Who is looking smart now?
Clinton and all the smart people – wonks, strategists and pundits – have been completely beclowned by Donald Trump, who Scott Adams called the “clown genius.”
Consider the following by a Princeton PhD:
There’s been buzz about the Princeton Election Consortium’s win probability for Clinton, which for some time has been in the 98-99% range. Tonight let me walk everyone through how we arrive at this level of confidence. tl;dr: With a more conservative assumption (see discussion) the PEC approach gives a probability of more like 95%. I will also give a caveat on how it is difficult to estimate win probabilities above 90% – and why fine adjustments at this level might not matter for my goals in running this site.
An obvious contrast with PEC’s calculation is the FiveThirtyEight win probability, which has been in the 60-70% range. As a prominent outlier this season, FiveThirtyEight has come under fire for their lack of certainty. Its founder, Nate Silver, has fired back.
A reasonable probability was that this Princeton fella was smoking crack.
After watching Trump’s speech about Islam, his first republican debate and reading his strong early poll numbers, I was intuitively certain -right then and there -that he would win the nomination.
With any American Presidential election, I would estimate the probability of each candidate winning to be roughly 50/50.
As for Trump V Clinton, my intuition was that the race would be close, but I expected Hillary to win because that was the conservative, “safe option” given all the “information.” My estimate was 60/40 Clinton. As the election went on, I said 55/45 Clinton.
When the election entered its final stage, my intuition (“gut feeling”) was that Trump was going to win; my more “rational” (explicit reasoning) side still expected a narrow Clinton win, however.
In retrospect, however, I realise that my explicit reasoning was driven by highly unreliable information derived from the media; the polls can no longer be trusted. I already had this belief going into the election, since I was aware of the polls being wrong about the 2015 British General Election and the Brexit vote; furthermore, as Peter Hitchens rightly claims, opinion polls can be tailored to whatever outcome you want. Habits are tricky thing to kick though.
The central fact to be examined in this post, however, was the fact that all these smart people are so thoroughly, and so dangerously, detached from reality.
Smoking crack in other words.
Andrew Sullivan seems to be having some kind of nervous breakdown and thinks Donald Trump is just mad and delusional.
Jerry Coyne – a very smart man – thinks Sullivan is delusional (and mad) because Sullivan believes in Jesus. I think they are both mad. That is, I think both of these very smart men are systematically confused about the nature of political reality. These guys are as confused about politics as creationists are about evolution; now, like creationists, because their world-view is getting trampled on by reality, and they-are-mighty-angry.Trump is not mad, he is a master persuader. The fact that Trump triumphed throws Sullivan’s and Coyne’s self-identity as rational men into question. Bit like Ben Affleck really.
The Clowns and the Circus.
In this part and the next we are going after the five star clowns in the circus.
Politics and war exist along continuum.
Politics and war exist in a fog of epistemic doubt and informational uncertainty. Feynman’s first principle of science (don’t fool yourself because you are the easiest person to fool) could easily be the first principle in war as well. The big difference between science and war is that getting it wrong, fooling oneself, has lethal, sometimes catastrophic consequences.
The same is true in politics.
Clinton, her team, nearly all of the entire Cathedral, and virtually all of Priests have proven to be, from even their own self-interested viewpoint, catastrophically wrong.
What else have they gotten wrong?
Is there a pattern at work?
Karl Rove, a head honcho of the Bush administration, in the run up to the Iraq invasion was smoking crack:
The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.
President Obama was smoking crack:
I am not against the notion that Islam is in some way different than other faith traditions. I argue in my new book that Islam is “exceptional” in how it relates to politics, and that this has profound implications for the future of the Middle East. But this is not quite the same thing as viewing “Islamic exceptionalism” as something bad, unusual, or at odds with history. Being the liberal determinist that he is, Obama, like so many others, seems frustrated by both Islam and Muslims. Why can’t they just get their act together and stop being such a nuisance, distracting me from dealing with “emotionally contained” technocrats in Asia? This was a sentiment I noticed more and more after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January 2015: the desire, sometimes a demand, to see Muslims embrace liberalism, and an anger that many simply won’t. Too many Muslims, it seemed, were intent on defying the arc of history.
The “arc of history“? How does that differ from the religious belief that God providentially guides human affairs? The belief (faith?) that history has a meaning, that there is a purpose, and a clear direction to history, is, of course, a belief that came from Christianity. Islam, unsurprisingly, has similar beliefs. Is this not disturbing? How would it feel to know that the State Department is staffed by Scientologists?
The assumptions about freedom and democracy didn’t seem to turn out to well in the Obama as it did in the Bush one.
Then there is Hilary Clinton. I assume one thing about Clinton: she wanted to win.
Clinton was billed as smart, experienced and capable.
In fact, she was seen as more than a President: she was a goddess, and would have been the bestest leader in history.
It’s hard to tell if the following is (slightly) satirical, but here is Clinton supporter, Virginia Heffernan, writing in Lenny Letter about “Athena”:
“She will be the finest world leader our galaxy has ever seen.”
Except she won’t.
And I’m not alone in my commitment. Millions of Clinton’s supporters — we were thanked by Clinton as the “secret, private Facebook sites” — expressed it among themselves, all the time, in raptures or happy tears with each new display of our heroine’s ferocious intelligence, depth, and courage. We were frankly bewildered by the idea that anyone would hedge their commitment to her (“You don’t have to be her friend”; “Yes, she’s made mistakes”; “lesser of two evils”).
Chairman Mao and Hitler also had their fans crying over them; they also made “mistakes”; they also had people killed and enjoyed doing so:
Maybe she is an idea, a world-historical heroine, light itself. The presidency is too small for her. She belongs to a much more elite class of Americans, the more-than-presidents. Neil Armstrong, Martin Luther King Jr., Alexander Fucking Hamilton.
If Clinton stands for any idea it is one of delusional failure.
Hillary Clinton did everything right in this campaign, and she won more votes than her opponent did. She won. She cannot be faulted, criticized, or analyzed for even one more second. Instead, she will be decorated as an epochal heroine far too extraordinary to be contained by the mere White House. Let that revolting president-elect be Millard Fillmore or Herbert Hoover or whatever. Hillary is Athena.
Hilary is a has-been because she-did-everything-wrong.
But anyway, enough of this silliness.
Our key lesson here is Clinton’s and her staff’s delusion and their arrogant overconfidence — just like all the rest of the Communist Clowns.
“Clinton’s loss at the hands of Donald Trump amounted to the most surprising outcome in the history of modern electoral politics.”
“”We are pissed at them and state parties are pissed at them because they lost due to arrogance,” a top DNC staffer tells U.S. News, sharing the candid sentiment suffusing the high levels of the committee in exchange for anonymity.””
Insular, self-assured and presumptuous:
“It’s no surprise that the hierarchy of the Clinton campaign leadership was insular and self-assured. But DNC staffers say the team’s presumptuous, know-it-all attitude caused it to ignore early warning signs of electoral trouble inside the states, and demoralized DNC staff who felt largely marginalized or altogether neglected for most of the campaign.”
I find the use of that term presumptuous interesting. By way of the Jew who is yet to be discovered, we have a description of the character of the leftist and their effects upon society from none other than arch reactionary and the absolute enemy of the French Revolution: Prince Metternich:
Having now thrown a rapid glance over the first causes of the present state of society, it is necessary to point out in a more particular manner the evil which threatens to deprive it, at one blow, of the real blessings, the fruits of genuine civilisation, and to disturb it in the midst of its enjoyments. This evil may be described in one word — presumption ; the natural effect of the rapid progression of the human mind towards the perfecting of so many things. This it is which at the present day leads so many individuals astray, for it has become an almost universal sentiment.
Presumption certainly led Clinton, her team and her supporters, to the most humiliating election upset in American history.
The Prince continues:
Religion, morality, legislation, economy, politics, administration, all have become common and accessible to everyone. Knowledge seems to come by inspiration ; experience has no value for the presumptuous man ; faith is nothing to him ; he substitutes for it a pretended individual conviction, and to arrive at this conviction dispenses with all inquiry and with all study ;
The next part is fascinating:
….for these means appear too trivial to a mind which believes itself strong enough to embrace at one glance all questions and all facts. Laws have no value for him, because he has not contributed to make them, and it would be beneath a man of his parts to recognise the limits traced by rude and ignorant generations. Power resides in himself; why should he submit himself to that which was only useful for the man deprived of light and knowledge ?
Recall how Virginia Heffernan described Clinton?
“Maybe she is an idea, a world-historical heroine, light itself. The presidency is too small for her.”
Because Clinton was “light itself” she clearly had no need of law.
Here is the case against Clinton:
Hillary Clinton is a law unto herself:
Presumption makes every man the guide of his own belief, the arbiter of laws according to which he is pleased to govern himself, or to allow some one else to govern him and his neighbours ; it makes him, in short, the sole judge of his own faith, his own actions, and the principles according to which he guides them.
Prince Metternich says the following about leftism and nationalism:
“Is it necessary to give a proof of this last fact ? We think we have furnished it in remarking that one of the sentiments most natural to man, that of nationality, is erased from the Liberal catechism, and that where the word is still employed, it is used by the heads of the party as a pretext to enchain Governments, or as a lever to bring about destruction. The real aim of the idealists of the party is religious and political fusion, and this being analysed is nothing else but creating in favour of each individual an existence entirely independent of all authority, or of any other will than his own, an idea absurd and contrary to the nature of man, and incompatible with the needs of human society.”
Hillary Clinton and the rest of the establishment: The Polygon and the Cathedral wants to abolish America:
In England, another Communist Clown hates not only the flag of England but its people.
Angela Merkel has the exact same attitude regarding flags:
Michael Totten notes that this attitude of contempt over national symbols, such as flags, is all over the new generation as well.
This contempt by the political elite for their own country, and the people who live in it, is international, multi-generational and deeply embedded.
It also blinds them to the needs, values and aspirations of these voters and they can and will vote – as Clinton found out to her cost.
For example, Clinton and her team were apparently warned about Michigan and other states:
Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s policy director—a brainy and nervous former State Department aide who took on an increasingly important political role as the campaign ground on—was the only one in Clinton’s inner circle who kept saying she would likely lose, despite the sanguine polling,” Thrush says, citing Sullivan’s friends. “He was also the only one of the dozen aides who dialed in for Clinton’s daily scheduling call who kept on asking if it wasn’t a good idea for her to spend more time in the Midwestern swing states in the closing days of the campaign.
But the rest of Clinton’s campaign ignored Sullivan, with his warnings being dismissed so quickly, they weren’t even substantively considered.
They spent far more time debating whether or not Clinton should visit Texas and Arizona, two states they knew she had little chance of winning, in order to get good press,” Thrush says. Just a week before Election Day, Clinton made a campaign stop in Tempe, Arizona.
In the end, though, Sullivan was vindicated entirely. Clinton’s “Blue Wall” in the Rust Belt crumbled, and she suffered shocking defeats in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin by a combined margin of less than 100,000 votes. Had she won all three, she would have been the president-elect. In the case of Wisconsin, she lost narrowly after not bothering to visit the state a single time during the general election campaign.
Donald Trump “shattered” the “Blue Wall”
Clinton and her team, unlike Trump, failed because of an over-reliance on models, numbers and analysts — scientism — and not enough on common sense:
“But it was all about analytics with them,” the DNC source says. “They were too reliant on analytics and not enough on instinct and human intel from the ground.”
(As the Mises school teach about entrepreneurs, they go beyond reliance on numbers and what can be measured to things like imagination, creativity, intuition and insight — exactly how Trump works.)
But in the weeks since, the wealthy Democrats who helped pump over $1 billion into Clinton’s losing effort have been urging their local finance staffers, state party officials, and campaign aides to provide a more thorough explanation of what went wrong. With no dispassionate, centralized analysis of how Clinton failed so spectacularly, they insist, how can they be expected to keep contributing to the party?
A lot of the bundlers and donors still are in shock and disbelief by what happened. They’re looking for some introspection and analysis about what really happened, what worked and what didn’t,” said Ken Martin, chairman of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and a top campaign bundler himself. “It may take some time to do that, but people are still just scratching their heads.
1 billion dollars’ worth of crack.
Arrogance and incompetence:
But there also were millions approved for transfer from Clinton’s campaign for use by the DNC — which, under a plan devised by Brazile to drum up urban turnout out of fear that Trump would win the popular vote while losing the electoral vote, got dumped into Chicago and New Orleans, far from anywhere that would have made a difference in the election.
Nor did Brooklyn ask for help from some people who’d been expecting the call. Sanders threw himself into campaign appearances for Clinton throughout the fall, but familiar sources say the campaign never asked the Vermont senator’s campaign aides for help thinking through Michigan, Wisconsin or anywhere else where he had run strong.
The leadership sailed straight into the iceberg despite all the warning:
Politico spoke to a dozen officials working on or with Clinton’s Michigan campaign, and more than a dozen scattered among other battleground states, her Brooklyn headquarters and in Washington who describe an ongoing fight about campaign tactics, an inability to get top leadership to change course.
“The anecdotes are different but the narrative is the same across battlegrounds …”
The campaigns epitaph:
They believed they were more experienced, which they were. They believed they were smarter, which they weren’t,” said Donnie Fowler, who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee during the final months of the campaign. “They believed they had better information, which they didn’t.
Not experienced, not smart and not informed. If Clinton and her Clown Circus, and by extension, the entire Priestly caste are this uninformed, how they be trusted with global leadership?
Hillary, her team and her supporters were suffering cognitive bubbles, from groupthink.
Richard Fernandez commenting on the collapse of Clinton:
But groupthink has advantages. For one it allows organizations to implement swarming tactics. People are attracted to such organizations because in exchange for submission it offers apparent power. It is no coincidence that Hillary’s slogan of “stronger together” sounds like the “democratic centralism” of Lenin’s day. It’s essentially the same thing. Submit to the group and you will be part of an irresistible movement. Alone you are weak but as part of a swarm directed by a single mind you can overcome anything.
It has weaknesses too. The problem with swarms is their collective fate is tied to the network. Once the network is disrupted, hacked or collapses the whole swarm will fall apart or worse, commit collective suicide. The fate of the swarm is reliant on the signal which binds it.
What could go wrong? The signal.
This is the power of the evil meme. Groupthink periodically sweeps through history driving people mad, making killers and idiots. The 20th century was punctuated with such events and one should have learned that “stronger together” ideologies can have their own self-destruct code where last line sets the created objects to nothing. If that doesn’t happen someone like Putin can come along and do it for you. The reason freedom, and to a certain extent chaos are valuable is they prevent the plaque of groupthink from forming. They are jam-resistant.
How do the progressives escape stupidity? By smashing the system of talking points, groupthink and intellectual rigidity that create it. Hillary had twice Trumps money and couldn’t find the coconut on Coconut Island. She lived by the Narrative and fell by it.
The following from Fernandez is critical. Assuming that Clinton wanted to win, she lost because her information and her judgement was corrupted:
When the best informed establishment figures wreck their careers by relying on “real news” it raises the possibility that public policy and economic management is based upon a information corrupted by years of political manipulation. It would be like an airline pilot realizing, as he is hurtling down the runway, that the view through the windshield was a matte painting and not real. That means the world could potentially be flying blind with jagged terrain just beneath it without anyone knowing how close it is because we have filtered it out.
That is intolerably dangerous. The facts are necessary for safety. They are necessary for survival. We must learn how to face the truth again and calculate upon it, however hard and ugly it may be. No more Narratives. Never again should we have Narratives, either of the Left or Right variety.
Napoleon had a rule: good news can wait, but bad news must be brought to his attention at once. Napoleon also had a maxim that one must be able to anticipate dangers from the front, left, right and the rear.
The key lessons here is that one simply cannot afford to lose contact with reality — no matter how unwelcome that reality is; secondly, one must try to anticipate and be prepared for threats and dangers from all directions.
Politics and war is a continuum, information exists in a fog of doubt, confusion and deception. One must have the cognitive ability to not only understand this but to live it.
One must make explicit one’s operational assumptions; delineate one’s cognitive horizons (intellectual bubbles); seek out contradictions and ugly facts that pierce one’s epistemic bubble.
A leader must not only encourage but require and reward those who bring forth contradictions, ugly facts and bad news and challenge basic assumptions.
In the next part, we will look at the global circus.