Vox Day vs. Scott Adams

Vox Day and Scott Adams are close friends, so this video came as a surprise. Scott Adams has always been sorta a moderate. I don’t think he wants to sacrifice his lucrative cartooning gig to appease a fringe. He said that supporting Trump cost him a lot of income in terms of lost speaking gigs and lost business opportunities. At the personal level, Scott has much more to lose than Vox Dax by being far-right. Second, ideologically and rhetorically, he disagrees with the far-right, often speaking out against what he perceives to be racism, extremism, and so on. Vox Raises good points about the ‘fear of being wrong’, and I agree that although Q-anon may be wrong, from a rhetorical standpoint, he helps the pro-Trump ’cause’ by boosting morale. I think Scott Adams would also agree in that Q-anon is beneficial from a persuasion standpoint, and Scott himself says that facts are not persuasive compared to emotion. But the problem is the guilt by association. Scott and probably many of his followers don’t want to be associated with the ‘fringe’, even if the fringe is on their side. Conspiracy theories, 4chan, 8chan, etc. are for basement dwellers, not ‘enlightened and respectable’ people. The funny thing is, Vox is invoking the very same pragmatic argument Jordan Peterson employs regarding the interpretation of the Bible and pragmatic truth vs. literal truth. The stuff Q-anon says may not be literally true but is pragmatically true.

Vox also says Trump is a civil nationalist, but that civic nationalism is dead.

I disagree that Trump represents a permanent paradigm shift in politics and national sentiment, but rather his win is a one-off event, for a couple reasons:

The 2016 election was close, and Trump lost the popular vote (45% versus Hillary’s 48%). If Trump’s message truly resonated with the country, we would expect, similar to Obama, Clinton, and Reagan, for him to win the popular vote. The nominee is guaranteed 50% of the vote, give or take 3-5%. Even a candidate as status-quo as Romney still got 47% of the popular vote in 2012, so Trump’s win, which was even 2% less than that of Romney, is hardly indicative or proof of a repudiation of ‘politics as usual’. Had Obama been allowed to run a 3rd time, he likely would have won. Trump’s win may have had more to do with Hillary being a lackluster candidate and low turnout, than Trump being a uniquely inspiring candidate. But one of the remarkable things about American politics is how divided the electorate is, and the disconnect between the electoral result and the popular vote. Despite Reagan’s overwhelming electoral win in 1984, winning 49 states, he only won 58% of the popular vote, so it’s not like he was that popular, despite later deification of the Reagan legacy. Same for Bill Clinton.

If he loses in 2020, the ‘establishment’ will regroup in 2024, vowing to not make the ‘mistake’ of nominating another Trump-like politician.

Trump so far has not been effective at draining the swamp and undoing the preexisting trends that were in place before he came into office, although in Trump’s defense the Mueller investigation and the power struggle within the GOP, are contributing factors for why progress at times seems frustratingly slow.