This morning I woke up to see the following trending on Twitter (an excellent way to get inside people’s thoughts): “5 Reasons to Vote Trump.” The usual word-think was plastered all over the feed, but the trend began with a blog post from a Carlos Slim blogger called the same thing.
Did you know that Carlos Slim’s blog lost 95.7% of its quarter-on-quarter profits? That’s why I feel comfortable in linking to it. It’s a form of pity.
The blog post is the kind of unhinged snark that you’d expect, full of hallucinations of the darkest fantasies. However, the most crucial part was the fifth point, talking about the “reptilian brain” and “the lizard in our heads.”
As I’ve been saying for months, and others like Scott Adams have been saying before me, human beings are almost entirely irrational almost all of the time. Facts largely don’t matter in making decisions like voting or buying things. We just like to pretend they do. That’s rationalization after the basic decision has already been made.
Carlos Slim’s blogger concludes:
This historic election thus presents a choice: To decide how to cast our ballots, do we rely upon our reptilian brains or our human brains? To put it another way: Are we fearful, instinctive reptiles? Or nuanced, reasoning humans?
This, in combination with the title of the blog post, is the tell for a supreme manifestation of cognitive dissonance in action.
For those of you that may not know, cognitive dissonance is the mental state of having inconsistent beliefs or ideas. Human beings love consistency, even if that “consistency” makes no logical sense. The feeling of consistency is what matters. For instance, one tried and true sales technique is to promote your product or service as being consistent with a commitment your prospect made when first hearing your pitch, otherwise, if they fail to buy, your prospects will experience cognitive dissonance. Even if it makes no logical sense, human beings need to feel closure and completeness. Introducing your product as a solution to cognitive dissonance, as a way to resolve internal contradictions, is a great way to sell.
Here’s a video for more about cognitive dissonance.
When it comes to Carlos Slim’s blogger, he’s experiencing a state of cognitive dissonance because new facts are coming to light that deeply contradict his dearly-held beliefs. He believed that Donald Trump had no chance of winning the election because of all those nasty hallucinations he attacks in his blog post. He also believed that Hillary Clinton was measured and whatever.
When none of that mattered, when Hillary Clinton’s legal problems experienced a supervolcanic eruption and Trump’s message really began to stick, when it looked like Donald Trump not only was here to stay but that he would win, Carlos Slim’s blogger experienced cognitive dissonance. He was sure that the odious Donald Trump would be rejected overwhelmingly in favor of “the most qualified candidate ever” but the facts aren’t bearing that out.
So he experiences cognitive dissonance. He has to resolve this somehow. He resolves it by saying all Donald Trump voters are debased humans guided by their “lizard brains.” Literally, he says that Donald Trump voters are reptiles. This allows him to keep the illusion that he’s rational and enlightened, on the right side, human, safely above the benighted reptiles. Given this, he’s now able to admit that Donald Trump could win, something he probably assiduously denied until last Friday. This is where the title of the blog post, “5 Reasons to Vote Trump” comes in, and it’s where he implicitly admits defeat. He has accepted that Donald Trump can very well win, and may even be favored. This is the way he resolves his cognitive dissonance.
What he doesn’t tell you, and what he can’t accept, is that he’s just as irrational as all the rest of them. When was the last time Hillary Clinton appealed to her “policies” and “experience” over the “lizard brain” sales pitches of “dark” and “dangerous?” I can’t remember either. Barack Obama, once again campaigning for Hillary Clinton, essentially told voters to vote for her or they’re “sexist.” Is this “rational?” Or is it designed to trigger cognitive dissonance, because most people would feel uncomfortable being “sexist?”
Barack Obama knows what he’s doing.
All politicians play on the “lizard brain.”
Donald Trump just does it better than the rest of them. That’s ultimately why Carlos Slim’s blogger is so mad. And it’s how you know an election’s been lost.
The Democrats had the chance to nominate Bernie Sanders and win in a landslide after that tape came out. Instead, they and their media courtiers decided to collude to nominate the most uncharismatic, least aspirational, and most corrupt candidate of modern times. Look for the cognitive dissonance to get that much worse in the coming days to make their awful choice somehow consistent with the facts.