How to Identify the Brainwashed

9 August 2016

SCOTT ADAMS’ BLOG — If you have been following this blog since last year, you know I have been saying Trump was playing 3D chess against 2D opponents. And by that I meant Trump was using powerful persuasion techniques while the rest of the field was flailing away with facts, reason, policy details, and other things that don’t change anyone’s mind.

Then, in late spring, at about the time that Bernie Sanders’ flamed out, Clinton ascended to the 3D playing field and stayed there, thanks to help – I assume – from one or more weapons-grade behavioral psychologists who joined the cause. For the past few months both candidates have operated in the third dimension, where emotion and persuasion rule, and facts are irrelevant.

Recently, Clinton has been winning in the third dimension. She abandoned her 2D rational arguments about experience and policies and started hypnotizing voters into believing they have the power to predict the future if they try hard enough. And in that imaginary future, Donald Trump is incinerating the world with nuclear fire because he can’t take advice, or he’s a narcissist, or he’s unstable, or he’s Hitler Version 2.0. This approach is excellent persuasion, and it is working for Clinton.

Don’t expect to hear anything honest or true come from the mouths of either candidate for the rest of the campaign. Both candidates are skillfully building imaginary castles and make-believe demons out of your cognitive dissonance and your confirmation bias. You’re seeing the best-of-the-best persuaders (and helpers) operating at the highest level. Facts and policies are sitting this one out.

If you are an American voter, in all likelihood you are deeply hypnotized already and don’t know it. I mean that literally. At this point, nearly every voter is in a deep hallucination. I could give you lots of reasons why I know that, but you wouldn’t believe any of them because cognitive dissonance won’t let my words penetrate your bubble of non-reality.

But I’ll try, just for fun.

If you support either Clinton or Trump for president, you are under the illusion that it makes sense to hire a 70-year old (approximately) for the most important job in the land – and one that could last eight years. That would be absurd in any other hiring context. But you are brainwashed to believe it is perfectly fine in this case. It isn’t.

Likewise, if you think either Clinton or Trump have good policy ideas, that is evidence that you are brainwashed. As a civilian, you have no idea which policies are better for the economy, or trade agreements, or immigration, or for battling ISIS. But you think you do because you have been brainwashed into believing that voters can know that sort of thing. They can’t. The candidates don’t know either.

But my favorite way to identify brainwashed citizens is by the way they start comments on social media. The brainwashed start with one of the following openers and then go on to offer either sarcasm or no argument at all.

Look for these tells to identify the brainwashed:

1. LOL

2. Wow.

3. So…

4. In other words…

5. OMG


7. (Any personal or professional insult)

8. Hitler analogy

To be clear, these are only tells if they don’t accompany some sort of rational counter-arguments or facts. If you see LOL followed by a link to a good counter-argument, or to credible studies, that’s not brainwashing. It is only when you see the tells presented as a substitute for reason that they signal brainwashing.

Another tell for brainwashing involves people hallucinating an opponent’s opinion and using sarcasm to mock their own hallucination. Example: “LOL. So you’re saying we should put all poor people in jail? Wow.”

Look for those tells in others. But more importantly, look for them in yourself.

If you have seen people use LOL on social media, you might love my book. I’m not sure why.

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