« Making Sense with Sam Harris

#87 — Triggered

2017-07-19 | 🔗

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris and Scott Adams debate the character and competence of President Trump.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Today, I am speaking to Scott Adams. Scott was the most requested defender of commander in chief. He quite happily was going to come on the podcast and we had A very civil and enjoyable conversation, anyone was triggered, it was me I would Scott certainly sounded like the meditator. I am perpetually triggered by our press but I really enjoyed it and I'll. Let you the judge of whether Scott answered all the questions I I put to him. I think there were moments where he might Matais me an I just moved on to other topics, but anyway, thank you. Skype for coming on. It was a worthy experiment to try to talk about all this Scott. If you don't know him, though many of you surely do, is the creator of Dilbert one of the most popular comic strips
all time and he's done this full time since one thousand nine hundred and ninety before that he worked for sixteen years at various companies from which he his mind all this material for Dilbert and he's written best selling books about Dilbert and all his cartoons have been wrapped up, but he's also written a book that I have been reading it, which we really didn't talk about well in this interview how to fail. Almost everything and still win big, and this is a book that is filled with life advice and it is good advice and so far as I read it, far and here's another book coming out, which really is the substance of our conversation, book is, is not out yet it will be out in October. You can pre order it Amazon that I win bigly. Asian in a world where facts don't matter and
Scott and I gave it a good hard try to converge on questions about persuasion with respect to Trump and just how much facts matter. We probably have a different view of some crucial facts. I think we care about things or at wait our preferences a little differently here. It's hard for me to explain or honestly how we still see the situation is differently. As we appear, but it's really was an attempt on my part. To see the world through the eyes of someone who is a trump supporter, at least to the degree that Scotty and again even that isn't totally clear to me. I may have been hypnotized Scott, so listen fun and I hope you enjoy it. I now give you Scott at
I, here with Scott Adams, Scott thanks for coming on the podcast. Thank you for having me now. You are a very interesting guy who has written a very interesting book that I will have properly scribed in the intro to the show an aisle link to it on my website. Obviously, and people can get it there- we're not really going to get into your life or or other work unless it becomes relevant to the political, session we're planning to have. But I'll just tell listeners that that I've been reading your book that the title is how to fail at almost everything and still win big, and it's very interesting is very, is that this is very useful and and surprise in and our conversation will not do it justice at all today, but I encourage people to get the book, because you give a lot of good advice about how to get what you want out of life, I haven't finished it yet, but it's thus far advice that I agree with
just want to keep some praise on you before we move on to other topics. Thank you. Let me just put some context on that. The book you're talking about is essentially how to program yourself to be more successful in whatever way you want, but the new one that's already available for pre order is about how to persuade other people. It's called win, bigly and he'll be out in October, of course, that now that is a book, I'm sure we will be getting some review of, this conversation is. That obviously relates to what we're going to be talking about. And I will put a link to that. As well on my blog Ok, so let me just set up this conversation so that everyone understands the context as our listeners will be quite aware. I've been attacking Trump really since before the election, so safe to say: I'm not a fan, I'm sure I'll have some more important things to say about El Presidente over the course of the next hour, but I've think
one hundred fair amount of criticism from people in my audience who, like Trump or at the very least, feel that he was the best. Toys we had for president in twenty sixteen and many of these I have been complaining that I've created an echo chamber here on the podcast, because I've only been talking to Trump's detractors. I certainly can see how they might think that I you know, although I pointed out that the people I've been speaking with who trump had been Republicans for the most part. So the idea that these conversations have been an expression of political partisanship. Doesn't any sense? There's this really zero partisanship coming from someone like David from or or Anne Applebaum or me for that matter on this topic, because you know, for instance, none of what I've said about trump- would apply. Mitt Romney, and I've also never been shy about pointing out all the terrible things about Hillary Clinton. So if it's been, an echo chamber, it hasn't been a left wing one, but in the
I have been asking trump supporters for months who should bring on the podcast to represent the other side of the story and to help me recover from this much diagnosed trump derangement syndrome, which many people I have I and I appear to have a whopping case of it and you the person who has been most often recommended to me. So I just would congratulate you on that score. Well, thank you. There's a lot of pressure on me but ok, so I want to say one other thing at the outset just to set the table here, because I haven't seen a few crazy the comments online. From obviously Trump supporters, anticipating this podcast and wondering whether or not I would be fair to you, and so I just wanna tell you how I view conversations like this and and also tell our listeners, and I'm I'm telling you now something that I that I tell most of our gay Yes, I don't think I've ever left. It
in an interview- and I this is certainly something I tell any guest with whom I'm likely to disagree. I don't do gotcha My goal is never to Get you to say something that makes you look bad. In fact, if it any point in this conversation, you put your foot in your mouth or I put my foot in there. You should You take it out and will cut that part out, and this this could apply to a whole section of the conversation. So, if we get on to a topic, five minutes and then you say at the end, you know you know what the whole bit we just did on racism or whatever I'm worried about how that's going to make me look. Well then we'll just cut it, so you know we can add it as we go if need be big my goal is always and again this doesn't just apply to use, applies to anyone who comes on this podcast the goal is always to be dealing with the best version of the other person's case. I want you to be happy with what you said on the podcast. The opposite of gotcha interview, and I don't think many people
I understand that and having been on the other side of literally hundreds of interviews at this point, as I know you have, I think we both can say that almost no one operates this way. Journalists deliver they don't because they want to reserve the right to catch. You saying something: embarrassing misses completely perverse. Ethically That seems to have been enshrined in journalism where, if you say something is off the record before you say it. Well then It will generally keep it off the record, but if you say that about something you regret saying just two seconds ago, something that didn't come out right. Then they won't. Let you take it off the record after the fact this is always struck me a less than ethical. Way to deal with people and their ideas yeah. I agree, but wouldn't worry about me because, like you, I've done a few of these yeah. Yeah. I just want you to know that I want our listeners to know that. I guess the other thing I should say
set Up- is that while I think you- and I will disagree about a lot here- I don't. Do this as a debate, I mean I consider myself genuinely datable on certain points and genuinely ignorant of other points, now it's true that there's some things where I don't really see how you could conceive We change my mind. I mean, if you're going to argue that Trump doesn't for instance, that's going to be a very difficult thing to sell to me, but I ig only count myself. Ignorance of how people find him appealing. So I I've you part of your job in this convo. Asian as really a, educating me on how that is possible. I guess to start, to do- is just to have you clearly state what your view is of trump because it been entirely clear to me how much you actually support him I'm just admiring his talent as a persuader, much of what I've seen you say about him is more
the vein of explaining how Trump got elected and it's not really an argument that his election was a good thing or that he's a good person or that he's likely to be a good president. So just what is your view of trump at this point? Well, I should Tell your listeners first of all, though I have a background as a trained hypnotist and I've been studying the field of persuasion. All of my adult life Part of my job is part of what a writer does part of what a cartoonist needs so when I saw a trump entered the race. I noticed fairly quickly. He had the strongest set of persuasion, skills. I've ever seen. He has what I call a skill stack. A com. Elementary set of skills, that if you looked at any one of those skills, you'd say well, that's good! That's better than most people that's not in the world class particular special skill, but when you put him together, their insanely effective with you know, as we can say because he's president,
he made it, you know against all odds and My view on the politics of it is that my political pressure this didn't align with either side in the election. So I consider myself an ultra liberal on social stuff meaning that even liberals don't recognize me because I'm liberal than liberals, I could give you some examples of that to fill that, if you want and then on the big stuff, you know the international stuff that you had it. How do you beat ISIS and what's the best to do with North Korea. My view is that none of us really know the answer to that is we don't have the information that government would have, and we don't have the full context that they have so generally I don't have a firm position on the big international stuff and on the small local stuff, the domestic stuff.
I'm in favor of people doing whatever they want to do as long as it doesn't affect me, so again. I I should say that I haven't seen everything or read everything you said on this topic. I have add some of your blog posts and I've seen some of your periscope videos, which have been doing regularly about Trump, but it seems to me that you are sort of having it both ways here, because you seem to delight in his ability to get away with doing at least questionable things I mean, I would say bad things, but it was certainly dishonest things because you admire his talent as a persuader, but to my eye very quickly begins to seem like a defense of the bad things he's doing or at least a denial that they are bad or or denial that he's doing any harm to our civil discourse into our politics by lying to the degree that he does so where to where does your appreciation of the artistry grade? into actually thinking. He is good
an liable to do good things. The way I like to frame it is that I'm helping people You see him clearly without the filter that the opposition is putting on him 'cause. He has a set of skills and talent that we've never seen before meaning that nothing like this has ever bent in the political realm that we seen so what he can do is probably different from what a regular politician can do both on the upside and the downside. I would think so. I'm not you know, I'm not discounting that there's greater risk with the President Trump than a some vanilla president, but I think his supporters have said explicitly and often will take. The risk will take the chaos. That's the price of change, so there's a lot
that that is supporters, except- and I see my my role in this as clarifying and if they like that choice of that's a risk profile that they appreciate that at least like to see a little more clearly. Now, let me let me speak about the the the lying part, because it, I think, that's probably central to your problem. What would you say that's true, yeah yeah. So here's how I frame that it is unambiguously true and it is clear to both his supporters and his critics that he says things fairly frequently that do not pass the faction, And you would agree with that right so we're I think, we're starting from the same factual starting it understates it for me, but yes, that I'm with you now. Obviously, obviously his supporters would say well that one thing you said wasn't so wrong. You know so there'd be lots of disagreement in the grey areas, but there's no question:
that there are a lot of things. He said that don't pass the fact checking and everybody agrees with that. Here's the part that I put on top of this- that I think is helpful when, when you understand persuasion at the level that he does and that the level that I've come to understand it through my own work over the years. But the truth is not is not as useful as I guess. That's the best way to put it it's not as useful as it should be, because it doesn't change people's minds and the job of politics is often to change people's minds, their hearts, their emotions, what they care about, what their priorities are. So if you, if you were to look at the
types of things that the president has said that didn't pass the fact checking and that's the way I am going to prefer to say it is that they are almost always emotionally true or they are emotionally compatible with what his his supporters they're already thinking. So there is an emotional and directional truth to what he does: that's independent from the facts being completely wrong, so, for example, when he said oh there were Muslims, dance, then, on the rooftops are in the streets after nine hundred and eleven that does not fat pass, the fact checkers but it is unambiguously true that his support wasn't even his critics would say. I'm a little concerned that there's some people in the muslim faith were
that is unhappy about nine hundred and eleven as they should have been, so, in other words, what he said was technically specifically factually incorrect. As far as we can tell you unless something new comes around, but it's still fit if it were thinking, if it, the general truth that we all accept is probably true- and I would think you would accept that as well- and what you see in persuasion is something called pacing and leading, and it's a very important concept in persuasion. The pacing part is where you become compatible with the other person or persons you're trying influence your trying to match them in some way. That's important and if you match them long enough called pacing. Eventually they will let you lead, because you are. None of them they're comfortable with you. They agree with you they.
The same way. You feel they trust you. They trust you emotionally and that's the way people need to trust you. His trusting somebody factually is is sort of a and non starter. It doesn't help that much right, but trust sing. Somebody emotionally says yeah. I can let you do things that even I don't think are right, but I know that you're heading in the right direction. I trust that you have more information and then I do. I trust it. If you have to pivot 'cause, it doesn't workout you'll. Do that as you and I are emotionally on the same page, we won generally the same thing Similarly with take immigration and one of the things that President Trump and before that candidate Trump was saying that was emotionally compatible with a lot of people is hey there there's an immigration issue. It brings with it
some amount of crime that we wish we didn't have in it brings with it some risk of of terrorist slipping, in which we wish. We didn't have and those things scare us and we would like to have less of it now. That's the emotional truth that is common to both sides of the conversation right that everybody would like less of those things now the way he does it, of course, with his typical hyperbole of coming in the biggest first offer you have ever seen, which is I'm going to ship back. You know what was it twelve million people who are undocumented in this country, I don't know when you heard it and when people on the other side heard it they quite reasonable. He said holy hell there's no way you can do that. First of all, it would be cruel. Second of all, it would be. You know it would cause riots in the streets. It would cause a civil war. Practically I mean this such a big hard to do it.
Bad thing, but when I heard it I said to myself and I said publicly a lot of times: he doesn't mean that he's he's taking a big first. That gives him lots of room to negotiate back so now as we watch him as president and what doing is doing is, I guess, ices rounding up a lot of people who have committed crimes wall in the country. You know, after coming into the country they committed addition, crimes, and probably there are some cases I think, almost shortly some cases where ice, let's say breaks down the door and there's a room full of people, and three of them have been in a serious gang. In violence situations. So, of course, you want to deport those guys, but there's a couple guys or just members of the gang who you don't have any proof they did anything that was another additional crime but what are they doing in the room? So let's say those two guys get shipped back to, because
just sort of in that gray area and they're they're so deeply into the gray either. You know dark gray. Well, you don't have any proof that when people see that story- and I'm sure that kind of story is gonna, be your trickling out in different ways- yeah and and people compare that they contrasted to what they imagined could have happened, which is your twelve billion people around, it up and shipped over and they say to themselves. Well, I wish we wouldn't charge the poor people who we haven't seen for sure committed additional crime, but that's not so bad compared to what I thought was going to happen. So you see that process in a number of ways. You saw that when he he talked about fighting Isas, he said we're going to go back to water boarding and maybe will kill the families of the of the terrorists, and a lot of people said,
Oh, my god, you can't do that. That's going too far. There are lots of plenty of good practical reasons why you don't do those things that he became president, and what did you do? He got the tough on ISIS and I would argue that up civilian casualties probably have gone up because of that extra toughness. But we're not you know we're not we're not seeing the big. I don't cry because he's been successful, apparently against ISIS on the battlefield. So we see this pattern which he is broadcasted for decades. He actually wrote a book on it, the art of the deal in which she talks explicitly about using hyperbole. You know another words, things that don't pass the fact
checking and making big first offers to give him lots of room to negotiate for the middle, so that the thing that his supporters believed that his critics do not is that he is emotionally and intellectually on their side and that he will work out the details when he needs to. So that's what his supporters believe and I think we see the pretty unbroken pattern of exactly that happen. Anne. I predicted this pattern. You know long before he even got nominated, because he has that skill set. He repeated that pattern often, and it was the only rational thing that I could say unless he was you know, unless you imagined he was actually literally insane. It was the only thing I could imagine would happen and sure enough. It's uh
you know, just as I predicted. Okay. Well, there's a lot in there. That strikes me is fairly strange, ethically for instance, this idea that is making this first offer. That is extreme that then he walks back to something more reasonable and that this is a technique for which he pay no penalty, is just an unambiguously good technique that his fans recognize a let let let me get I would never say he doesn't pay a penalty. This is a technique which absolutely biased design has a penalty, so in other words, he's saying this is going to cost it's. The fact checkers are going to be over Mean blah blah blah, but I'm going to do it anyway, emphasizing something else here: it's not so much the line, part or the failing the reality. Testing it's more like, if I'm going to
a to you. You know what I think we should do. I mean just a let's just say this on the podcast. You know, I think we should round up those twelve. No and people into port them. If I commit to that position. That's my position! Well, when you fact that position that commits me, two things which I really must have thought about, or at least it and pretending to have thought about which are fairly on ethical manner. They get gets much worse than what you describe is not just the the a gang member or they very close to being a gang member who gets deported along with the convicted killer. It's the the mom of an eight year old kid is an american citizen right, you know, so you have these. Just families broken apart, and so, if I'm going to pretend to yes, so callous as to happily absorb those facts like yeah send 'em all back. You know they don't belong here in the first place or if I'm going to take nicest case, I'm gonna say yeah, they will torture, their kids will kill their kids, doesn't matter whatever works right. If that's my
opening negotiation, I am advertising a level of callousness and uh level of unconcerned for the reality of human suffering. All around me that will follow up on my actions that we should. I get what I ostensibly want like in in these two cases a nearly psychopathic ethics that I'm advertising as my strong suit right. So how this becomes a attract, to people how this resonates their values, and I get what you said about people are worried about immigration, they're, worried about jihadism. You know I I'm. I share those concerns, but when you call almost the line into this opening overture that has these stream consequences on its face, and you don't have to think deeply about this right. These are these are the things that get pointed out in thirty seconds whenever he opens his mouth on a topic like this, I don't know, and how that work, for him with anyone. Let me, let me give you a little thought experiment here. We've got
people are on the far right. We've got people on the left in your perfect world. Would it be better to move people who were on the far right toward the middle or the people on the far left toward the middle, which which would be a preferred world you well. I don't know now now things have gotten so crazy on the left that that that is actually genuinely hard question to answer, but I I I think you know moving everyone toward the middle, certainly on most points would be a very good thing, so that you've observed with President Trump through his pain sing. An emotional compatibility with his base is that, prior to to inaugurate, Today there were a lot of people in this country who were saying yeah yeah around the ball up, send all twelve million back tomorrow when The last time you heard anybody on the right complaining about that, because what happened was
immigration went down fifty to seventy percent or whatever. The number is just based on the fact that we would get tough on immigration and the right says. Oh okay, you know we didn't get nearly what we asked for, but our leader, who we trust, who we love, has backed off of that and we're going to kind of go with that because he's doing some good things that we like and we don't like the alternative either. So this this monster that we elected this this this Hitler dictator crazy Guy, he managed to be the only person. You could have- and I would argue always intended to move the far right toward the middle you. What you saw it right, yeah. We can observe it with our own eyes. We don't see the right thing. No, no! I hate President Trump he's got to round up there, undocumented people, like you, said early in the campaign or outside I'm bailing on him. None of that happened. He paste them and then he led them. Tour dates.
Is, a bowl of situation, which I would say we're in well, I I don't know that I would notice if they were complaining about it. I I got. I think I'm in kind of an echo chamber, but you what you might notice it more than I would I pride issue. I would notice it because, I'm totally, you know, I've got one for the bulls sides and, and the number of people who are talking about that even just talking about rounding up everybody in sending it back just stopped, is completely done and by the way that that's a big deal I mean he, he brought a lot of people to his position again, whether that was his intent or, in fact, the effect of his actions, I don't know. I mean, there's so much other chaos for people to be complaining about and and worrying about, but I take elated point here which you could be making, which is that there is some. No it's going on there is. There is the fact that people will follow him onto terrain. That is quite different from the
and they claim to want to occupy and They they will, they will kind of run roughshod over their own stated principles and I'm noticing this with with you know, establishment republicans who once they grabbed his coat tails. It seems like that they will are willing to follow him anywhere even into something that looks like almost tree this level of fandom of of Vladimir Putin. And so what I'm sure we'll talk about that, but I want to before we continue this line, I want you to scribe. This analogy that you've made- which I think is very useful. If you you have this two different movies analogy- and I I just want to to put that in play for listeners, because I I think it's it's a good framing yeah. There are two concepts the people need to understand to have any idea what has happened in the past two years. One is confirmation, bias. I'm sure you've talked about this number times, on your podcast in which is the tendency for humans to see all evidence as supporting their side, even if it doesn't all right we're at work were
all in confirmation, bias pretty much all the time nobody is, and from that nobody's smart enough to see past is just the human condition. The other part that people have to understand is this thing called cognitive dissonance which I'm sure you've also has talked about, and that's the the idea that, if we, if our mind, is set toward a specific reality, especially if it involves our selves, you know some self image and then we find ourselves doing something or learning something the violates. What we're sure had to be true? We just re, interpret what we saw and then spun to closely create, essentially an illusion an imaginary world that explains all the things that wouldn't have been explained. Without that hallucination so what happened was on November eighth, two thousand and sixteen there were a handful of people, including me who saw things going just the way,
they imagine they would go now that creates no trigger for cognitive dissonance, because everything was consistent. I thought I was pretty smart. I thought I could predict what was going to happen. I did predict what was going to happen, but for a lot of the country they. They thought this was an impossible outcome. They bed in their echo chambers, and they saw There- was just no way. This could happen. People who have never even met a Trump supporter, much less imagined, he could be elected, they look but the polls they said it was nine thousand and ninety percent likely that Hillary Clinton would win and then the results didn't go. That way. That's a perfect trigger for cognitive dissonance, and I described that election as a Kog, distance cluster bomb and what it did was is split. The the United States and some extent the rest of the world into what I call to movies that are running simultaneously on one screen, so
imagine a world in the audience half of the audience is looking at the same screen that you and I are in half they were seen one movie and the other. After watching an entirely different movie in one of the movies we adjust just elected Hitler or something like it, and people were taking to the streets to say? Oh, my god, You know the world is going to be on fire and another half the country were saying: hey, we got a guy who is probably going to be pretty good on jobs and maybe you'll tighten up the borders, and you know do some business like systems in government that we like and that's all they saw and the other side, so something completely different and entirely different movie. Now I had predicted prior to the inauguration
because of that setup, which I could see coming from a mile away, that we would experience the following arc, we would first of all there would be huge protests, because people thought that some Hitler character had been elected, but after a few month of President Trump, acting like a normal president is using the normal mechanisms of power and is getting some stuff done and moderating his positions as presidents do that the Hitler illusion would start to dissipate and that it would eventually give way by summer. That was my prediction, and it has largely you know that the Hitler stuff is largely dissipated for lack of confirming evidence
and it was replaced with well he's, not Hitler, but he's definitely incompetent. He is so incompetent. There's chaos in the White House. They can't get anything done and I predicted that by the end of the summer he would in fact get things done, but but the criticisms don't stop, because that's just not the way it works. People don't change positions like that. They simply change the reasons that they oppose them and I predicted that the reasons would change from you know what you sent letter to you, some confidence to all right. You did get a lot of things done and they were the things he said he was going to get done and they they do match me a republican positions, but we don't like it all right. He is confident he does get things done, he's effective, but we don't like what he's doing so. I think that's where you, where it's going to be
your end and it seems to be heading that way. One thing I I want to point out, which is it just strikes me as a strange emphasis that I've heard from you here, but I've. I've also heard this is quite frequently from other trump supporters, so it it I just want to flag it. I don't know what if much turns on it, but so, for instance, your description of what created the cognitive dissonance you talk about. The failure of people who don't trump to predict that he would win the election. So everyone was just blindsided by the fact that he won, and this put them into this- movie theater. Where, they're, seeing just, civilization unravel For me, it was never a matter of being sure that Hillary Clinton was going to win. In fact, the last poll I looked at that I thought was actually informative. You have Trump twenty or twenty five percent chance of winning and I I am statistically educated. I know how often a twenty percent chance of winning comes up. It's not a probability. So it's not.
Surprise that is worth emphasizing here. It's the horror at the fact that we have elected someone. So usually wrong for the job. This two movies analysis still works, whether you looked at anything or whether anyone else predicted anything. Even if everyone thought it was, It was a horse race until the last second, and there was a fifty percent chance of either candidate winning I think you have the exact same outcome in terms of a repudiation of this of this choice that our our nation maple said. Let me ask you this at what point in the process. Did you decide that he was incompetent to be? President? that is a great question that is. I will I love that question that that is my favorite question ever asked of me on this broadcast. I guess we'll focus on the master persuader I because this here's, the movie I'm in right, You you've said that Trump is the grey. Is persuader you've ever seen
I think you actually wrote. I think I saw this on a blog post of yours, that you wrote that Steve Jobs was a ten trump is a fifteen. I think I have that right. Ok, so here's the movie I'm in, and this predates this election by at least a decade. I find Trump one of the least persuasive people on earth. Long before he ran for president. He struck me as, nothing more than an odious con man makes me as an absolutely despicable person. Well, wait a minute wait a minute. Can I can I get a clarify station. One hundred Dias con man. Did you mean that he is good at being a conning people or bad accounting people well, he was clearly con. In some people, I'm saying that he's not conning me and so the the the court, the question that the mismatch, let it get it can I interrupt you get to he was
running. Apparently, according to your frame of things in your prior to the election, it seems probably to you that he was conning enough people to do the things he needed to do, which was build buildings and keep it origin. I become a reality tv star and all this stuff yeah, but that was it. He was a reality tv star who had me. I I per I viewed him. Actually I viewed him. I mean it's been a lot of time, thinking about him, but I I assumed that most people, in on the joke right that he was a kind of punch line. It was a punchline, lived over the course of a profitable life, but he, It was not somebody who is, as he was billing himself to be a truly great businessman, or anything else said, there's important point, or that I don't want to lose by go short far past it at your your understanding of him at the time, was that he could con some people
Apparently it was enough of the right people. He was conning to use your word to effectively do the things he was trying to do with that. With that accurately state, well yeah, but the things he was trying to do or no relationship to become. President or becoming somebody who's actually shouldering significant responsibility. No, I agree but we're just talking about the tools of persuasion and what you just said. If, if I heard it right, Is that you even early on you, realize he had the tools of persuasion, which you would characterize as a con man just a different word for essentially the same set of tools. It has more to do with the. Attention, I guess, but the crucial difference here again, I'm not I'm just trying to describe what it's like to watch. Movie, as opposed to your movie or the movie watch by half the country. See that he must be persuading somebody and he fully persuaded half the country to become president. But there is never a moment where
I find him persuasive look at him. I see a man, I mean it, it's really uncanny. It's like it's. I see a man without any inner life. I see. I see the most superficial person on earth is there's a guy who's been told. The hollowed out by greed and self regard and delusion. I mean the the way he talks about himself is so it's like. I mean if I caught some sort of brain virus, and I started talking about myself the way Trump talks about himself. I would throw myself out of window I mean I have is is like I said that barely over status, I mean you remember that scene in that the end of the exorcist, where the priest find he's driving out the devil from Linda Blair and the devil comes into him, and then he just hurls him self out the window to end all the madness. Well, it would, like that right, yeah, yeah, we've gone.
Our system does not I'll tell you what is it? One of the things that I write about and periscope about is the triggers yeah or the tells for cognitive that distance. You know, how do you tell that you here in it versus somebody else is in it? Did I just give you one of my tails yeah you did the most the most classic one is to imagine that you can know somebody's inner mental processes So if you imagine that in his mind, he's thinking this or in his mind, he's hollowed out or in his mind, there's no depth mention that those are in there. I would say that is entirely imaginary and almost certainly itself well, no, it was not at all that glitters slot sure in the end, the trigger. So what I look for to for confirmation is there's gonna, be a trigger and then the second thing, which is the tell so I just described, to Tell- which is describing somebody's inner thoughts that you couldn't possibly now in no, I mean nobody could and the trigger you.
Also describe very clearly the trigger was there's something about his manner. The way he speaks that bugs the fuck out of you and that's your you're just misinterpreting a couple things here. It's not It's not the way he speaks, and it's not that I'm engaged in a mind, reading exercise it's based, Tirolian. What he says is that it is actually the thoughts that come out of his mouth. It's not how he says it it's what he said. But wait. You said two things that are in contradiction now you said that he's a con yeah and how he's has been, but that the things he said are a good reflection of what he's thinking you kinda have to pick one oh no, it's just that he is a a liar who will lie whenever it's his interest and even when it doesn't suit his interest, he will lie with a with a an alacrity that
I have never seen before in a public person. I think I think there are you have to break that into two categories: the things you're calling the lies maybe three there's some things which probably he thinks are right and he just gets wrong, which would be typical of any I will forgive him many of those things. Yes, there's some things which are clearly just hyperbole, which he knows are not exactly factual, but it works better. Make the big first offer and then there's another category which is the hardest for anybody to understand an and I'm not sure I'll, be able to sell this study buddy here. But if you are a trained persuader, we have such a low regard for some types of facts that you just don't care if they're right or wrong as they really aren't ever going to matter to the outcome they won't. Search of decisions, and they won't matter to the outcome. Now. I
I haven't been watching him through this filter now for a couple of years that he can definitely tell the difference between all those categories and that I haven't seen him tell the lie that that causes the can we'd be harmed in any way. They all seem to be either trivial and he just doesn't care- and you know, there's no point in apologizing 'cause, that's bad persuasion to in many cases, uh or or their emotionally correct. So there my filter on this- that he's actually a skilled persuader in he knows exactly what he's doing and those things which are clearly just mistakes tend to be trivial. That is what I used to predict the outcome that
that's exactly where we are an my starting point was everybody can can hind cast, everybody can say. Oh the way he won was here's. My reason, CNN listed. I think I don't twenty four different reasons why the surprising result of his election happened and they're all different reasons. So, as you know, confirmation bias, blah blah blah allows you to explain what happened in the past with any number of stories, and they all That's why we have trials and lawyers and all of their stories. Sound good jury has to sort But what I did early on honest. I said I'm so sure that these tools- are real and consistent, and he knows what he's doing that. I'm going to risk my entire fuckign karere to produce that he's going to win it all and when it big and not only did he win it. Big butt he won in the electoral college. He won the only way that it mattered. He play
the only game that they were playing and they want now people say well, he lost the popular vote and I would say, you're right, you do lose the game that he wasn't playing. He never played that game. So if you look at the predictions and if you see that they seem to be hitting the play the right notes. That is a little more persuasive than say. Well, I'm going to look at it in the past and apply these. You know twenty five different filters that all pretty much work. There are lots of differences explanations of how things work. In the past but sky, the emphasis on him successful. Persuading doesn't deal, with the fact that what he would be persuade meeting someone Tord or the country toward may not be a good thing I mean so, for instance, I think he is someone
who is so morbidly selfish and again? This is not me with a crystal ball. This is me just looking at how he's lived his life. The kinds of things he's done, the kinds of things he says about himself he's put himself. First to such pathological degree that I think he's capable of treason or something like treason without even noticing. There's there's no sense at all that he has the public good in mind when he's at So the fact that he's a good persuader, even if I were going to grant you that other is one thing I want to flag here that you just said that I I think is manifestly not true, which is none of his wise have harm our society. I think all of his wives have harmed our society I think the fact that we have a president who lies and everyone knows it and no one can really trust what He said until the facts come out.
I think done immense harm to the world. Frankly, in what, in what quantitative way is it would the stock with the stock market be at even higher? good levels. The stock market is, there is the wrong metric. Here I mean it well, would would would ISIS be reconstituting iffy if you've got a little more forthcoming with with North Korea? Have you not of launch that Leslie? but what exactly would be the evidence there's something he said has actually harmed the fabric of society. The fact, All of us are talking about politics. The fact that politics is so much a part of our lives now is talk I think it's a sign that something is wrong with our society. If things were good, we would not talking about politics and we're talking about politics ten times more than ever have in the lifetime of any person hearing this podcast. I could list
one hundred other bad things, but that's one symptom- is a very good thing and I'll tell you why. So, first of all, the going back to the two movies on one screen, the the people on the right. The people who were supporting Trump are having the best two years of their lives. I mean I have never seen such joy and happiness coming out of that segment of the public, but again that's it. That's an amoral claim. I mean you know that that would have. Instead of to take the extreme example, the bird and into the house, and for the thousand year Reich in in you know, nineteen thirty eight, I mean it's just like the the you you get nothing with that claim. Did you go full Hitler analogy? I want full Hitler analogy. Conscious of of how it would be received can can I declare of at this point. No, no, I think that's actually, let me was it that Godwin's law. I think it's a bad meme that we we have to quash somehow I I actually been. Writing I right. This is my new book that, when somebody retreats to and whether it's a Hitler analogy or not, it's as they've run out of reasons like
nobody uses an analogy if they have reason, there's a reason is what is way better than no no right. Well, okay, with that that that's interesting, I I think I disagree with that too. But well, let's move on the analogies are tools of communication, if you're not getting what I'm saying, but I know you'll get this other test case that I think is actually isomorphic with what talking about what then I go to the analogy: it's only bad if it's a bad analogy, but nothing interesting, no 'cause, all analogies are approximations by design. So you're not talking about the same topic yeah anyway. We could talk about it now do some more. So I agree that analogies are excellent for explaining the concept for the first time. So if you say, zero if you've never heard of this year. But it's like a horse, but imagine as and stripes on so on at the end of their their cases, were that it It gets me a long way to zebra yeah right, but it doesn't make a zebra horse right and never can right. So that's my only point so
back to the weather, it's bad that we're all talking about politics. I've actually been screaming, and talking blogging about this very point that we have collectively as a society learn more about each other than nature of truth. Reality persuasion in particular, you'll see lots of people talking now about cognitive, dissonance, confirmation, bias persuasion, these important concepts for people's happiness and understanding of their of their condition, that we've never had before and in fact, before the election. I had said several times in publicly that what Trump was going to do was not just change politics, which he did. I mean changed everything, but that he would rip a hole in the fabric of reality and let us peek through and that whole is or picking through right now, which is that two people can sit in the same theater, watching a different movie
and that there's a reason for it. We know what the reason is: is confirmation, bias, cognitive dissonance and that and that that's that understanding goes a lot further than hey. Your facts are wrong. You lied about this about passed. You fact checking you know, checking if know, if you're locked in that smaller, less aware world, where you think that people make decisions on logic and facts, because you think they should you're missing the biggest part of life, which is that people, note yeah. I would agree with you if you said to me Scott. I think we should use reason and facts. We should never depart from that. I would say sure that's great. We should, but we can't 'cause we're not built that way. We humans don't have that capacity in general yeah. We can in very concerned strained ways like science, but in general, no, ok! Well, let's plan a flag there 'cause, that's an interesting topic that is obviously bigger and deeper than this political
I can maybe we'll get to it and that's actually the topic in some measure of your first book or your last book that I've been reading and if we have time I'd, love to touch that, but I just want to I mean again. I have this creeping feeling of fusion or bewildered meant that I want you to sort out for me, and it comes down to this two movie analogy, because I don't see how they are actually different movies. I get that in the theater, the fans of Trump don't care about certain things that are appearing on the screen and I care very strongly about those things, but I don't get how there really not seen these things or they're they're seen them differently, and all I want take you back just to what you said before went when I went full exorcist on you. Okay can I can I interrupt because I think sure been some news reports recently. That said, the Trump route Trump supporters know exactly what's true and what isn't the end result?
much difference between the two sides. I'll give you an example of like this is what the kind of thing that's in my movie, there's literally one hundred things I could mention here, but I'll just mention a couple. So it seems to me that everything you need to know about Trump's ethics, revealed in the whole Trump University scandal right. This is a guy who's having employees pressure for elderly people to max out their credit cards in exchange for fake knowledge, an as unseemly well hold on now you understood that to be a license deal right, well, yeah, but I understand that to be the kind of thing that he would have to know enough about to know what he was doing if he only found out about it. After the fact, that's not the kind of thing you would defend is the kind of thing you would be mortified about and you would apologize for and you would pay reparations for if you're this
which guy who has all the money you claim to have. I mean it's like unless, unless you were a master persuader who knew that, if you ever back down from anything, people would expect you to back down in the future from but what you're describing is a total e unethical person right now. This is the problem for me. So let me just give you a little more a couple more points here, but I would say to you that their fall sick. Open CS around this kind of thing, so that people will say that all politicians are liars. Are all politicians have something weird in their back story, but there are very few, politicians walking around with something that ugly in their back story that they haven't repaired. And let me let me just clarify when I said it was a license deal as opposed to a a business that he was actively running. In the Dilbert world. I do a lot of license, deals and have in the past and then nature of those is that you're sort of
your brand and your name and then you're not really paying attention to the actual management of the company. So if there is so, there are two possibilities here: one is the one you described, which is, he knew the details and he was okay with it, which would be problematic for me and I'm positive. It would be problematic for one hundred percent of Trump supporters If that was the case now, if it was a typical license deal where you don't really know exactly what people are doing and you're not paying attention 'cause, you got in his case. I think four hundred companies with his new well yeah his whole life is a license deal for the most part, even his. State empire is a license deal yeah. So if it were ok, so he was treating it like every other license deal. There's a high likelihood, far more likely than not that he didn't know about the details until it was too late now, once he found out the tales how we handled it in court or whatever is, is yet another separate case, but it's
case that even granting you that it's a separate case that says every thing about the man's ethics the two more eggs not wait. What, but it is, it is says everything about his ethics. If he was aware at at the time, oh know know if you're aware of it in the aftermath I mean, if I created some deal, if I created you know, SAM Harris, you know, waking up podcast University and I live to say that my first of all, the fact that he that he would license is a license it out to other. Con men right who will run group and not do proper vetting there, but claim you had. I mean he did a whole commercial with him talking about how these are the geniuses that instructing you in this incredibly expensive, but profitable enterprise if you did all that, you're already a schmuck right, but imagine I had done that, but I'm so busy. I've got four hundred different businesses and I just didn't really understand. I got lured I got and- and I got lured into doing this with people- I didn't totally that in the aftermath
would be horrified if I found out that someone had their life savings ripped from them. By con men who I had licensed, and I'm this billionaire, I would atone tone for that as much as could. Possibly be done. I mean that's just like a you have to do that now. Is the time say you would atone for it? Let's talk about the financial part of that tony Would you would you then negotiate with the people were complaining to figure out what was inappropriate payment? Would you do that It would be obviously indefensible and I would immediately pay back the thing that was lost and probably more because it because, if I could that there's just all the pain and suffering associated with it, you have you have to. People hold, but would you give them whatever they ask for just like, give me ten million dollars? Okay. Well now, there has to be some rational consideration of what the actual cost is. But again, you know the Spirit in which he defended this right, he'd as an admitted that there
was a sham is of a piece with everything else that he's represented about himself he's a genius who's done, nothing but help the world and the world is so ungrateful, they can't recognize it and all the rest is fake news. I mean it's just he's said But let me ask you just again and by the way just I want to be very clear that there's nothing about Trump University I defend, but that should mean something to you I mean I don't hold on hold on, but but I also think it needs to be put into his clearest context and the clearest context is there were people who used the legal system for their complaints, Ann Trump use the legal system. The way it is used to negotiate and part of that negotiation is hey. I'm taking you to court. Well, So go ahead. I'll, take you to court. So that's how you doing so she ate in the legal contacts. Ok, but then it was done weather was done. He paid them back as the legal. The legal process you know, probably was going to come out that way, no matter whether you got elected
or not it shouldn't have had to have gone to court. The fact that it had to go to court is sign of his litigiousness his defensiveness has not owning the problem and who how many other scandals like this are in his past, where the people couldn't afford to go to right. So that means we actually know a lot about the way he built buildings in so far as he actually built them, and he screwed hundreds thousands of people, and these are who couldn't afford to take him to court. This guys rip patient is so well known. Have you ever been involved in a big construction project as I've done a few? and what? What do you do when a subcontractor doesn't perform the way you want them to perform That's one description of what has happened but again you're ignoring the fact that he has a unique reputation for screwing people, and this is something
that journalism didn't do its job before the election to get this out but yeah. I would agree he has that reputation. But what is the source of that reputation? It's the people who didn't get paid right, but but again fact that Trump University exists and then, back that he handled it. The way he did tells me everything I need to know about him, everything literally literally everything. Scott. Did you just change subject. No, no I'm just saying that I can see. I can see his real estate career through the lens of Trump University. If you give me trump mercy, I can tell you what kind of developer he's going to be and how he's going to treat his subs? Well, that's that's! That's another analogy problem that Trump University is an analogy. No, it's a no it's because people's ethics tend to call here. If you think you can screw someone mercilessly. When they're, under your power in one context, you The kind of person I will predict will be screwed people who are under your power in other contexts. Unless you've got some kind of
little personality disorder. Are there are no stories which are aware of, in which President Trump has done, things which he was not required to do, which were considered a kindness, well, let me talk I'll give you two other points which I think aren't in tango. With these these wrinkles and which kind of make the same point to remind people why we're here I'm talking about what it's like for me to see my movie, and How I don't understand people who are watching the other movie file a charitable way to see these things as they hit the screen? So the other example I would give you is two and these are so desperate, but each say a lot about the man they're each something which, if you and I did them, that's more or less game over right, so take his career pageant host and owner the stories. Well, attested endlessly well attested at this point of him being the creep who
barging into the dressing room. So he can look at the beauty. Pageant contestants write these eighteen year old girls, who are essentially his employees, so that he can cash them naked there's that moment, right doing that over and over again and then add his career as a as a pseudo philanthropist, I mean so there's like this here's a great example. There's this this ribbon cut, ceremony for a children's school that was serving kids with with AIDS is back in the 90s, and he tending to be one of the big donors and just a photo op with the mayor of New York, and I think, the former mayor of New York and the real donors to this charity. He jumps on stage tending that he belongs there at the ribbon, cutting he never a dime to this charity. No one knew he was coming. He literally crashed the party to pretend that he was as big time philanthropist now you might say. Well, this is brilliant. Pr right is complete. Immoral pr, TRA Tel like like. If I had done this right, you beyond this podcast. If you found Get these things about me. Listen SAM Harris pretends that he give
to charity when he doesn't and he barges into the dressing rooms of his teenage employees, so they catch them naked and he's got. This thing called Harriss University that he had to get sued in order to apologize, for, in fact, he never apologized for those three things about you wouldn't be on this podcast and for good reason, but yet you're saying you would elect me, President United States yeah. I would go even further and say that if you actually knew the secret life of any of our politicians, we would we would impeach all of 'em. So the is this as that's not true, the the people tend to be fairly despicable. When you, when you drill down, do you were you really think you're think Obama is trailing things of this magnitude. Character, flaws, manifest character, flaws of this magnitude. Well, I won't name names, but I would say that that it would be more common than not common for the for a yeah. This is especially the males have like sketchy sketchy behavior with the opposite,
the sex, not this level of sketchy behavior, I mean this is again: I'm not going to go to the Billy Bush groping tape, which I think is appropriate to keep in mind that President Trump's past is far more public than other peoples. So you're going to see the you know the wards as well as the good stuff. But let me let me stop acting like I'm disagreeing with the the general claim you're making that he has done. Things that you and I might not do in the same situation and would disapprove of. I could say that Carmen and when would be shared by Trump supporters as well. But then you seem to give it no ethical, wait, here's the proposition he came in and he said in the very words: I'm no angel yeah, but I'm going to do these things for you now created a situation where for his self interest, if you imagine he's the most selfish narcissistic ego
Mister Cool Human, whoever lived. He only cares about himself. He put himself in the position where the exactly one way for any of those things to go right for him, which to do a really really freaking good job and to imagine that he wants to do anything but the best job for the country now now that is in the position is probably also when he was running is is beyond ludicrous and I would say ok. Stop there because there's I will. I will grant you that he cares about his reputation to some degree and his mutation would be enhanced. If at the four years at the end of eight years, more likely he was mind as the greatest president we ever had. I mean I think he would like that. If you could give him a you know a magic wand and he could wave it in any direction. He would want to leave beans spoken of as the next Linkin or the next Jefferson, and so so granted that, in that sense, his interests and the countries Intra
would be aligned, but there are two problems: with that idea one is. There are many ways in which his interests, his personal selfish interests and that of his fam are not aligned with those of the country and there's real. Come to our institutional norms. On that basis I mean so we have this family functioning the ruling family in a banana republic. Now I mean they're enriching themselves at every turn. There's endless report So we have the state department in the secret service, paying 10s of thousands of dollars to stay in Trump hotels. You've got a vanka, rocking, her gold bracelet that she was wearing on the first sixty minutes interview. You know forty eight hours after the election, he got the incessant pumping of trump. Landed properties with taxpayer dollars. I mean there's no end to this right and there deals in dozens of countries, and so there's no. There are conflicts of interest that they won't Nick knowledge. What will to Russia. There's this Russia thing, which is clearly not in the
so the UN and may very well be in Trump's interest to, I would say, court a again I mean I, I think the word treason, I'm not using the word treason in in a in the technical sense. Like I think, you'll be convicted of treason, but there's a tree, reason is level of disregard for the interests of our country, in how he has been dealing with Russia thus far and the rush scandal or is just being persuasive and and practical both of those fields. But there's nothing persuasive about being the first president, who will openly without any I mean, without any caveat, just pray, his and align himself with a dictator of Putin's quality, who has Joe just maliciously targeted our country in a way that It's totally unambiguous. First of all, I'm sure that we target other countries so that you know the context is were
we all doing it to everybody else again? This is a move into a kind, a moral equivalence which doesn't make it send to me because, of course we seek to influence other countries, but we do it because we actually We have our values right, I mean like. We think our values are good. If we're trying to influence an election, in IRAN say the reason why we think that is legitimate is because we are the good guys there now, and I mean that in a fairly deep sense right, we are fighting for democratic values and tolerance of minorities, and you know we. I agree. I agree. I agree. I agree with all that. I'm just saying that in the in the real world in the real world, if the country pokes you, you poke them back the same way. That's just ok, but we have a president now who says nothing but good things about a dictate. Who we know jails
kills his political opponents in jails and kills journalists. Let main limit. Let me let me Let me refer you to. There were some CIA analysts analyst recently, who said retired ones? I guess who said that they were worried that Trump could be easily manipulated by his ego through lottery and that foreign leaders are looking at his tweets in his personality, say: hey can totally persuade this guy to do what we want by using this flattery thing now we're watching President Trump ladder, the not only the n korean dictator, by calling him a smart cookie for staying in power, but also put and also the chinese leadership. You've seen him flatter three leaders that we most want to persuade, but I've seen him play Also, I mean they eat one Tweet Hill bash, the chinese leadership and he was bashing. The chinese leadership throughout the campaign- bash
Kim Jong Moon in another tweet he's both sides of it. It is not it's not one thing or the other is the chaos of his own personality and its problems with impulse control made manifest. Is it as he bash them, since he was president, is the things he did on the campaign trail wait, wait which, which Ok, so you talk about well just tweets about how. Obviously, we can't count on China anymore, an warning Kim Jong Moon that there's going to be a massive penalty to be paid for those. Let me explain both of those things. War Kim Jong Moon, that there's going to be a massive penalty is not saying something about the individual. Alright, it's just saying the same thing that any president would say in that situation. You situation with China, which I wrote about extensively, is that the smartest persuasion that you could do in this situation is to set China up as the adult in their neighborhood who, for some reason, kit control their own backyard. So that's that's the setup.
Gave them. You said you guys are great. You know why? Don't you take care of this N Korea. Stuff will take a step back, get this done then, when it didn't get done, he didn't say you guys are assholes 'cause. That would have been a big mistake. He said Well, we tried you know China's great, they didn't get it done. You know maybe next time that is exactly the right persuasion and exactly how I would have played it, because that gave him a free pass. To do something that China doesn't want him to do. If he needs to do that 'cause, he said publicly. We trust you guys, you guys can here this then he waited and in fact they increased. Apparently they increased trade with N Korea, and so he pointed it out factually correct and said. Well, I guess that didn't work, then that gives in a moral free pass, because he just he just gave them the opportunity to fix it themselves. First
Well, I I'm not claiming that was the wrong communication at that point. It's just that it all has the character of a haphazard, ejaculation of whatever he's thinking or the product of the last conversation he had. So when he met with the Chinas leader he he said after minutes. He was convinced that you know the trade thing is not what he thought it was right. Meanwhile, he had campaigned on the trade thing being one way for months, and so there's something about the fact that he tends to have it all worked out until the next moment, where he has to reverse course completely without ever acknowledging that he's reversed course. I ever given an intelligent account of why it happened and in your you're in this to some kind of real method to his madness, but in most cases. It just looks like madness, or it just looks like a just a lack of understanding of what he was going to have to think anyway. Yeah. I think there are probably several things going on
one of them is a learning process and the people who support voted for him. I think everybody had their eyes open that you plump a non politician into this job, whether it's Barack Obama with a little bit of experience or jump uh that the they're going to be learning in an evolving fairly quickly on the job. So there's some of that yeah Jenny when changing of opinion. There is some of the situation changes, so we you perverts, but he also says clearly and often that he s he likes being unpredictable and he likes setting his adversaries off balance. You know, are you my friend, are you my enemy or you get a slap tariff on me or we do. We have a treaty and persuasion wise that is brutally effective because it makes everybody search for
you know the one thing they can depend on and if he offers it they're going to grab it so keeping people off balance until you offer them. Your solution is actually standard persuasion and he's persuaded something like half. Country to vote for him. I've said I've never found him persuasive even for a moment and It's clearly not persuaded the other. Half entry now his approval ratings or whatever they are that you know there there is low. Is things can get given that there's? This is I a is certainly a quorum of Republicans who will never disapprove of him, even as he said, if he shoots in time square, I get that he's. Isn't right, he's got elected, so he his persuasion or whatever it was got him that far, I think, It says less about him frankly than about the state of the country, and our relationship too, fame and reality. Television and an advertisement of wealth, as opposed to you, know the real,
we of being wealthy mean the fact that he, the con, worked don't you mean something? It doesn't mean something. What about him? It means something that I perceive as a symptom of a problem in our relationship to politics in our relationship to facts in this case, but don't you think we're we are, or at least maybe we want to be or should be past the point where the president is the role model for our children and he is more like the lawyer that you that you hired because he's the best lawyer, even though he the last job he did was to represent the mob or some uw, what the best lawyer, the best plumber, but it's so beyond that. I don't have any illusions about how good a person needs ready to be president and or or I don't have any illusions about how the system- as it's currently set up sort of flex against many
people. We would want it's just such a hassle to try to become president. Then you have to slog through so much dirt to get or that it seems to be selecting for people who or a little bit more narcissistic than we would want a little bit less principle. Then we would want a little bit too eager to sell themselves to other interests that then we would want, but still he is a unique case of someone again based on everything that he advertised about himself before he ever mentioned that he wanted to be president, I'm going back twenty years. He is a unique case of somebody who does not have the ethical core, the into actual interest, the expiry It's not, I mean really nothing. That would suggest that he would be a good presented, this country or a model for our children. As you put it. Let me describe what I call my perfect life arc
and that would be your born as a little baby. You're, helpless and you're completely selfish, because you have to be the only way you can survive. Other people got to do it for you, as you're a kid you baby, you help out with some chores but you're still mostly selfish by the time you're an adult, especially if you've had children, end up giving more than you're taking and if you've done everything right and you've, taken care of yourself and your family and your own hold in your seventy one years old. The last things you should be doing is giving back more. The very last thing you do on your at the moment of your death is transferred one hundred percent of your assets to other people. So the perfect life is perfectly selfish and trying to improve every year until you're perfectly giving. If you look at Trump's arc, you can see the perfectly selfish part and it was really part of his brand through his primary working years through the Trump University and all that- and we see
especially with a young son in a new wife, he's reached a certain point of his career he's turned over his company. And in my opinion, and again this would be making the mistake of you know a magic thing. I can tell his inner thoughts, but I have I have talked to people who know him and and have talked to him personally about this stuff end up the reports I get. Is that he's actually doing this for his son and for the country and to your point he he's not he's not in NEO fight to the public light He knew that running for president, as a Republican, especially was going to get his reputation just destroyed. That the amount of arrows this guy is signed up to take it's hard to explain in selfishness. You know that if you put the selfishness filter on that, then he's crazy too, because he did something that clearly would you know would be awfully pay
for him and his family they're, risking physical death. That's a naive or incomplete picture of what selfishness entails? I think I mean most people. Who are selfish, we're all selfish to some degree and most of us managed to do many things that in retrospect seem on wise or needle saying current of hassle in the spirit of trying to get what we want out of life. But here I have, I think you have someone who is so malignant way, selfish, the yeah. He will do things that seem completely crazy and counterproductive even buy that yards. Because I like I like to take, for example, the Russia hacking election. I think we should talk about that, because it is so important. It's a place where I think Trump's interests as uh and, as a president diver, urge radically from our nation's interest in the world's interests, but take what would have been a completely sane response to the russian hacking by any other president, the even if it was clear
that Russia's influence had helped him as it is. And probably tip balance, among other things that tipped the balance toward getting him elected. I mean we're talking about in some cases, seventy thousand votes. So if anyone was influenced by russian bots or the Podesta leaks, it was enough to put him over the line, even if It was the fear. The understandable fear that this made his presidency seem illegitimate a sane, normal person, turn on a dime rather rather than say. This is fake news or it never happened or I don't agree with seven intelligence agencies, I'm going to take the Ladimir Putin's work for the fact that he didn't do anything right or maybe it was a four hundred pound teenager in his mother's basement. You turn on a dime, and you say listen. We have to get to the bottom of this. It's completely acceptable for a foreign power to back into my my
medical rivals database an leak, this information and we're living in a world now, where cyber espionage and cyber war. These are among the greatest threats to the smooth functioning of civilization, and we have to to the bottom of this, and Russia has to pay a penalty for what they did and I get to you I'm going to get to the bottom of this now you take yourself out of the equation, but all he has done is defend himself in more and more preposterous ways lying about everything until the facts come out in thing is he's surrounded by surrogates who are to do this as well. Everyone is forced to compromise themselves trying makes sense of his latest lie or his latest tweet. Let me let me put some contacts on that as well, so uh. I think you would agree that the credibility of presidency matters and that a president whether it was president Trump or any other president who came into
office and knew it wasn't really going to change. I mean in all likelihood he will serve out his term. I think you'd agree more likely than not right at this point. I actually I don't know if it's more likely than not at this point, but I I hope I will grant you as of a week ago. It was much more likely than not so under those conditions, the country is best served by feeling that their president is right so, whether we like that or not, the fact is that we are best served by thinking that he's legitimate enough to do the job. Secondly, he has a lot of competing things he has to balance. One is that you can't let Russia get away with us and the second is you can't piss them off? Would you need them as much as we need them right now, so those are two competing things.
My assumption- and you can test this against your own assumption- is that we're not letting them off the hook and that we're going to fight them as hard as we can with the CIA and through the CIA we're probably going to mess with their cyber. We have the CIA that you just publicly said you don't trust too. It analyze the situation. Rather, you trust Putin, and then you send out a tweet which says we're going to form a joint cyber command with Putin. Figure out how to deal with cyber. I mean it's insane: it's not principle, it's not strategic. It's just uh add man on twitter. But let me ask you this: do you think it is likely or unlikely that our intelligence agencies are planning or have already responded forcefully? Well, I certainly hope that's the I'll, tell you what is also likely, or in fact certain but it, but if, but if you don't know, what do you think he's not doing his job? The very best way to play this, in my opinion, would be to publicly support
the way that Putin is publicly saying they had nothing to do with the election while under the hood Bouton we did have much to do with the election, and Trump is probably fucking bizarre this weekend under the hood, but he's fucking himself too. So how you doing your son he's been fucking himself. This whole time, because he has so alienated- are Intel Since apparatus we have career service intelligence. People who are risky their careers and, in some cases, probably risking prison time leaking against him, so all of these leaks that are coming out of our intelligence services are illegal and they're being provoked by the fact that he, he's taken the wrong side in a geopolitical contest against a known adversary. Well, I just sold is that in all likelihood he's doing exactly what we wanted to do, but we wouldn't know what's happening with the intelligence services what's happening in cyber, we wouldn't
but we know about the leaks against him. We know about how much chaos is being caused over this Russia Investigation it's being dragged out and how everyone is lying about it, and this is a disaster, so we've been watching for two years as the so called mainstream media's painted him as a crazy hiller. So it is perfectly understandable that the intelligence agencies, just because they're here and they happen to be on his side and they have been convinced that he's a monster that needs to be taken out. Uh that all makes perfect sense to Maine what what what is it makes perfect sense to you that he would. I mean to just take the tweet of, and now it's probably ten days ago, where he tweeted that the a joint Us Russia, cyber alliance to figure out. You know how to protect us going forward from Cyber s, urgent people immediately, joked yeah the. When is the end of the ISIS Us Alliance going to protect us against terrorism, and then he
We did you know an hour later or a day later, essentially just kidding or, of course, it's impossible, but still we got a cease fire in Syria. You are scribing those kinds of things as the actions of a master manipulator. Persuader, but these are so obviously counterproductive. Yes, they are destabilizing if you're going to as a general rubric. If you tell you what I let me tell you, what I think happened as in the most likely explanation for those those things which you just described now, one explanation and again any explanation for us the past, so that's always dangerous stuff, so your filter on it fits which is he's crazy, unstable. This is seven one three that does make sense and then another one that cancels it out. So the filter, the says, he's grazing unstable and your whatever fits those facts. Here's another one that fits he tries a lot of stuff. He does the letter a b testing, including with
the public, he probably thought about this idea and wondered if there was some way in which we could work together without creating any unnecessary risk. It took probably twenty four hours or the people who do this stuff to say. No. There is no way to do that, even though maybe common sense sickly, it seems like there might be some corner or some the margin that we could work together, if we did, we wouldn't want to tell the public, and we would Wanna, do anything important. So then he says: well, we talked about it. It can't happen and it won't happen. That's what his second tweet said. So to me that fits the filter as well a person It was open to it idea that was out of the box, which is why his supporters support him 'cause. He does think out of the box in part. He considered it for a day. He got expert advice, it didn't make sense all this is. That is crazy. As it sounds, I mean the problem has got everything fits that filter me if he to
this pants down in the rose. Garden and starts screaming that will still fit the. Filter. He tried something he's ab testing his destabilizing. Everyone look everyone's talking about that and not the oil pipeline. Just ram through or the or the climate change agreement, he just cancelled or whatever, and you could all. Please do this. Post hoc look just it's all. It's all theater and it's working for him until he's impeached only impeachment would be a counterpoint here. Let me let me agree with you as hard as I can 'cause. That's the same point. I was saying that you can always explain the past with a variety of different filters. As we just did, That's not true of everything. I'm saying, there's no explanation of him as an actually ethical person as an actually honest person as an actually well informed person that you can. Run through the data. Let's do this,
it's impossible. They might try- and my in my in my trying to do that. I've never once tried to do that. Well, no, I'm just a low. So, like my analysis of him, mine filter of him is falsifiable I mean the claims I'm making about him that he lies to an unprecedented degree that he is clearly uninformed where he should be informed and failing to learn on the job. The way we would want him to be what the hell the moment. Most of that both sides would agree with. So what you said so far is that you please loose with the facts. Both sides agree that his, if you look at his past ethical cut both sides would scratch their head and say I don't think I would have done that in that situation, so we're complete agreement on those things, but he also I'm no angel, and I'm going to do for you, the country, I've done to make myself so rich and successful, and by the way it's a pretty public job and you can watch you can watch all along the way
and by the way I've been lying about how rich and successful I am by a factor of ten and that's why I'm not releasing my tax returns little little little little bit he's worth ten billion dollars now yeah or the other. That proving my point I mean that's, that's the horror of the situation. He managed to make good on the con eat to make it a non con. In the end, really I I will. I will grant you that, but then again and that's That'S- that that is the exactly this skill set, which he explicitly promises to use on our behalf just like a lawyer is, but it's not on our behalf, take climate change right not on our behalf. If you think climate change is a problem right and if you do think climate change is a problem. If you think you are your own climate scientists, because you did some, Google searches will then you're just you've just migrated away from a fact based discussion about reality, and this is not good for the country that we have a president who's done. This take Infowars. We have a president who has dignified Alex,
Phones as essentially better than not only equal to but better than the the mainstream news media right and Alex Jones or someone who I'm telling the world that that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax so that the Obama could come. Take our guns away, absorb the f implications of that and the experience of the parents who are getting death threats for having fake the deaths of their chill. You've got trump sitting down with him as though he's TED Koppel. It's insanity that we have a president who was behaving this way and you are painting it as something that is just has no cost. Right. It's not only has no cost is probably a good thing, because it's in our interest- no remember I interrupted you the last time you said no cos, I'm explicitly saying it it has a cost to him. Reputationally. You said it's a bad thing for everyone that Alex Jones has the President's ear. It's insane and the I mean, take climate change? What's your view of, I mean forget about what
think about whether the climate change agreement we walked away from was going to do much of anything that we can debate that, but terms of the of isn't that, but that that debates largely over right overwrite. It turns out that when people looked at the climate agreement that it didn't do much it I lost a lot of money. The narrow focus on that agreement is not the thing. The focus is on getting the entire developed and developing world on the same page that we have to address a global prom, that no nation can address on its own our ability- let's just look at it one part at a time. You know he famously cold climate change, our climate science. I guess global warming up a hoax. Yes, it turns out that the agreement, the the centerpiece of the whole discussions, was closer to a hoax, then a useful agreement. I was that characterization was still hyperbole. It was more like an agreement that didn't do much as opposed to an actual hoax
but we had been sold. I know I had been sold that that agreement would actually do something. Oh no, on and what what is the hoax here? He said that climate change is a hoax that, like the other, the consensus yeah I mean so that I mean that's forget about the agreement. The problem is, we have a president who will say things like climate change. Is a hoax. Cooked up by the Chinese to harm our manufacturing base well hold on hold on now. If you assume that he is under informed and is in the process of becoming more informed than I would say that he's doing the smartest thing, I've ever seen, the president do- and I know you're going to hate that, because you know I talked about in the book your reading, I talked about his systems being better than goals. One of the systems that apparently is coming out of his administration from the EPA is idea. This red team, blue team discussion on climate science, which would have the benefit of educating the public and
the brilliant part. If it turns out that the the consensus of scientists are spa and and everything they're saying we should have listened them harder. This red team, blue team thing is going to is going to surface that and it's going to allow the administration, including President Trump, to side with science once it has completely communicated invented in a way that the public and the administration can understand 'cause the alternative to that is to for him to pretend he understands what science is saying, and I think that that that is the big, dope trap that any of us think we went in your case you, maybe you can understand the science, but the average person doesn't have any hope of looking into this field and penetrating, but they don't have to, It is it's not our job to vet. All of the science is that the scientist
working in that field are doing nothing but that themselves, and so it's like people do things with climate science that they would never do with oncology with anything else. That is like it's like you're, not you're, not an oncologist right and when ninety seven percent of oncologists say that smoking causes lung cancer, you wouldn't be did you go on the internet and after an afternoon of Google searches, come to your own opinion about whether smoking causes lung cancer, That's not a move that people tend to make because if, for whatever reason, that's just not what people are are political, the divided about. Let's use another example: let's say the the government's food pyramid: yeah, that's a that's a famous area where the science is unsettled and also where the incentives do do everyone's or the she got, the Sugar Council doing their own science and it's basically like big tobacco.
Funding their own research. So so you would. I know that there are examples in our common experience in which the experts who had some career related incentive to fudge things, fudge things and fooled us for years that the consensus was right when in fact it was completely a hoax would would you do that with the food pyramid with food that I had Gary Taubes on this podcast, which proved to be surprisingly controversial. It's amazing how he did people get over this issue, food- but I would grant you that in the area of diet and I'm sure that problem but it could be some other areas we could think of The consensus is unusually confused and has been for decades and there's a lot to do to untangle the sources of people's confusion and undoubtedly there bad incentives and or research getting involved again here, for that is clearly more science. It's not a non scientist getting
vibe by putting finger to the wind or or doing some internet research, but that's the straw man, because there's nobody who is supposed to more science, but that's not true 'cause, this red team blue team thing. This is already been done in the science when you're talking about whether climate change is! Is an issue of the red, the red team, blue team thing. As I understand it is a military process, yes, which, which does not have an exact. You know analog and your review or anything like that, so it would be- on top of the on top of the science. But my point is you're, taking something from science about which there is very little controversy and and whatever controversies, surrounded it's at the March
and it's not about this basic issue right well, if, if, if that's your statement that there's very little controversy, can you point to the economic model? The tells us both the costs and benefits and when we should invest in what way we should invest to deal with climate? The economic model is the one that tells you what to do. How hard to do it and when to do it the science. You know I mean the accurate, so the economics of it are obvious very important to get as right as we can get them, and this is one of the real travesties of Trump's messaging. Here I mean Trump is talking about bringing back coal mining trump is the kind president where you on musk has to resign from his advisory council for how embarrassing it is a hitch to him. So I mean where's, the where's, the future, with with seventy five thousand coal miners, or what with
Five hundred thousand people in California alone, who are in the alternative energy, as I mentioned before my background, is I've, got a degree in economics and I have an MBA from Cal Berkley, so I tend to filter things that way as well and with the the situation with the climate change. One of the things that you always have to decide is is when to start and well I had the eggs the same situation with my my house. We I built my house that I had to decide whether to put solar panels on the roof. Now they said, if you put these panels on they'll pay for themselves and seven years or whatever it is fifteen whatever- and I said well, that's that's a terrible deal do you know why it's a terrible deal that I would spend some money and it would definitely pay back in fifteen years. The answer is 'cause. If I waited three years to install these things, the cost of installing them would drop so much that I could pay for them in.
For a list economics is not always hey, there's a bad thing coming, so we have to do some uh, This thing right away lots of times it's more nuanced than that. Sometimes the best thing to do is to wait for your technology to improve your visibility on the situation you have, but then you have to improve the technology, but he this is cutting funding into basic or in the sun, and only let me finish on the call, the the economy This way of viewing this stuff is that when the Let me in general is doing well, which almost entirely means jobs. Jobs equals the economy for the most part, um that you have the freedom, the flexibility to solve all kinds of problems. You know it's. If your economy is doing well, you can do healthcare that saves people if you
is doing well your military, strong that saves people so so to say that having cold might or even reducing research, which seems like a bad idea to meet you that those things have this straight line. Negative impact of the future is just during everything that economists know, which is that building a strong economy and jobs is a big part, gives you all kinds of options. It's a better sis but this only seventy five thousand jobs in the entire coal industry. Not even that's not even that many coal miners, it's everything I mean this is talking about people working in the in the back office and there there are ten full. That many jobs nearly tenfold that many jobs in clean tech in single state right, and this is everything is backwards here we should be here's the persuasion filter on this. Do you remember before the inauguration when Pence and Trump went off to try to claw back those jobs from forward and Kerry
and then you know sounded like they did, but then the news came out. Well, maybe maybe that wasn't really what we thought it was. But what happened what happened was they did what they call the new CEO moved New CEO and that before anybody even catches it breath. On your first day, you make some big changes that essentially brand you for who you are That was their way to brand them, as they were going to do anything to keep jobs in this country. That is the sort of psychology that drives it economy, as if you think things are going to be good tomorrow, you invest today, and it turns out. That's all it takes for a good So the psychology of the economy, President Trump and Vice President Pence, have absolutely nailed, and you can you can see that in consumer confidence you see it in stock market, so
right that doing these little things with four little things with carrier? That might not even be the way that reported that the saving a few jobs in in coal you're right that the number of people isn't important. But would you see your president cloying to keep people employed cloying to keep jobs in this this country, you say to yourself: this is the country I would invest in. But again is it cuts the other way entirely for me and for half the country and I think for anyone who's in form about the issues and he could secure that exact same game, the other way he could say, listen, I'm! president I under stand both had Dean here is our situation is with respect climate change and how much attunity? There is to make trillions of dollars. If we seize this opportunity. Do we want China to be building all the clean tech or do we want to build it
just invited Elon on to this advisory board. I'm going to be in close consultation with him and everyone like him to figure out how we can. We can ram through the 21st century in a few short years, and there are coal miners who will lose their jobs, but here. There are seventy five thousand of them an we can easilly retrain them or find some other way to compensate them for the loss of these jobs, but clearly the future is getting our power from sunlight and in breathing clean air, not having thousands of lung cancers and people dying from emphysema needlessly in our cities, because we to figure out how to transition to electric cars. We forget about climate change, You could sell this entire thing on the basis of clean air, but no, we have a president who is gutting. EPA right. We have a president who is contrary to what you're saying but not seizing the economic opportunity. We should be doubling RD on
everything related to the future of energy technology and we're not doing it. And he could sell it, he could do the exact thing. Yours you say he's accomplishing by champion the cause of coal miner. You could do the exact same thing in a in a clean tech. My understanding is, he is using all energy guy, you know you, you push push open every door and some of them will be better better than others. So So. First of all, I agree with you. There should be more emphasis on the future for all of the domains, and you should be talking more about technology for healthcare, for you know everything everything yeah I'm one hundred percent on board that there's too much attention on the past and not enough on the future, but I would say that his approach of giving attention to both, to the extent that he,
then isn't crazy, but he can't it began as a zero sum contest between the past and the future. Here Elon had to leave because it such a scandalous association. At that point I perceive you on is taking a significant personal and business risk by leaving because a lot of his business is based on government contracts. Trump could screw him if Trump, who is, is famously vindictive guy. If trump decide to see his dip archer as a personal affront say: well, you know what I'm going to do whatever I can behind the scenes, make sure the air force doesn't launch any satellites with Spacex anymore right going to do it, we're going to find some other way to do it because Elon screwed me publicly. That was a stand he took because everything that was coming out of the administration was so beyond the pale. I would say that it was more of a branding decision coupled with the fact that he's already running two or three companies
and the last fucking thing he wanted was to attend meetings in Washington. Where absolutely nothing happened, no, it would be nothing better for him to have, riding shotgun on a presidency that was actually getting the point, San connecting the factual dots with respect to climate. Change and the opportunity for clean tech. I mean that would have been fantastic for me now he a and let me ask you this: how would you feel hypothetically if this red team, blue team comes up with a Conclusion that matches your own, which is how it turns out that the consensus of scientists was right and, we've finally communicated in a way that even the government can get on board and say yeah. This is some, the problem? We have suppose that came out that way. And then President Trump said, alright we're going to change a few things. Now that we've confirmed this
but we still don't have an economic model. So as long as we're hedging, I'm going to do everything I can to keep the economy working is that gives us the most options in the future. Would that be crazy?. At this point, the concern is- and I I'm going to have some climates, it's on the podcast to really spell out this case. Closing every conceivable loophole at some point, but concern among many climate scientist is when is it too late to to grab the nob and twisted in the right direction. I mean we are playing this out over now the course of a generation when we had many of the facts in hand decades ago, and you know we we, we don't have a lot of time to spare necessarily and were acting as though this is still a topic of uncertainty. I think they're a couple problems here. One is that, and you can, the please fact check be on the
but my understanding is that climate scientists from let's say the 70s have been wildly inaccurate about what was going to happen in the future. Is that before I make? My next point is that does that pass the fact checking or no I'm sure there are predictions that have not come true, as are the case in any science, but I don't know if preponderance of what was being said in the 70s is now to be in actor yeah. My understanding is that the people who are studying this stuff thought we were entering a global cooling period, so they and then there was period where I think it was or may have predicted that sometime about now, Manhattan would be flooded. So so I believe that the history- that people on the right are looking at and saying you got it wrong all these times. We have to at least you know, be a little skeptical this time. You know sort of fool me three times by the fourth time, I'm going to start
in some questions. They don't know. What's being claimed, I mean first of all, click global warming is probably the wrong phrase. I mean we're talking about climate change more than SARA all is warming, and we can even bite the bullet here that in some parts of the world, global warming would be a good thing. There are places the certainly be able to grow crops that they can't grow. If you live in Siberia, I think you could want nothing more than global warming, but the question we have a preponderance of the scientific community. I mean the vast preponderance are. We here are now talking about something like debating big to echo about whether cigarettes cause lung cancer, who say we have to get a handle on this. We are influencing that this system in ways that we increasingly understanding is going to produce highly non normal climate response that will will do things like flood coastal cities and Ray the temperature and create extreme weather events in all of this is going to cost a fantastic amount of money, and
it's more, we have all Ternative's that have all of these other good things that come along with them. First of all, will no longer be paying these regimes in the Middle EAST to age of a global war of jihadist terrorism against us right will get off the oil which couldn't happen fast enough and you're talking, removing the main source of air pollution for the entire planet. Right, it's just it's, it's all good again and I'll grant you your point that there's better and worse ways to do this and we don't want to start burning up millions of dollars in the process. We want to find out how transition in the most profitable way. But again, it's fairly clear to everyone who's thinking about this, which direction you need to move to be embracing. A sane sustain future and it is not in just guardian the oil reserves under the Saudi Royal family and
tracking, every last ounce from those samples to the economic forecast right, if you're telling me- that the scientists all align on the fact that c two is going to raise the temperature, I would say that's possible and and in fact, if said your gun to head. You got about on this, let's say yeah, that's probably true, no closed system, as you know, it's probably true, but if you say to be, therefore, we know the economics of when to invest. How to invest, went to wait for new technology. You I'm not sure. If you see this, but people always sweet to me all the new tech could technologies for turning Co. Two into you know products and fuel and everything else,
So if you said what happens, if we wait ten years and the sea level is going up an inch- and you know it says it's a degree warmer, I would say: well, a bunch of places are going to be growing crops that they couldn't us. A bunch of place will be going fewer crops than they were that will cause, some disruption, no doubt about it, but by then we might have technology that we can. You know just suck the ceo if we build but if we build I'm in China might have the technology. The question is: do we want to have a worldview informed by best science, insofar as we can understand it at any moment or one that repudiate the best science or Peyton? Lee political reasons- and that's that's good- if this is wrong- but as President it President Trump's administration has offered to expose
the best thinking of scientists to the world in a way that never has been done before through this red team blue team process, which they promised to televise and we we get to follow along and and this is not a debate by the way. The red team, blue team thing is not a debate where people say things and then at a time. It's it's a process where people get to go away check their claims come back later. You know, so it's far far more rigorous. Again, if all of that does something to change the Administra is behavior. That would be a good thing, I can't argue that, but if that we have someone like Pruitt gutting, DPA Epa, the actual bias, the administration, which is that mental concerns or basically anti business, and that we should ignore the environment and extract every last lump of coal, an ounce of oil. We can out of the earth because-
well at the dollar, the dollar you can have in hand now is better than the dollar you can imagine getting based on sunlight at some future date right well, one of the other tells for cognitive dissonance that I always talk about is turning a reasonable thing into an absolute. So it seems to me that the people in the EPA are saying that it's better to have a strong economy, even if some of these rules might introduce some risk, do some people within the economy, meaning that there might be different people who die, because these rules not in place, but there might be a greater number of them who have access to health care and things which keep people alive so to say that Changing these things does nothing but cost is, I think, missing the fact that in economics there is always a cost and there can be a benefit
greater than the cost. We are yeah. It's just that. There's no argument that this is a principled search for those and if it's we get again, you can do the same thing with smoking. I mean why not read team blue team, whether or not cigarette, cause lung cancer, get in the way back machine and go back to that moment, and let me look at nine so settled. Well, let me tell you why there's a very good reason that would have been an excellent thing to do in. I don't know 1950s nineteen 50s, because the problem was that the country was divided Anne right now with climate science, although the scientists are not divided, it's the perfect situation to educate the public because the Edm stretching his helpless until the public gets on board? Well, that's not true me. They did a ministration can do whatever it wanted to meet as you as we've seen. Trump can at at considerable reputational cost just check change his mind when he gets information and his
fans. His supporters will go along with him for the most part, as you said, if he decides not to build the wall, because it's not practical will then most will come along. He would. I was just his first negotiation, but he doesn't need to take a hit to his reputation because he can do it away that improves his reputation informing the public at the same time- and I think this red team blue team process once Televised- will do exactly that. We're all going to be a lot smarter about this stuff. I love it, we make one point about climate science, so I think it is too important to gloss over my view. So you can divide it into three categories. The topic and you can assign different levels of credibility to each one, would be the basic science another chemistry and physics, I would imagine that that is very high credibility that we probably have a good handle on that stuff, lasers, the building of models, which is something that scientists do
and they try to use all their best thinking and people look at them, but by their nature, the complexity and the fact that at least some of the decisions depend on human judgment. That's why there are different models and lots of them and they come to slightly different in some games, sometimes wildly different but they throw away the wildly different ones. I'm in that situation, if you didn't know even what the topic once yes, let's say you didn't know, you were talking about climate science. You just said bunch of people who are super. Smart are building these complex models. There's bunches of them. Historically a lot of them didn't work. Some of them actually match what we've observed I would say to you: well, if you make enough models and you have some flexibility to change them. That looks just like my experience when I was doing financial modeling for a bank in which my boss would say, hey make this turn out this way, and I would just tweak the assumptions
little did, that was my job now I would say that the models having lower credibility by their nature I'm not saying how much lower, but I think you did great a lower credibility in the basic science and then there's the third thing which I keep mentioning it, because it's so important, which is the economic bottles that you, even if the evenness the scientist models of where temperature is going are reasonably at least directionally right, there's still a gigantic question about the smartest way to play it, and it is not my assumption that the smartest way to play it is obviously an certainly to go aggressively. You know to do the take take the example of the Paris climate, of course, even the people who were in favor of it after they saw the details. At this point, I agree. Well, ok, it didn't do that much so that the
you do about. It is the part that matters, but you can't get to that until the public is sort of lined up behind it, and I think that red team Blue again. I everything you just said sounded reasonable, but it sound reasonable coming from someone who just said that climate change is a hoax invented by the chinese right like like. Like that's that's the thing, that's so highly and obviously non optimal, so president. Let me ask you this, so you so that he he tells us that uses hyperbole to to make his point. You know that he says things during the campaign that are slightly different than the things he would say. As president 'cause. We observe that to be true, he's I'm not so sure about that at this point. Frankly, because he didn't get saner as president. Well, he did for much saner, I look at he backed off waterboarding, you backed off
deporting ten million people all at once. He backed off the going after the families of terrorists. But then he accused Obama of wiretapping him he's just as much to lose and he's just on two different topics: well, even the wiretapping thing that the government is listening to all of our conversations all the time right. So well so you'll know, first of all know and and second of all, for the President of the United States to accuse the previous president of having. Wiretapped him. It's a very specific claim that is one on his face crazy, two and two and crazy to allege without evidence but two before you go on, would you acknowledge that when he says taping or wiretapping, be speaking in a general sense about monitoring communication?
You would agree that. That's why I don't even think he. I don't even think he knows what he was saying because he put weight. I think it wasn't wire tapping and quotes. I mean talk Trump Tower being bugged sense. But I'm just we're trying to make sure that we're on the same page here yeah. I agree that he meant that word to be generally monitoring commute, I'm just saying imagine just imagine Obama coming into office and having immediately accused George Bush of having wire tapped him. I mean I would just like to eat. Are you giving me an analogy because, more than an analogy, it's it's! It's still the? U S! Presidency, we're talking about the? U S! Presidency at two different time points it's such crazy, uncivil behavior is the new normal because of the chaos that he is introduced to our political system. Maybe can't even design it because there's a hundred things like that. Scott I see we're getting to the two hour mark here and I'm I'm mindful your time- and I'm also mindful of when I'm going to lose this studio- I want to just pivot just for a second
the Russia thing, because I think we kind of blew past it and I don't think we're going to get into it very deeply. Obviously the news is moving away from us as quickly as a rock at the moment I mean we're. Having this conversation, I think, the day after the recent Donald Trump Junior epiphanies, with his I mean given his emails to the public and Having a reaction to that who knows what things will look like when we release this, but I just want to. I want to bring you to your view, news on the Russia thing because you wrote a blog post, titled, Russia hacked our election. So what and you seem to believe again. This is somewhat peace. With your relationship to the climate science topic, you see, I believe that there's either some uncertainty about whether or not Russia did much of anything or whether it would even be wrong if they did and you and you seem to doubt whether Russia is really all that hostile to our interests or weather.
Is really that bad, a guy or whether there's really anything here to be turn about it. I just want you to represent what what it was in fact you think they're. Well, I think you have to look at this Russia thing in his individual parts. Cuz they're not all equal, to the extent that if Russia hacked into any american servers with the intent of influencing the election, that would be a topic of revenge. In other words, the appropriate response would be for our young spook services to pay back as soon as we can and in Kind- and you know it was proportional force and american public may never know- what's happening there, but we assume that I assume that that sort of stuff goes on at the same.
Time. It makes sense for the president not to be burning bridges unnecessarily, because we're always doing this poking back and forth below the hood. So you know being nice with somebody who who has a similar interests to us, at least in terms of ISIS, at least in terms of North Korea. To some extent up makes sense at the moment. So I think that in all likelihood we don't know what's happening under the hood. What the? What are? What are cyber people are doing, but I would be a star finished? Astonished, if the man who is most famous for revenge and never letting anybody get away with anything is, is letting this slide He may wait for his chance. Well, thanks going to let this lights, not concerned he has a allegiance to the Russians who have invested heavily in his properties or that he's in any way compromised by Russia. So
the end of that explains how soft he is and on them and how incredulous he has been about this. You know scandal at all. The fact that he would relate to this is fake news that you think there's just no there there. It's not a one variable world? I think that everyone is influenced by all of those big factors, so his influenced by wanting to do a good job he's influenced by it, not wanting to lose face, not not lose to put in his influenced by I'm sure. The fate of the Trump Empire, but it's one of many variables that are swirling around Boyd we make of all the like all the contacts with Russia all line about until they were revealed so you've gotten out of the most recent one. Is you know, Don Junior we've got him on camera on CNN or wherever it was having spawn to the charge that they've had all kinds of contacts with Russia and representatives of Russia, and he says this is it
absolutely. I just shows that you know my father's opponents will stoop to anything We know that he did that interview like hours after he just met with this russian lawyer right. So it's just like that. We have him lying, oh wait a minute, but we also know that the that what they talked about was trivial Nothing, ok, okay, but he's everyone in campaign has been been misrepresenting their level of contact with Russia and its own only dribbling out. No, you just represented his level of contact. Well, here is, I mean either you. Watch that interview. I can't I can't let that go you you got to just add that that meeting had something to do with the russian government and it turns out they didn't no, it did because he believed that it did I'm in the email. The email trail was him showing is absolute willingness to collaborate with the russian government to get some dirt on Clinton, I mean that that's well collaborate and collusion.
You know why I'm I'm not even focused on on the technicality of whether or not he's guilty of a crime. I'm just I'm just saying that. Yes, the US, when everyone's talking to Russia over there and they're lying about it again, if the starting from Trump and everyone on down was there has been zero contact, that's their position, and yet they But all this contact wait. Did they say they had not talked with anyone who is a russian citizen or did they have no contact with Russia as a intelligence or the government? It has been every possible Mutation of I've got nothing to do with Russia. I've got no investments in Russia. I've got no no connection with Russia. I don't know anything about Russia and no one in my campaign is talk to rush or anymore, but anyone representing russia- I mean everything like that. Do you think that twenty minute conversation that was about adoption or something, but it would know it wasn't about adoption. The setup in the email was we've got dirt on Clinton? Did you want to meet with us, and he said I love it I'll, be there in five seconds I gotta ask.
I said: how would you have handled this issue? Okay, the best as a change of topic. I what I would. I would call the F b I's the short answer well hold on. Well, I'm willing. So if you call the FBI and so says June in the the elections coming up, suppose it was something vital like it was important. Suppose, Please see the voters wanted to know please to take them the so a relevant example. Although it the harder case was this. I believe happened in two thousand with Gore, where some don't force. Hacked stolen material from the Bush campaign was brought to brought to the Gore campaign and they would looking at it. Apparently they called the FBI right. So let us know if we're not going to use this is illegal, and this is unethical and we're not going to be part of this. I'm not imagining that everyone who does opposition research for presidential candidates has to be I'll to an ethical standard that I would hold myself to in my daily life. I I don't have too many think about how dirty all of that gets. But here you have a
a known hostile foreign power intruding into our process and that it puts it out. I put it, it could completely out of normal Opeth opposition research. Let me let me tell ya, I would have handled it in that same situation. I would first going to the meeting and found out what they had. I I would expect that it would be. Nothing, because it's the sort of offer that you expect to be exaggerated. So I would go there because my contacts that I should and I'm just you know it's a personal connection of some I would go there. I would listen if it turned out to be important and something that law enforcement needed to know about I would let them know, but I would also know what the information is. First, because here's the thing, if, if you turn it over to the FBI and it was something big and I'm not saying it's likely that that would be the case, but if it was something big 'cause, that's how it was alleged, you would have put the decision for who became president
United States into the hands of James Comi. Because he was denied well, decide whether he's leaking and or announcing it, that would be his decision you if you've, given the information, but this is neither let me just finish if, if you also new the information 'cause, you obtained it first and then oh, my God, there's something fishy here FBI get involved. Then you also have maintained the option of letting the american public know this information if and I can't imagine as a voter that I wouldn't want to know important information, the import, information here- is that this concerted effort by Russia to influence our. Election in
every conceivable way through hacking through propaganda through that is just and those are those are quite distinct actions. I will grant you, but there's been a full court press to influence it to one end, to install isn't trump right, I mean clearly, none of this has been in favor of Clinton and what we have is a Trump campaign and now a Trump presidency that has stonewalled this at opportunity. That has not, tried to get all the facts out. Put them in the hands of the american people, but to Brown. This is fake news to brand this as a hoax to brand, as as as as scaremongering, that will that will lead to a war with Russia right there's all this is all this talk about. What do you want world war? Three, you can't be pressing on the store. How much time should a president spend delegitimize in his own administration, it's in a matter of delegitimizing his own, I mean I can tell you what what he should have said. Being present as a candidate rather than saying you know,
Russia hacks. Hillary's emails, because I'd like to read them right, which is which you took that as a joke and you Did you take a lock her up as a joke too? Of course, did you so when he said when he said. When I become president, I'm going to I'm going to get together some lawyers to look into your situation. You did Take that as an actual threat. I did not you thought that was a joke. I not a joke as well, it was joke. Is it gonna laugh, but it was really hyperbole, because it didn't get laughing. I think it got cheers from people who would want to see that happen right. It got from his partisans. It was. It was a crowd pleaser, yes, but it. But again, I would score this as a significant harm. Our political conversation in the end? You would score it
as you know, you're just something that pleased his base. Well, your your assumption is that she was not guilty of anything that was Oh no, I mean I know, but my assumption. No, the leave, yes, yes, I I assume she's not guilty of something worthy of prison time. I certainly on that score, but the violating the norm in our Chrissy. I mean threatening that when, if you win the presidency, you are going to lock up your opponent, that is, in disastrously, bad taste at a minimum for what it is to have to function as a stable democracy and uh. Full transition of power. I mean that's just way be. In the mail? I believe that for a different kind of candidate, I would definitely agree with you pretty strongly in the context of, President Trump, who is well known by all observers, to say stuff like this. It does come across differently to me.
Okay, so I just I just want to come back in again. Sorry, I'm being motivated by time constraints now, but I just want to come back to your point. We didn't really answer my question about how you perceive All of this entanglement with Russia. He basically claims he's got nothing to do with Russia. None of his surrogates have anything to do with Russia, and then it just keeps coming out that his campaign had more contact with Russia in every conceivable way. Then anyone has ever seen from a campaign right, so they clear clearly instances now, where have been lying about it. They've made false declarations on their security forms or in most charitably incomplete declarations on their security forms, and then they have to amending the story just wondering how you perceive this and what this is just some kind of strange accident that just doesn't look good or there's just entanglement with Russia that is potentially meaningful, an undisclosed
so I'll. Give you the view from the right. The view from the right is The mainstream media has largely turned a lot of nothing into something, because if you look at if you drill down into any one of these cases. They they sound like there's something until you get to the bottom and you're. Not so sure. Just give you a few examples, let's say yeah. We know that the IP addresses for the hackers of the Dnc were Russia based. So you say, oh my god, that's pretty bad and then you hear is an expert say: well, that's how you hide where you're really coming from you just act like it's over in Russia. I have personally talked to somebody who has used that trick to use an ip address in Russia for a different project. So technically that could done so. I say to myself: ok, there might be something there. We should definitely find out what that is, but on the surface it doesn't mean anything
ok, but but what should mean something again. This is analogous to what you're tending to do with climate science, I mean so it's just like we have our intelligence are in full intelligence apparatus, declaring this happened in a bipartisan way. This happen it was Russia you're not privy to secret information right. You don't know what they know. Why are you tempted, to second guess how they have analyzed. The ip address is well, because we don't know and we I know that there are, but they are saying they know. I mean like this I'll, give you an example of where you would just never do this. I mean just imagine if NASA announced today that there was an asteroid that was on earth crossing orbit? They're really worried about it right, a you know current calculations suggest it could come within five thousand miles of earth, give or take five thousand miles and
JPL in the other labs come forward and say Jesus Christ. This is the scariest thing we've ever seen. Is a serious problem, it's all hands on deck. We gotta figure out what to do about this and you don't even own a telescope. You would not be tempted to say know. What is that I I haven't seen those calculations and I'm not so sure, and it's like you what you have to outsource some of your reality, testing to the p. We've hired to do it. For you, and in this case we've got all these intelligence agencies looking at Russia, but would you I also agree that we have notable examples where the intelligence, of course, of course, but then the remedy, for that is more and better intelligence is not the next tweet from some Who will say? I just talked to Putin and looked into his eyes, and he said he didn't do it. Let me let me finish my point 'cause. I think when you see the context, it would make more sense
So if the intelligence agencies know stuff, we don't know, and there right and russia- and this government was behind hacking. The servers that's important, and I would expect that Are- Administration would pay them back in kind and we may I don't know what that is, but the trouble is that you start lumping the things that are real or it could be real with the things that just sort of sound like they almost are kind of real and and then you start building this well, when there's so much smoke, there must be fire so that the things that are less real, like the Don Junior meeting, that really I would have taken frankly, I would have taken that meeting just to get the information in case it mattered, and then I would have turned it over. Yes, if that was the right thing to do their jobs, the FBI remember so I would have handled it the same way and I I think any season business person would also handle it the same way
Then again, you're wandering off the actual thing I'm asking about which is not so much a valuating the quality of the intelligence about Russia. It's the fact, that that we have an administration. We have trump and everyone below him consistently representing the fact that they've had no full contact with Russia or no attack that they remember with Russia, and we continue he gets found out that they've had meetings that they that they will, at the very least not been forthcoming about and which there's no credible reason to think that they would have forgot about those like what. What do you make of the fact that there's that to that level of dishonesty about a connection to Russia? So let's, let's take some of those examples where we know for a fact that there were contacts, are you thinking about generals, I'm I'm thinking about all of its sessions for land dawn June. Your investments that we know will happen that Trump is lying about it. Let the sun saying that they've they've got massive investment from Russia and we got to
saying that the right he never has russian investors and that no one from Russia and no business in Russia and all the rest, I searches of the the business stuff. I I haven't seen good good reporting on that. Yet but I'll I'll take your word, with that, but we're talking about these sessions and Flynn and Don Juniors encounters with Russians. Apparently, once we drill down, they were fairly trivial, in other words Nobody is suggesting that those things that they left off the reforms actually were material we now go again. I have to remind our listeners we're having this conversation twenty or forty eight hours after the story broke and when you're listening to this there's probably another week of report so. Who knows what is true, now: Don Junior's email exchange, which again makes it very clear what the Purpose of the meeting is, and it was not the first thing that he represented when this was starting to leak out over the weekend and you've got Jared Kushner.
And Paul Mana, for also in that meeting and also sent the email right so is the three of them is like that this is the top level people in the administration. Now going, into a meeting, that's billed as with an emissary of the russian government to get dirt on Clinton, and this is one of the meetings that they. For disclosed and claim, never had, and we've got Don Junior being interviewed about this topic that night and he's saying that there's no contact with Russian wanna scurrilous lie. This is to suggest that there could be any contact with Russia I don't know I I would have been tempted to leave that off of my form tool, it's illegal, which is hold on hold on, because because it was trivial and it turned out to be nothing and I was duped into going. So I'm not sure I would have put that in my form or even remembered it frankly hub ok well again, to watch this interview with Don Junior, which we know came immediately after this email exchange and meeting is to be in the
if someone who is absent. Lu Li lying about something. They must remember right. It's just there's no way that that this is this. This is unforgettable, and this was like me. Just getting on television saying I've never spoken to Scott Adams. In my life I mean there's just no way to do it, so he said he didn't see them say I don't I didn't watch what should you should look? pretty sure, a pretty sure say I haven't talked to anybody know, but it, but it's just the allegation was the campaign has been in dire with the russian government, and this is the russian influence here and and that example not being in dialogue with no. No, no, he was just fooling about nature of the main. Please he right. We unfortunately are at a time- and I will let our listeners adjudicate what sort of progress we made or didn't make. But the thing I most appreciate about conversation is
tone and mutual goodwill and the fact that you went down this rabbit hole with me and you know the goal here obviously is better, understanding of ourselves in the world and and how we can get to a good place and just think more of what what are in, like very fraught and very hard conversations to be had in this spirit of being willing to meet with goodwill and just hash it out I would, I would say the same. I think you're a force for good and I've been a big fan for very long time, and I I I love what you do and I love that you would have this conversation CALL Anna. I I should say there are many things I mean, though we I said this at the top, but though we sound we disagree about everything here the We would make a lateral move on to other topics. We agree about many things I know I mean just having read enough of your book. I know we agree about things like free will and the point you raised
about goals versus systems and all that's very interesting, an and could be the topic of a very fruitful conversation it I would go so so far as to say that when you read my new book, win bigly about persuasion about the election, that the gap between us will close substantial, well. I look forward to that Scott and I wish you all the best with what you're doing and just keep people your twitter feed or whatever else you want them to know about where to find you online, that's at Scott Adams says Twitter. It's got to be continued. Alright, thank you. So if you in this podcast valuable. There are many ways you can support it. You can review it on Itunes or Stitcher or wherever you happen, to listen to it, you can share it on social media, with your friends and blog about it or discuss it on your own podcast or you can or directly, and you can do this. Subscribing through my website at SAM Dot, Org we'll find subscriber only content which includes-
ask me anything episodes you also. Access to advance tickets to my live events as well streaming video of some of these events, and you also get to hear the bonus questions from any of these interviews. All of these things in more you'll find on my website at Samharris dot. Org. Thank you for your for the show.
Transcript generated on 2019-10-31.