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Trump’s Foreign Policy Milestone

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A few weeks before the 2016 US presidential election, I made two predictions: Trump becoming president would not hurt the US economy and stock market much, contrary to the research ‘reports’ disseminated by the liberal media that predicted a major and immediate recession and possible bear market as a consequence of a Trump victory. I was right.

Second, in my Trump as Nixon article, contrary to the liberal media that warned Trump would hurt foreign relations and diplomatic ties, I predicted that Trump would actually strengthen ties, because foreign leaders actually respect Trump and the masculinity and authority he exudes, whereas they perceive Obama to be an effete pushover, and rightfully so. With the exception of Merkel, who is a bigger leftist than even Obama, any reciprocity between Obama and foreign leaders is staged – the respect isn’t mutual. Obama has to always initiate the dialogue and outreach, not receive it. In the Nioxn article I predicted Trump would not only be more respected than Obama but also open new trade deals and alliances, similar to how Nixon, a republican, was able to break trade barriers with the Communist Party of China.

So far, my second prediction is also coming true, although it’s still early. Trump’s Mexico and China bashing during the campaign was mostly empty threats, like trash talk or a staged wrestling match, and leaders from both sides – after the inauguration and the hype cools down – will get to business working on deals. Contrary to the liberal media, the leadership of China actually supports Trump, and Trump supports China. This is why some pundits like Ann Coulter, perceiving softness on Trump’s part, are already accusing Trump of defecting on his campaign promises. [1]

For example, despite the anti-China rhetoric during the campaign, president Xi Jinping immediately called Trump to congratulate him on his win: Despite fiery campaign rhetoric, Trump reports cordial call with China’s Xi:

“During the call, the leaders established a clear sense of mutual respect for one another, and President-elect Trump stated that he believes the two leaders will have one of the strongest relationships for both countries moving forward,” Trump’s transition team said in a statement.

Notably, Xi initiated the exchange whereas in 2008 Obama had to make the call.

Speaking of Nixon, in another diplomatic milestone, the president of Taiwan called Trump to wish him congratulations, breaking decades of silence between leadership of the two countries.

Trump’s transition team said Friday that the President-elect had chatted with Tsai, who passed along her congratulations.

“During the discussion, they noted the close economic, political, and security ties (existing) between Taiwan and the United States. President-elect Trump also congratulated President Tsai on becoming President of Taiwan earlier this year.”

The chat marks the first publicly reported call between a US President or President-elect and the leader of Taiwan since Washington established diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1979, said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Again, Trump received the call instead of initiating it. The sensationalist liberal media, not surprisingly, is calling it a foreign policy crisis. Scott Adams is right that this is nothing to worry about. They are trying to deprive Trump of everything Obama cannot take credit for.

Nigel Farage and Putin support Trump, as many already know.

And recently, Trump offered outreach to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. So much for Trump being a ‘racist’. Liberal media wrong again.

[1] Although some politicians are better than others, what has to be understood is that politics is a game. Campaign promises are not binding legal agreements. And therein lies the difference between the reactionary and the activist – the reactionary knows this, but the activist still clings to the idealism of the ‘democratic political process’ as a means of affecting meaningful change – that if only the ‘right guy’ is elected, everything will be fixed. The activist doesn’t realize that democracy and politics, in and of itself, is the problem, not the the solution. The activist goes on the media circuit and sucks-up in the hope of gaining access to ‘the Beltway’.

Liberal Media Trying to Prematurely Declare Hillary Winner

In the days following the release of Trump’s 2005 comments, something unexpected (at least for the left) happened – people suddenly stopped caring, but more importantly, Trump’s polls did not budge.

This happens all the time – the liberal media tries to fan outrage – and initially people are outraged ‘omg Trump said the p-word! He must step down’, but then it fades, much to the disappointment of the left, who hoped it would have staying power.

The comments were quickly subsumed by ‘pop culture’ and people find it funny more than offensive. Ironically, the left, through their own doing, has made the public inured to remarks that perhaps many generations ago would have been more shocking (back when Bruce and Carlin pushed the edge of the envelope), but now it’s like ‘whatever’.

And same for the media’s efforts to equate Trump with fascism, which also didn’t stick despite the left’s best efforts.

A few days ago, on the heels of Trumps ‘lackluster’ third debate performance, the media created a narrative that Trump had resigned himself to losing the election, and that Trump contesting the results should he lose, a sign of ‘instability’ or an ‘affront to democracy’ on his part:

GOP braces for Trump loss, roiled by refusal to accept election results

At charity roast, Donald Trump delivered what might as well be a campaign eulogy

Campaign eulogy? A little presumptuous you think. The left is so desperate for Trump to lose, why bother with the actual…um…election and counting of the votes. Screw that. Let’s just just say Trump lost.

The left has to invent reasons for Trump ‘falling behind’ as if these reasons are revelatory or important, when it’s old news.

Now Trump is coming back, just a day later:

Trump gains on Clinton, poll shows ‘rigged’ message resonates

Trump knew what he was doing all along…he knows that many Americans share his suspicions of the integrity of the voting process. Even Gore, a favorite of the left, contested the results of Florida in 2000.

The reality is, the people who are ‘appalled’ by Trumps’s demeanor or comments about women were never going to support him. That’s why these ‘horse race’ polls are meaningless. 95% of the country is decided, as is the case in every presidential election at this time. It boils own to the 5-10% undecided – those in swing states – who matter. Despite 24-7 media coverage, the polls have been in a 10-point band since July, which is pretty remarkable given all the stuff that has happened, and is further evidence that minds tend to be made up long before the voting actually begins:

This is just like Brexit, where for months there was only a 5-10 point difference between ‘exit’ and ‘remain’ all the way until the vote (‘exit’ won by 4 points).

This is why elections and politics is mostly a waste – inordinate amounts of time and resources are spent trying to woo no more than a million or so swing and undecided voters, who hold the ‘fate of the nation’ in their hands. This is somewhat analogous to the 1955 Issac Asimov short story Franchise, in which a a single voter “Voter of the Year” represents the entire electorate.

From Nate Silver Clinton Probably Finished Off Trump Last Night:

That’s not to say that a polling miss is impossible. Our polls-only model still gives Trump a 14 percent chance and our polls-plus forecast a 17 percent chance, although that’s before accounting for any impact of last night’s debate or some of the other circumstances I’ve described.

So a five point difference equals 82% chance of winning. Yeah, the electoral map slightly favors Hillary, but to assign an 85% chance of Trump losing based on a five to seven point difference in the polls seems absurd.

Politico, Politica

The 2016 election news cycle can be likened to a broken record attached to one off those antique megaphones, that blares the same outrage over and over, in a loop. We’re supposed to get worked-up about whether Trump or Hillary will win. The genius (or perhaps travesty) of the system are its multiple layers of redundancy that keep it self-sustaining and indestructible, no matter the outcome. You could put a wind-up doll in the Oval Office, or, as in the case of Obama, an empty suit with an earpiece and a teleprompter, and power is still conserved – but it’s not concentrated. Instead, it’s dispersed.

That’s not to say I’m agnostic about the outcome – I want Trump to win – but let’s keep our expectations realistic. In the case of Trump, congress is not like a boardroom. The odds that much will change are slim, and it will take years to get stuff through. Perhaps there will some form of immigration reform, but, again, these things take years, especially if it’s challenged by the courts.

Right now, Hillary’s health has become a concern. If elected, there’s a reasonable likelihood she may not survive office or may become incapacitated, and this makes her VP choice especially important. But for some reason, I don’t take as much delight in making fun of her as I did with Obama in 2008 and 2012, or Sanders in 2015. It seems like everyone on the ‘left’ (or at least everyone online) hates her, so her winning balkanizes and weakens the resolve of the left. Even if she wins, it’s still better than Sanders, who is much further to the left. One can make the libertarian argument that because Hillary is so rotten and avaricious, that in her effort to gain power she’ll leave everyone alone, focusing only on self-preservation and her own personal material gain (the opposite of the meddlesome do-gooder). Or that she is so inept and feeble (both mentally and physically) that she won’t do much.

Khizr Khan story: Much Ado About Nothing

The latest manufactured outrage by the left is the Khizr Khan story.

The liberal media is trying desperately to create a narrative that:

-this story is important
-everyone is outraged
-that Trump blundered, he’s ‘unstable’ and ‘unfit’ for office

The reality:

- most people won’t even notice or care. Even though the name ‘Khan’ came up several times, for wherever reason (probably due to being busy with other stuff) I never investigated it further, until today. Given that I follow the news and still missed the story, those who seldom follow the news will almost certainly miss it. Just because something is in the news doesn’t mean people will actually read it, understand it, or recall it on election day. There are numerous studies that show how people, including the educated, are unable to accurately recall current events.

- not really, especially not Trump supporters, but the left sure wants people to think there is outrage. And then there are the virtue signalers on the right (#nevertrump), too, who are feigning outrage because they don’t like Trump. 90% of politics is tribal identity.

Look how Al-Jezeeera tries to subliminally plant a narrative that there is some sort of collective, bi-partisan outrage (emphasis added):

The father of Humayun Khan, a US soldier killed in Iraq, has been praised by many for his heartfelt and pointed words denouncing Donald Trump.

In marketing, this is called ‘social proof’. The reality is that ‘many’ means liberals. Using ‘liberals’ instead of ‘many’ would erode this proof.

- Trump has a valid point in banning Muslim immigration. According to the Wm. Robert Johnston Terrorist Archive, since 2013, there have been 23 individual instances of domestic terrorism (excluding the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers). 12, more than half, of these incidents involve Muslims, despite the fact they are only 1% of the US population. Part of making America great is keeping it safe from those who threaten it. Trump is playing into tribal party politics, signaling to his base ‘ingroup’ against the ‘outgroup’. In 2015, when when he called McCain a ‘loser’…Trump’s polls actually surged afterward.

Why They Support Trump

From RICHARD FERNANDEZ of PJ Media, Divided and Under Attack:

The effect of the short term (scandal talking points) game will not be to convert any great numbers, but to whip up their respective new coalitions, which are based principally on emotions. Reason has gone out the door and will not return any time soon. The result will be an increasing and shrill polarization. The short term game will increase political hostility to levels not seen since 1968; perhaps not since the Civil War.

Guess what…political pundits say this every four years. Every election it’s a new coalition, a new paradigm. Every election we bemoan the quality of candidates, the hostility of the political process, the partisanship, irrationality, and emotion…yet the world doesn’t come to an end. Eventually, we get through it.

Pundits overestimate the power of politics: the real power is in the fed, smart and productive people, consumer spending, and the private sector. People are quietly getting rich as stocks keep going up, as everyone else loses sleep over politics. The stock market has more than doubled since Obama became president – not because Obama is a good president (he isn’t) – but due the strength of the private sector, the economic contributions of America’s best and brightest, and the propensity of Americans (and the rest of the world) to consume.

That’s where we make our money… All your BS..’oh the economy is a bubble’…get out of here with that crap. You been wrong since 2009. Get lost.

‘Horse race’ is an apt metaphor for following the polls, which have pretty much been in a tight 10-point band for the past four or so months despite all the media hype of how ‘so-and-so is pulling ahead’..really, it’s just noise:

Like Brexit polls, it’s gonna be split down the middle up until a week before the voting, and all this micro-analysis, minutia, and hair-splitting will be for naught. No matter how much you scrutinize the candidates or how bad or good a candidate is, it’s still going to be roughly 45-48% of the country that will support either candidate. The outcome of the remaining 6%, comes down, essentially, to a coin toss. There’s little rhyme or reason to predicting it. I remember the night of the Brexit polls, and everyone was certain ‘remain’ would win – before the counting had even begun. So much for that. I can say ‘Hillary is persuasive’ or ‘Trump is persuasive’ but 95-98% of the country are gonna vote for them anyway, so big deal. The real ‘skill’ of a campaign or a candidate is getting those 5-10% on the fence.

National sentiment is also important. In 1984 and 1996, probably no amount of charisma and persuasion would have saved Mondale and Dole, because the economy was strong and there was no upheaval, so people voted for a continuation of what had worked. If the economy suddenly implodes and America is struck with another major terror attack like 911, then the odds will probably suddenly shift significantly and meaningfully in Trump’s favor.

IS IT JUST ME, OR IS THE WORLD GOING CRAZY?

Maybe Trump and his supporters may seem ‘crazy’, but pundits are missing the point.

What struck me the most was this constant narrative that somehow the world has become this insane and dangerous place and we need somebody to take charge and make everything “safe” and “secure” for us again. At one point there was even a gigantic projection of the words, “Make America Safe Again” at the back of the stage.

The author is right in this regard, but although the United States is doing well according to a wide variety of metrics (steady GDP growth, booming stock market, low inflation, low violence, low crime, clean water, low infant mortality, etc.), many average Americans may not be fully participating in the process (or at least not as much as they felt they were in the 80′s and 90′s), or they feel ignored or sighted by the establishment, subjected to economic and social forces outside of their control. They perceive policy makers as showing more deference to either immigrants or moneyed elites than to just average citizens. Being patronizing (poor ol’ crazy Trump supporters too blinded by ideology and anger to know what’s good for them) , as the author seems to be, isn’t going to help his cause. Many people are simply tired of an unmovable status quo that seems to be stacked against them. Right now, there is a crisis affecting poor white Americans, that the media is largely ignoring.

A common argument is that Trump supporters are blinded by ideology.

This inattention to empirical evidence works both ways (for example, that some Trump supporter believe that world is dying, or the ‘left’ believing there is a ‘war on blacks’ by police or a campus ‘rape epidemic’, etc. ). I subscribe to the Bryan Caplan view that most voters are irrational by not knowing what is good for them (in the economic sense of the word ‘rational’) and are misinformed, but it’s better to find ‘common ground’ and ‘shared narratives‘ than to belittle or patronize those with whom we disagree with. Instead of getting mad at them or mocking them for being misinformed, try to understand why they think the way they do, and then try to find common agreement, and then maybe fix the source of disagreement.

It’s also easy to fall into the trap of overgeneralizing.

There are many Trump supporters who are optimistic about the economy and don’t subscribe to a ‘doom and gloom’ worldview, an example being Mike Cernovich, who is both a Trump supporter and an optimist. They support Trump because he’s better than the alternatives, for example, not because these voters want to bring about the ‘end times’, are delusional, or are bitter about the world. I fall into this category. Despite being an economic optimist, I support Trump over Hillary or Sanders even though I don’t agree with Trump on everything.

Of course, ‘tribal identity’ play a major role too. Many people support candidate ‘x’ because he or she is not ‘y’ – and vice versa – without having a deep understanding of the issues. This is probably 75% (a guesstimate) of the total pool of voters. Maybe another 15% are swayed by specific issues more so than party loyalty and may defect under certain circumstances. And the remaining 10% are on the fence, and have no preexisting party loyalty. This 5-10% figure agrees with polls from the 2012 presidential election:

Trump the ‘Inarticulate Orator’

Apparently Trump is an ‘inarticulate orator’, according to iSteve, implying perhaps that Trump is not very smart. I guess Obama could be an articulate orator if habitually using a teleprompter, relying on pre-screened questions, and constantly uttering ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ in your speech is considered ‘good oration’.

Donald Trump is as articulate as he needs to be to get the necessary votes to win.

His language isn’t perceptibly simpler than the other candidates, unless I suppose you’re paying very close attention.

According to this chart, Trump’s overall language (vocabulary + grammar) is just slightly below average:

Like with G. W. Bush, 95% of voters don’t care if his syntax is off or is his language is too plain. Most won’t even notice, and simplicity helps get the message across.

As for Trump’s intelligence, it’s almost impossible to extrapolate someone’s IQ from their public persona. Nixon in public acted as a populist, but in private was an intellectual. To make an assessment, I would need to know more about Trump’s private life – information such as the type of books he reads, how he talks in private, and most importantly, his formative years. Wikipedia isn’t of much help in this regard.

‘Culture Wars’ give way to ‘Shared Narratives’

As I explain in The Genius of Ross Douthat, partisanship and ‘culture wars’ have given way to ‘shared narratives and themes’ (existential matters, the economy, anxiety, distrust of elites, etc.) that cross the political aisle. This was especially evident during the 2016 GOP convention, where in his well-received speech Peter Thiel openly proclaimed being gay and implored the GOP to focus not on ‘culture’ issues (such as gender-neutral bathrooms) and instead focus on more ‘worldly’ objectives. From his speech:

But today our government is broken. Our nuclear bases still use floppy disks. Our newest fighter jets can’t even fly in the rain. And it would be kind to say the government’s software works poorly, because much of the time it doesn’t even work at all. That is a staggering decline for the country that completed the Manhattan project. We don’t accept such incompetence in Silicon Valley, and we must not accept it from our government.

Instead of going to Mars, we have invaded the Middle East. We don’t need to see Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails: her incompetence is in plain sight. She pushed for a war in Libya, and today it’s a training ground for ISIS. On this most important issue Donald Trump is right. It’s time to end the era of stupid wars and rebuild our country.

When I was a kid, the great debate was about how to defeat the Soviet Union. And we won. Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom. This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?

Of course, every American has a unique identity. I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all I am proud to be an American. I don’t pretend to agree with every plank in our party’s platform; but fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline, and nobody in this race is being honest about it except Donald Trump.

The US government being ‘broken’ is another example of a narrative that both liberals and conservatives can agree on. The same for how ‘culture wars’ (which he explicitly mentions in his speech) are a distraction, and how America should focus on ‘real problems’, not contrived ones.

His speech, arguably the highlight of the night and even overshadowing Donald Trump himself, was met by raucous cheers by the audience, indicating that perhaps the GOP has thrown in the towel on the culture wars. You see this in the online in the ‘alt right’ movement, with Milo who is openly gay as their ‘shitlord leader’. Or Donald Trump, who has positioned himself more as an ‘economic warrior’ or a ‘border-control warrior’ than a ‘culture warrior’. Hot-button issues such as abortion, gun control, contraception, gay marriage, or the ‘separation of church and state’ have been pushed to the periphery or ignored all together.

To some extent Scott also concurs, in POST-PARTISANSHIP IS HYPER-PARTISANSHIP:

The consensus explanation was that there was a moment in the 90s and early Bush administration when evangelical Christianity seemed to have a lot of political power, and secularists felt really threatened by it. This caused a lot of fear and arguments. Then everyone mostly agreed Bush was terrible, studies came out showing religion was on the decline, evangelicalism became so politically irrelevant that even the Republicans started nominating Mormons and Donald Trump, and people stopped caring so much.

Not only have they stopped caring that much about religion, but they’re willing to adopt progressive religious people as role models and generally share stories that portray religious people in a positive light. Pope Francis gets to be the same sort of Socially Approved Benevolent Wise Person as the Dalai Lama.

The Defense of Marriage Act was a big deal, until the court struck it down in 2013 and everyone seemed to stop caring. Same for Obamacare, which generated a lot of heated, emotional debate between 2009-2013, and now it’s just become background noise, something that is annoying but tolerable. Prayer in schools, ‘under god’ in the pledge of allegiance, etc. were a big deal in the early-mid 2000′s, but now hardly any discussion about those things.

Perhaps many Americans have become inured and indifferent to ‘culture-war outrage’ and ‘partisanship’ that reached a fever pitch in 2008. Tribal politics were more appealing during periods of economic crisis like in 2008 or in the early 2000′s after 911, but as the stock market keeps making new highs and companies like Google and Facebook keeps reporting blowout earnings and computer sci and math become more important than ever, people are now seeking nuance and understanding, as part of the rise of ‘shared narratives’ and intellectualism. Instead of duking it out about gender-neutral bathrooms, people are now wondering if post-scarcity is possible, if quantum physics and relativity will ever be reconciled, if wealth inequality threatens the economy, if liberal arts degrees instead of STEM are a waste of money, if the stock market is a good buy at these levels, or if the singularity is near.

The traffic of medium.com and vox.com, two sites that epitomize the post-2013 trend towards ‘wonkish’ journalism and intellectualism, have exploded in recent years:

Although Vox.com, overall, does have a liberal bias, they frequently entertain contrarian, non-PC ideas as IQ-determinism, the Revolutionary War being a bad idea, and feature-length write ups about neoreaction (NRx) and the ‘alt-right’. These contrarian articles, as well as articles that are chock-full full of data and graphs instead of emotive partisanship, and the fact that these articles always go viral, is part of bigger trend of an ‘intellectual renaissance’ of sorts unfolding in America.

Same for medium.com, another website that entertains contrarian and complicated, intellectual stuff, that is seeing massive growth since 2013 and is now one of the top-400 sites in the world according to Alexa. Just this morning I checked my email and in the spam folder are tons of articles from Medium about programming, technology, psychology, machine learning, and other smart topics. It’s not like I deliberately chose to follow bloggers who write about smart subjects – the whole site is like that.

RE: History tells us what may happen next with Brexit & Trump

Interesting article: History tells us what may happen next with Brexit & Trump

This passage stood out:

Indeed, many takes on the effects of the Black Death are that it had a positive impact in the long term. Well summed up here: “By targeting frail people of all ages, and killing them by the hundreds of thousands within an extremely short period of time, the Black Death might have represented a strong force of natural selection and removed the weakest individuals on a very broad scale within Europe

Too bad America has a system of ‘reverse Darwinism’ where billions of taxpayer dollars are spent every year keeping the least fit alive.

This article was recommended 5,000 times on Medium , which is a huge amount, indicating that topics of such as euthanasia and eugenics can gain wider acceptance if they are presented as an extension of Darwinism or in some sort of historical context, as a way of improving society.

Mugabe is a very good case in point. He whipped up national anger and hatred towards the land owning white minority (who happened to know how to run farms), and seized their land to redistribute to the people, in a great populist move which in the end unravelled the economy and farming industry and left the people in possession of land, but starving. See also the famines created by the Soviet Union, and the one caused by the Chinese Communists last century in which 20–40 million people died.

Between the Holodomor, Pol Pot’s killing fields, and Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, Communism has a significantly higher death toll than fascism, but the left tries to dust this inconvenient truth under the rug. To borrow from Land, liberalism (specifically, welfare-liberalism and revolutionary forms of liberalism) is inherently entropic in that it results in disorder, versus the ‘natural’ order of the strong and productive rising above the weak and lazy. Liberalism seeks to invert this hierarchy to create equal outcomes, even if society is worse-off as a result. Classical liberalism, although it’s still liberalism, is predicated on equal opportunity instead of equal outcomes, and is not (in theory) entropic. The reactionary argument is that classical liberalism is a stepping stone to full-blown welfare/revolutionary liberalism, and this is a valid point.

That was Hitler, but it was also Mussolini, Stalin, Putin, Mugabe, and so many more. Mugabe is a very good case in point. He whipped up national anger and hatred towards the land owning white minority (who happened to know how to run farms), and seized their land to redistribute to the people, in a great populist move which in the end unravelled the economy and farming industry and left the people in possession of land, but starving. See also the famines created by the Soviet Union, and the one caused by the Chinese Communists last century in which 20–40 million people died. It seems inconceivable that people could create a situation in which tens of millions of people die without reason, but we do it again and again.

[...]

Trump is doing this in America. Those of us with some oversight from history can see it happening. Read this brilliant, long essay in the New York magazine to understand how Plato described all this, and it is happening just as he predicted. Trump says he will Make America Great Again, when in fact America is currently great, according to pretty well any statistics.

The article however falls apart when the author tries to equate Trump’s populist support with mass-murdering genocidal dictatorships. That’s a pretty huge leap to make…and one that almost borders on paranoia, as in the case of Ross Douthat a couple days ago when he had meltdown on Twitter over Trump.

The author’s thesis is that Trump will doom the economy, but Trump will never have enough power to do that. Despite the incompetence and ineptitude of Obama, I remained bullish on the US stock market all through 2011 and up until now, because of the strength of the private sector, the efficacy of the fed, and the ingenuity of America’s best and brightest, to overcome eight years of Obama, and I was right. Not to only pick on the ‘left’, the consensus is that George W. Bush was a lousy president, but the economy survived him, too. Companies Facebook, Google, Amazon keep reporting blowout numbers quarter after quarter. The federal reserve is actually more powerful than the executive branch, and fed policy moves the markets whereas Obama almost never moves the market. Also, unless there is crisis that demands urgent action, it takes years to get policy passed through the house and senate.

But for those at the sharp end — for the thousands of Turkish teachers who just got fired, for the Turkish journalists and lawyers in prison, for the Russian dissidents in gulags, for people lying wounded in French hospitals after terrorist attacks, for those yet to fall, this will be their Somme.

The author seems confused. He is right about Mugabe’s famine, but fails to realize that liberalism is also to blame for terrorist attacks in Europe, too.

So I feel it’s all inevitable. I don’t know what it will be, but we are entering a bad phase. It will be unpleasant for those living through it, maybe even will unravel into being hellish and beyond imagination. Humans will come out the other side, recover, and move on.

If history is so certain, there is something called the NYSE and there are many people happy to take the opposite side that bet.

Here is how I would play it: if there is global upheaval, the US will still come out ahead, and yields on all duration treasury bonds will plunge to zero, so one can make money regardless of the outcome by going long America (S&P 500) and shorting Europe and emerging markets, while also going ‘long’ treasuries. Even if there is peace (which I think is still the mostly likely outcome) the S&P 500 should still outperform Europe (which is weakened by Brexit), and treasuries should do well too.

Lessons From the Trump Surge: What We Learned

1. You cannot buy victory. Although the left insists money has corrupted politics, allowing the rich to buy elections, Jeb Bush spent over $130 million on his campaign, with nothing to show for it, while Trump spent very little and still bested all of his competitors by a large margin:

2. The pundits are (almost always) wrong. With the exception of Mike and Scott, few pundits predicted the accent of Trump. Even Nate Silver got it wrong.

3. Connecting with voters is crucial. Trump’s divorces, past ‘liberal leanings’, and bankruptcies didn’t impede his ability to connect with voters, who supported Trump on one issue above all: immigration. In 2008, Obama wooed voters on a single issue: economics, specifically promising to undo the mistakes of the Bush administration. Jeb, Rubio, and Cruz were never able to forge the necessary connection with voters, preferring instead to uphold ‘safe’ status quos instead of taking risks by tapping into the fears and frustrations of voters.

4. Never apologize. Trump received flak for his comments on Mexico, Muslims, Megyn Kelly, and John McCain, but refused to recant, knowing that doing so would show weakness to his supporters and that apologizing would not change minds of those who already didn’t support him. Also this tries into ingroup/outgroup dynamics. By making these comments, Trump is signaling to like-minded supporters (ingroup) against an outgroup (‘establishment conservatives’, feminists, SJWs, mainstream media, etc).

5. Make others play your game; don’t play someone else’s game. Trump knew he would not get a fair shake at a Fox News debate, so he didn’t show up, knowing that that the ratings would plummet in his absence; consequentially, the debate was cancelled.

6. Leverage the media. Trump would quote statistics that were possibly exaggerated, knowing that the media in ‘fact checking’ would inadvertently make the subject matter of those comments the focal issue. Trump quoting statistics about black-on-black crime got the media talking about crime, for example.

7. Trump is a one-man media empire. Although the WSJ and NYT twitter accounts have 11 million and 22 million followers, respectively, their tweets on average only get 40-100 ‘engagements’ (likes, retweets) whereas Trump’s account, which has only 8 million followers, gets between 4-10 thousand engagements per tweet. This means a single Trump tweet probably has more ‘reach’ than all of the mainstream media combined. There’s no need for Trump to waste money on ineffective, costly campaign ads when Twitter and Facebook are free and have substantially more engagement and virality.

8. Related to #7, social media is taking over traditional media. From Reddit to 4chan to the ‘alt right’, Trump is like the Ron Paul of 2016, channeling internet grassroots enthusiasm, with ‘cuckservative’ as a rallying cry for millions of those on the ‘right’ who had enough of a party indifferent to the issues really important to voters (immigration).

9. Until recently, hoaxes took time to debunk, often after the damage had already been done. However, with the collective intelligence of social media and sites like Reddit, these armies of netizens are not only influencing the news cycle but are also debunking hoaxes within hours instead of days or weeks, forcing the mainstream media to quickly retract stories and issue corrections. A recent example is the Michelle Fields assault hoax, which falsely implicated Trump staffer Corey Lewandowski. Now the left is trying to create a narrative that Trump is a womanizer, in a New York Times article that too was quickly debunked as a hoax, with many comments by women taken out of context to defame Trump.

10. Trump is like Teflon. Related to #3, because Trump is so masterful at connecting with voters, he’s impervious to everything, and the media’s only recourse if to make stuff up (#9) when facts fail.

The Intellectual Solvent, Part 2

In Solvent, I posit that intellectual similarities are more important than ideological ones. A democrat and republican of equal IQ are more compatible than a conservative of a high IQ and another conservative of a low IQ. Unfortunately, I have no case studies to go by, so it’s mostly a hunch based on some empirical evidence.

Doesn’t the rise of Trump contradict the rise of centrism, a major theme of solvent? No, because centrism also includes the shift of some of the far-left to the middle, as part of the post-2013 SJW backlash.

For example, going through the medium article Trump Supporters Aren’t Stupid, I’m pleasantly surprised by the number of intellectuals on the ‘left’ that are repudiating the immature generalizations and groupthink pandering, even by their ideological cohorts, against Trump. Its intellectually lazy to dismiss your opponents as ‘stupid’, without looking at the big picture. I discuss the rise of Trump, as well as these repudiations, in more detail in In Search of Reset. It pretty much boils down to the fact the people are tired of ‘politics as usual’, and Trump and Sanders, who are opposite sides of the political spectrum, are answering to a shared frustration. And then throw in some populist issues such as immigration and the plight of the ‘working class’.

Notice the phrase ‘shared frustrations’. Free Northerner’s article The High-IQ Homo Economicus about how the ‘cognitive elite’ have created a rigged system against the ‘working poor’, and how ‘high’ and ‘low’ IQ people have different value systems, went viral not just on the ‘alt right’ but was also featured on Slate Star Codex, with commenters who are presumably on the ‘left’ agreeing or empathizing. This is similar to Scott’s How Bad Are Things article going viral and being shared on ‘alt right’ sites and forums. It’s a symbiosis powered by shared narratives. But it’s more than politics: it’s also intellectualism. ‘Free Northerner’ is perceived, rightfully, as being smart, and that allows him to be ingratiated by the opposite ‘tribe’, that also values intellect. The same is also observed with Moldbug, who is has also been ‘ingratiated’ by the ‘rational left’ despite not being a leftist. The common threads are intellect, in rejection of ‘low information’. As an addendum, Moldbug’s Reddit AMA went very well, with all his answers generating a lot of up-votes. People respect Moldbug not because they agree with him, but because he exudes intellectual honesty and authenticity, bridging ideological disagreement.

Rationalism is more empirical or theoretical than ideological, the latter which tends sometimes to be ‘low information’ and emotive. Paul Krugman, despite being a liberal, may be seen as being too beholden to ideology to appeal to the ‘rational left’. This is similar to how the ‘rational right’ tends to reject the ‘low information’ of mainstream conservatism. The ‘rational right’ and the ‘rational left’ agree in rejecting ‘low information’.

‘Low information’ can include things like preaching to the choir, excessive logical fallacies, failure to anticipate the views of your opponent, gross factual inaccuracies, emotiveness, excessive use of anecdotal evidence instead of literature, wishful thinking, pandering, inauthenticity, politically correct and or oversimplified/superficial explanations for complicated problems (reductionism), regurgitation of talking points, pablum, etc. That’s a lot and we’re probably all guilty of it at some point.