explain well what the reasoning is does not mean there's no reasoning.

Rusty said...

I like when elites talk about the "working class" . It soon becomes obvious that they don't know what they're talking about.

Big Mike said...

@Rusty, to the elites the "working class" are the non-English speakers who mow their lawns, change their babies' diapers, come in three times a week to do cleaning and laundry, and weed, mulch, and plant their flower beds. So the elites really do support the working class -- the people who do work for them that they could do for themselves. Just not miners or family farmers or lumberjacks or factory workers (UAW an exception) or for that matter anyone living between the Appalachia mountain chain and the Sierra Nevada except for Cook County, IL.

Anglelyne said...

Ron Winkleheimer: Globalists and free traders and open border advocates often make the case that free trade and open borders lead to an expanding economic pie for everyone (usually with a nod to comparative advantage.)

But a lot of people aren't getting a slice of the pie, instead a lot of them are seeing the slice of the pie they were getting being taken away and given to someone else.

It's a lot easier to be "fair" and live by a set of principles when you are getting slices of pie.


Not only easier, but pretty much required. Regardless of how correct "globalists and free traders and open border advocates" are about the size of the aggregate pie, the simple fact of the matter is that globalists and free traders and open border advocates would not be advocating globalism and free trade and open borders if it were making them poor.

I've been watching "anti-globalist" sentiments creep up the income ladder for several decades. Once prosperous white-collar workers who sneered and quoted libertarian pieties at those dumb racist xenophobe blue-collar guys gradually become much more, ah, nuanced in their world views after being H1-B'd out of a job or two or three.

buwaya said...

"I've noticed that "rice bowl" has been gaining currency on the internet."

In Sand Pebbles, being unwilling to break their rice bowls was part of the crews defense of keeping on the Chinese staff, their positions/jobs being "rice bowls".

IIRC its an authentic Chinese saying about removing ones livelihood, it was not coined by McKenna, he just picked it up as an authentic colloquialism.
The "iron rice bowl" likewise, referring to a secure position or sinecure.

buwaya said...

"However, Trump has not put forth any comprehensive policy statements that would show any convincing or realizable plans on his part to actually give power--or jobs--back to the people."

I put it to you that any such statements are irrelevant and misleading, given that no-one is in a position to make such promises or lay such plans in their necessary state of ignorance as to what policies are appropriate or achievable. In the US system where politicians are promoted into their positions without serving in positions where relevant experience is available, every new President starts as an amateur. Worse, perhaps, only the current administration has the relevant information, if anyone does.

Working off theories or half-understood information is worse than total ignorance. People who like to hear such plans, etc., are seeking to rationalize their choice, not reason through to a choice.

In a parliamentary system parties have a stable of people who have served in cabinet or shadow-cabinet roles, and its usually only these who are considered in party selections. That is, maybe, an advantage of parliaments. The downside is obvious.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I've been watching "anti-globalist" sentiments creep up the income ladder for several decades. Once prosperous white-collar workers who sneered and quoted libertarian pieties at those dumb racist xenophobe blue-collar guys gradually become much more, ah, nuanced in their world views after being H1-B'd out of a job or two or three.

Yep, exact same experience.

Fritz said...

I chose a liberal definition of rational. If you agree with me, you're rational.

Christy said...

" Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal." Robert A. Heinlein, forget where, but it was before Stranger... I can remember using it in arguments in h.s. And I can never remember not believing it.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Assignment in Eternity, according to wikiquotes.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Anglelyne

In fact, being in the IT biz, I used to see a lot of arguments concerning work visas and outsourcing along the lines of it only being the mediocre programmers that would be losing their jobs, the really good programmers would be fine.

1) Mediocre programmers like to eat too.
2) You think the US has a monopoly on good programmers?
3) What happens to the US tech industry when nobody in the US goes into the field because they can't get jobs?
4) Really, you're in the IT field and you've never heard of the concept of code being good enough? Age discrimination? Getting rid of good programmers with lots of experience and replacing them with much cheaper, but not nearly as good, coders? The joke about Management thinking if it takes one woman 9 months to give birth to a baby then it should take 9 women only one month to do so?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Of course I did get to enjoy some schadenfreude as a system administrator who used to get mean spirited jokes about my job being automated.

I stayed employed while massive numbers of programming jobs were outsourced.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iiOEQOtBlQ

Jonathan Graehl said...

Adams is more right than not-Adams is right.

Presumably a Trump-level talent knows how to nudge people more toward the 'rational' mode (when he wants to convince them of something provable) and how to nudge them towards normal-human identity/emotion/ally/friendly mode when he's in a hurry and wants to reach more people more surely.

If you keep soldiering on with your "all Spock, all the time" in front of an audience against a Trump, it will seem like humans are rational 1% of the time. Because the crowd is 99% against you. How did that happen?

As MMA: you need not just an anti-grappling game, but a grappling game. Only then can you hope to trade the sweet-science strikes you've so lovingly perfected.

Rhythm and Balls said...

It's mostly true.

mikee said...

Terry Pratchett's anthropomorphic personification, Death, noted that humans had an amazing capacity to forget, which allowed them to remain both sane and functioning.

Rationality is an ability to test reality to determine the more likely true hypotheses one develops, nothing more.