in Politics

Don’t Be Diluted

When I keep telling you that Scott Adams’s blog is required reading, it’s not because I necessarily agree with him. It’s because he has been the only observer that has accurately predicted the rise of Trump – and done so with eerie specificity. If you love Trump, or especially if you hate Trump, Adams is the only reliable source if you want to understand Trump.

His latest post as of this writing is one titled “Outrage Dilution,” and he once again makes a point that nobody else seems to have noticed.

I quote from him at length:

At the moment there are so many [Trump] outrages, executive orders, protests, and controversies that none of them can get enough oxygen in our brains. I can’t obsess about problem X because the rest of the alphabet is coming at me at the same time…

Instead of dribbling out one headline at a time, so the vultures and critics can focus their fire, Trump has flooded the playing field. You don’t know where to aim your outrage. He’s creating so many opportunities for disagreement that it’s mentally exhausting. Literally. He’s wearing down the critics, replacing their specific complaints with entire encyclopedias of complaints. And when Trump has created a hundred reasons to complain, do you know what impression will be left with the public?

He sure got a lot done. [Emphasis in original]

Initially, I read this and decided the conclusion was accurate but incomplete. Yes, the public will conclude, eventually, that Trump did a whole lot in his first few days, but while they may believe Trump has accomplished something commensurate with the noise he has generated, the actual changes to our national life won’t be nearly as remarkable as they think. I then imagined writing a clever post about how Trump is all bluster and no real beef.

And then, today, Trump tried to deport Muslims with green cards.

Permanent residents of the United States – people who have been vetted to every extreme possible and have been given permission to live in this country indefinitely – were told at airports that they couldn’t go home and would have to return to their countries of origin. As a guy who has tried very hard to talk people off the ledge and convince them that Adolf Hitler has not been reincarnated with an orange-ish hue, I find myself seeing a path from kicking out permanent residents because of their religion that leads to fascistic destinations where I insisted we would never, ever go.

Thankfully, the courts stepped in to temper some of Trump’s latest Kristillnachtian impulses, so maybe I was right the first time, and all this will just be noise that won’t amount to much. But increasingly, I find myself feeling like the dog in this cartoon:

So I got to thinking about Scott Adams and his so-called “outrage dilution,” and I came to realize that he’s on to something even bigger than he initially realized.

Let me step back and recall an article written during the campaign titled “How Paul Krugman Made Donald Trump Possible.” I recommend you read the whole thing, but by way of quick summary, the piece maintains that the full-volume hysteria of the Left about every Republican candidate made it impossible for them to have any remaining credibility when someone as reprehensible as Trump came down the pike. It doesn’t mean much to say Donald Trump is Hitler if you said Mitt Romney was Hitler, too.

The brilliant Camille Paglia long ago pointed out that this was part of the problem the Right had during Obama’s first week. I’ve quoted this before, but her wisdom bears repeating:

Talk radio has been seething with such intensity since Barack Obama’s first week in office that I am finding it very hard to listen to it. How many times do we have to be told the sky is falling? The major talk show hosts, in my opinion, made a strategic error in failing to reset at lower volume after Obama’s election. When the default mode is feverish crisis pitch, there’s nowhere to go, and monotony sets in.

That’s true, but it, too, misses the salient point. Non-stop shrieking isn’t just monotonous – it leaves you powerless if the sky actually begins to fall.

The attempted deportation of permanent residents because of their faith is so egregiously beyond the pale of anything that any president in my lifetime has ever tried to do, or even thought of doing, that I find myself unable to find words to adequately express my revulsion to it. It’s several orders of magnitude worse than anything else Trump has actually done, but since every bit of Trumpism has been greeted with the outrage volume turned up to eleven, there’s no way to differentiate between faux-fascism and the real thing.

So this past week, I’ve seen hyperventilating Facebook posts that Trump has already repealed the Affordable Care Act (he hasn’t), and that he’s already slapped a 20% tariff on Mexican goods (empty rhetoric unless Congress complies), and that the wall has started construction (yes – much of it was already built before Trump took office), that he’s banned overseas abortions (no, he’s only revived a Reagan-era piece of pro-life window dressing that accomplishes nothing), and even that, according to the orgasmically overwrought Keith Olbermann, Trump’s fixation on his inaugural crowd sizes will lead inevitably to nuclear war. (Apologies to those who think “orgasmically overwrought” is too indelicate a phrase, but you have to concede that it’s Olbermannically descriptive.)

This outrage dilution has done more than just make it difficult to respond to every one of them; it’s given the illusion that each of these outrages deserves dollops of outrage in equal measure. Trump’s stupid obsession with his inaugural crowd sizes and his refusal to acknowledge hard data is maddening, yes, but it pales in comparison to the outrage of taking concrete steps to remove legal Americans from their homes because of how they worship. One is stupid; the other is fascist. Fascism deserves exponentially more outrage than run-of-the-mill stupidity.

So now, of course, I have to be concerned that my newfound willingness to drop the F word – i.e. “fascist” – in describing Trump means I’m joining the chorus of wolf-criers. It’s imperative, then, that as the outrages keep coming with relentless fury as Trump continues to tornado through the traditions that have been at the core of this Republic for over two hundred years, we learn to separate what’s truly worthy of outrage and what’s just eye-rollingly dippy.

TL/DR: Trump’s using mud to dilute poison. Don’t let yourself be diluted.

A Perfect Object
Two Years of Trump

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28 Comments

    • There is no muslim ban.

      Legal Insurrection has an examination of the Executive Order. Here’s what their examination shows:

      QUOTE

      “There is a postponement of entry from 7 countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) previously identified by the Obama administration as posing extraordinary risks. That they are 7 majority Muslim countries does not mean there is a Muslim ban, as most of the countries with the largest Muslim populations are not on the list (e.g., Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, Nigeria and more).

      Thus, the overwhelming majority of the Muslim world is not affected.

      Moreover, the “ban” is only for four months while procedures are reviewed, with the exception of Syria for which there is no time limit.

      There is a logic to the 7 countries. Six are failed states known to have large ISIS activity, and one, Iran, is a sworn enemy of the U.S. and worldwide sponsor of terrorism.

      And, the 7 countries on the list were not even so-designated by Trump. Rather, they were selected last year by the Obama administration as posing special risks for visa entry, as even CNN concedes in passing:

      The order bars all people hailing from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Those countries were named in a 2016 law concerning immigration visas as “countries of concern.”

      The executive order also bans entry of those fleeing from war-torn Syria indefinitely.

      Seth Frantzman has an excellent analysis of this Obama administration background to the list. Please read the whole thing. The short version is that the Obama administration selected those countries — whose names are not mentioned in Trump’s EO.

      Franztman provides this image of text signed into law on December 18, 2015, as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of FY2016.”

      END QUOTE

      Furthermore, they provide a debunking of numerous back-up narratives, including the notion that Trump is banning countries that won’t do business with him:

      QUOTE

      “The problem, of course, is that Trump worked off of the Obama administration’s list of particularly risky countries for visa entry. To lay the blame on Trump’s business interests is a lie, or as Frantzman puts it, fake news:

      Most disingenuous, truly bordering on fake news, are the reports that claimed the seven countries were connected to Trump business interests, as if Obama’s DHS picked them because of Trump?”

      END QUOTE

      http://legalinsurrection.com/2017/01/most-claims-about-trumps-visa-executive-order-are-false-or-misleading/

      Why thinking people would believe a media industry that’s about to hire “fake but accurate” Dan Rather to go after Trump’s “alternative facts” is beyond me. But there it is.

      This demonstrates the silliness of your Hitler/fascism comparison on one level, but there are two others.

      First, fascism is a leftist manifestation, not a right wing one. You can’t very well delete 75% of regulations as a fascist, because a fascist needs those regulations and more in order to impose fascism.

      Second, the Jews were not enemy combatants. They were merely used by Hitler and the Nazis as a political scapegoat, much in the same way that white male heterosexual Christians are used by modern leftists as a political scapegoat. Jews didn’t repeatedly declare “Death to Germany.” Jews didn’t fly jumbo jets into buildings that were economically significant to the Weimar Republic. Jews didn’t run a rft full of explosives into a German U-boat. Jews didn’t shoot up gay night clubs, or plant pressure cooker bombs at marathons. Jews didn’t decapitate Germans who refused to convert to Judaism, nor did they throw homosexuals off building tops, or stone women to death for the crime of driving a car. Jews didn’t train children to be suicide bombers, drive cars at full speed through crowds of people, or mutilate female genitalia, or gang rape New Year’s Eve revelers.

      So what we have here yet again, is leftists both inside and outside the Jurassic media, huffing and puffing over a scenario that literally does not exist.

      So there’s really nothing here for normal people to be outraged by. In fact, it’s rather pleasing to see Trump move forward on multiple things that RINOs and other assorted establishmentarians have only given lip service to for years and even decades just to get elected. Whether or not any of these Executive Orders materialize into genuine action and/or solid constructions is another argument altogether. There’s many a slip betwixt a cup and a lip.

  1. I miss Keith Olbermann. Maddow is nice, but Olbermann really had a fiery speaking style that always inspired me. MSNBC should bring him back.

    And, sadly, I have to say that no, this is not “beyond the pale of anything that any president has ever tried to do.” I’d say it’s about tied with the Japanese internment. I can think of some other things that were worse, but at least they were secret stuff the government knew to be embarrassed about, like the Tuskegee Experiments.

    • If you’re referencing Liberal Democratic President FDR’s multi-cultural internment camps (remember that he also established German and Italian internment camps as well as the Japanese, and interred a small selection of other ethnicities along with them), then we should probably also mention Progressive Democratic President Woodrow Wilson’s German internment camp.

      But in your estimation, would you say that Trump’s “Muslim ban” is more or less “beyond the pale” than President Obama’s State Department refusing to process all Iraqi refugees for six months in 2011?

      • Trump’s ban applies to greencard holders who left the country temporarily.

        Also, Obama didn’t pick countries on the basis that he had no business dealings there.

        • So what it Trump’s ban applies to greencard holders who left the country temporarily?

          Trump did pick countries on the basis that he had no business dealings there? What evidence is there for this? I thought it was a “Muslim ban,” not a ban based on nation of origin?

          • Firstly, Green Card Holders have already been vetted. They can come here. They’re safe. Are you seriously telling me that stepping foot outside the country makes people who were safe a moment earlier dangerous?

            Second, when Bush tried to pass policies regarding “terror-prone nations,” he at least had the decency to use North Korea as a fig leaf and include it. The fact that North Korea is not included makes it pretty clear what the motive is.

            The major smoking gun that there are ulterior motives here is simply that Trump excluded countries that terrorists have actually come from, including the 9/11 hijackers (and yes, I’m citing the Daily Show, it does a good job of summarizing current events):

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2YLS80Nmls

            As for who he does business with, NPR was able to list six Muslim countries not banned under his restrictions where he has business interests, two of which (Saudi Arabia and Egypt) were home to 9/11 hijackers:

            http://www.npr.org/2017/01/28/511996783/how-does-trumps-immigration-freeze-square-with-his-business-interests

          • What I am telling you is to examine the text of the actual Executive Order which is directly linked to at the Legal Insurrection piece that I quote in my new post above, rather than rely on a comedy skit show, and the state’s Ministry of Truth for your information.

    • …you’re accepting the President’s word as gospel, and then criticize me for citing a source that receives funding from the government?

      • Are you suggesting that there is secret invisible ink made with lemon juice on President Trump’s Executive Order that supports the fantastical narrative you’re clinging to?

        • No, I’m suggesting that the issue here is not simply what he did, but why he did it. What countries AREN’T included is as meaningful as what countries are, which is an issue you haven’t addressed.

          • Did you not read the analysis of the actual Executive Order above which states, “That they are 7 majority Muslim countries does not mean there is a Muslim ban, as most of the countries with the largest Muslim populations are not on the list (e.g., Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, Nigeria and more)?”

          • I haven’t read it, because as far as I can tell nothing contained within it is under dispute. If you state that something is contained within it, and I don’t believe you, or if I hear something is in it that contradicts what you’re telling me, then I’d want to see for myself.

            But, seeing as how nothing in it is under dispute, I have no reason to do so.

            Either you’re trolling me, or you don’t even understand what I’m disputing, because the text of the order is irrelevant to the point I am making (which you will now use to claim I don’t care about facts, because you’re predictable as hell).

          • Of course it’s under dispute.

            The Jurassic Media and drones in the Collective are gnashing their teeth over a purely imaginary scenario that they themselves have concocted, while the Legal Insurrection piece patiently explains reality.

            If you want to see the EO for yourself, all you have to do is go to the Legal Insurrection piece where they directly link to the full text of the EO which I posted above. Click on it and read.

            Let’s be clear here; if the text of the source document is irrelevant to the point you are making, what point exactly are you making here? That the left’s fantastical narrative is true even though no factual documentation supports it? If so, I think the correct term you’re looking for here is “fake but accurate.”

          • I have stated my point: Trump’s motives were 1) reduce the number of Muslims entering the counry, and 2) don’t apply the ban to countries whete he has business dealings.

            Just out of curioisity I ran a search of this page and, surprise surprise, I’m the only one in this conversation to use the word “motive” so far.

            Ya know, I’ve acknowledged in the past a certain degree of resentment for neurotypicals, and said that I tend to prefer the company of my fellow autistics. So, maybe it’s just that a stereotype has formed jn my mind that you happen to embody, but I have never argued with a fellow autistic and seen points simply allowed to drop when they’re inconvenient. However, I perceive it to happen often with neurotypicals (and if I continue to raise the point I’m called “obsessed”). Maybe that’s just my recall bias, but it’s what I perceive.

            So, maybe it’s a stereotype. Maybe it’s something unconscious. You’re cognitive bias to ignore information that doesn’t fit your preconceptions might be stronger as an NT than mine.

            Either way, I’ve stated my point clearly, and you’re still claiming not to know what it is. Either you’re dishonest, or youre literally incapable of perceiving the information.

          • Okay.

            So as I stated earlier, the Legal Insurrection piece that I posted above clearly demonstrates that both your point 1 and point 2 are pure fantasy.

            Think about it, if Trump’s purpose was to reduce the number of Muslim’s entering the country, then why would he deliberately leave out countries that have the highest population of Muslims from this purported ban? The narrative simply doesn’t make any sense. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe this Muslim who said,

            “It’s not a Muslim ban. If it was really a Muslim ban, he would have banned immigration from Indonesia, the country with the highest population of Muslims. The seven countries listed were in Obama’s Terrorist Travel Prevention Act.”

            http://ijr.com/2017/01/790148-muslim-americans-fire-back-at-anti-trump-protesters-with-a-list-of-things-they-should-be-doing/

            Great. I’m the only person who has used the word concocted. So what?

            I have no comment on the neurotypicals/autism issue.

            I’m not ignoring information at all.

            Rather, what I am doing instead, is openly stating that the information you’re providing is pure bogus. There’s nothing dishonest about that.

            In any case, maybe you can tell us how this Clinton speech rates on the Beyond The Pale Scale:

            https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4351026/clinton-1995-immigration-sotu

  2. I usually agree with Stallion on his points and his rationale. And I agree with much of this post, except for his claim that Trump’s executive order is tied to religion. I see it the way Moisture Farmer sees it.

  3. You may be interested in the observations who actually lived under Hitler in Nazi Germany:

    “What is going on in this country is giving me chills. Trump is not like Hitler. Just because a leader wants order doesn’t mean they’re like a dictator.

    What reminds me more of Hitler than anything else isn’t Trump, it’s the destruction of freedom of speech on the college campuses — the agendas fueled by the professors.

    That’s how Hitler started, he pulled in the youth to miseducate them, to brainwash them, it’s happening today.”

    “It saddens me that we are teaching garbage in the schools and in the college. We don’t teach history anymore. History repeats itself over and over.

    “America needs to grow up. The young people who are rioting and destroying property, who have no respect for elders and freedom of speech, I was so proud to become a citizen of this country.”

    “Professors shouldn’t be telling their students to go after freedom of speech. They should be telling them that this is the greatest country in the world.

    The demonstrators can’t tell you why they’re demonstrating. I’m not a Republican. I’m not a Democrat. I just want the country to be at peace.

    I see what is happening here reflecting some of the things we saw in Germany, and it’s terrifying. It’s sad. But it’s not because of Trump. It’s because of poor education.

    Trump is not like Hitler. The theory that he is is propaganda. Yes, I lived through some of Nazi Germany, but all you have to do is read some books about that period to see how wrong that theory is.”

    http://ijr.com/2017/02/797086-youve-heard-people-compare-trump-to-hitler-so-we-asked-a-woman-who-was-born-in-nazi-germany/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

  4. I’ve considered this post further since originally reading it, and I think I’ve decided my opinion on Mitt Romney and John McCain’s campaigns is this:

    THE SKY WAS FALLING! For eight years Obama strained to just barely hold the sky slightly above our heads, and with him gone it’s finally allowed to crash into the Earth.

    Trump is not isolated from the election history of the GOP, he is it’s logical conclusion.

    The fact that you consider Pence a “mainstream Republican” underscores this. The man believes in torturing gay kids! In any decent society he would be shunned, not elected.

    So, now all that’s left is to try to dig ourselves out from the rubble, and hope the GOP doesn’t bring the sky down on our heads AGAIN before we can rebuild.

    Of note, an anarcho-capitalist friend of mine is seriously rethinking her position on government, now that she’s getting a glimpse of what it actually looks like when the government is dismantled. I had the “joy” of explaining to her that, thanks to Trump, you now have to file a freedom of information act to find out if a pet breeder has a history of abuse, it will soon be legal to sell poisoned dog food (because screw the animals), and your financial advisors can once again lie to you for their own financial gain.