It sounds like a law firm, doesn’t it? Although, one of the partners would be a very poor choice to have as counsel in any legal matter: “Your ‘so-called’ honor, what gives you the right to sit in judgment of anyone? Maybe if you got your law degree from Trump University…in any case, I have, like a really big brain and without question I am, like the smartest person in this courtroom, if not the entire planet.”
I know, I know, this is supposed to be a blog about my adventures in China. I do have news in this regard and at the appropriate time I will write about this. But in the meantime, I feel like writing about something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. The abject ignorance and illiteracy of Donald Trump and why seemingly smart people don’t seem to notice or appear to care about these glaring deficiencies in a person who can, on a whim (or maybe having a “bad hair” day) launch an ICBM in response to a personal insult. I’m actually surprised that there aren’t more articles about this psychological pathology Trump seems to be displaying on a daily basis. So, as a public service, I am bringing this to the attention my blog readers and I do hope to see more articles about “Dunning-Kruger and Trump.”
Of course, those of you who know about the Dunning-Kruger Effect can appreciate the above scenario of Trump as a lawyer, admonishing everyone in the courtroom, as far less brilliant than he. Briefly, the Dunning-Kruger effect postulates that people with severe gaps in knowledge and expertise fail to recognize just how little they know, precisely because they lack those same cognitive abilities that would give them such an awareness. As a result they tend to overestimate their own intelligence and knowledge. One needs to be intelligent to recognize that one is not good at any given task. People who are of this ilk tend to overestimate their abilities and talents.
Prior to his “election,” there have been a few articles about this effect and why Trump is a textbook example of this. But now that this self-proclaimed genius is president, people need to become aware of this component of his psychological make-up that makes him less correct by exactly a factor of two, when compared to the proverbial “broken clock.”
This also helps explain why his followers seem unable to grasp just how ignorant he is of just about anything he opines on. Because many people have their own gaps in knowledge and understanding, they fail to recognize when Trump is making utterly incoherent statements that he seems to regard as deep insight. Consider this gem from one of his nationally televised debates with Clinton:
“We came in with the Internet. We came up with the Internet. And I think Secretary Clinton and myself would agree very much, when you look at what ISIS is doing with the Internet, they’re beating us at our own game. ISIS.
So we had to get very, very tough on cyber and cyber warfare. It is a huge problem. I have a son—he’s 10 years old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers. It’s unbelievable. The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe, it’s hardly doable. But I will say, we are not doing the job we should be doing. But that’s true throughout our whole governmental society. We have so many things that we have to do better, Lester. And certainly cyber is one of them.”
In the dictionary, the above quote should be an example of the definition of “word salad.” It’s utterly incomprehensible to think that sentient people can listen to that gibberish and conclude this person is qualified to even be a toilet attendant in an airport bathroom never mind making life and death decisions in the Oval Office. I am reminded of what Obi-Wan Kenobi observed in the first Star Wars episode (yes, I’m aware that one is “Episode IV”): “Who’s the more foolish; the fool or the fool who follows him?”
Read Dana Milbank’s recent “shoking” WaPo article and it’s easy to conclude that Trump is what we call “functionally illiterate” although we may have to revisit the definition of “functionally” as a result. As David Dunning wrote:
“To know how skilled or unskilled you are at using the rules of grammar, for instance, you must have a good working knowledge of those rules, impossible among the incompetent. Poor performers — and we are all poor performers at some things — fail to see the flaws in their thinking or the answers they lack. What’s curious is that, in many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.”
While I’m on the topic of what ails Trump’s mental state, I am even more surprised that there are no discussions about the post-fact world of Trump and the Republicans and how they correlate to Solipsism. In effect, a Solipsist views a world that is entirely subjective. There is no objective reality. Facts are whatever they say they are. What a Solipsist proclaims is true is as true as anyone else’s truth because there are no facts outside of our brains. We create objective reality and interpose it upon the blank palette of a fact-free universe. Hence, there were thousands of Muslims, who Trump saw, cheer the demise of the WTC. There were millions of instances of voter fraud that denied him his rightful win of the popular vote. Obama founded and is the leader ISIS. Torture works. And he, Donald Trump is the most popular, smartest, richest and quite simply, the greatest living human in the history of the universe! Well, why not? No one can argue with his facts. They’re his facts!
In my honest opinion, Donald Trump in the Oval Office is the most unsettling thing to ever happen to America. Everything he does, displays pure recklessness. Imagine giving an eight year old with ADHD the keys to a Ferrari and telling him “Now, don’t drive too fast.” What could possibility go wrong? Just seeing who he’s picked to run the key governmental bureaucracies tells you just how unhinged he is. This cabal is the updated version of Boy George Bush’s “The Wrecking Crew.” The Trump Administration reminds me of the denizens of the insane asylum in the 1966 movie, “King of Hearts,” except they were harmless.
The fact is, I am merely a bemused observer, living in China and yet I am practically consumed by all of this, which makes me realize how dreadful an impact he must be having on the psyche of anyone living in America who considers him/herself a “thinking person.” As I’ve mentioned previously, I am thankful I don’t have to live in the maelstrom of Trump’s America. Nonetheless, I still feel the pain he’s inflicting (channeling Bill Clinton, right now). And it’s only been three weeks! Although I’m tempted to say, “It’s going to be a long, four years,” my prediction is that there will be a “palace coup” in the next year by his underlings who will invoke the 25th Amendment as the quickest and easiest way to depose him. His financial corruption will become so blatant that it will simply be too much for all but the most deluded of his acolytes (“Hi,Sean Hannity!”) After all, Mike Pence is a loyal water carrier for the Rethuglicans and much easier to control. I’d like to say: “You read it here, first,” but I doubt it.
This reminds me of an article I recently read entitled “Do clueless people know they’re clueless?”. Dunning Kruger scientifically proves that the answer is No.
The other Trump personality trait that disturbs me is that he is a bully. He picks on people because he can. And relishes it. This is exactly the type of behavior that our schools are battling, yet our kids get to watch our president set an example every day. Does he not realize? Of course not, because it’s all about The Donald.
Brian, much as a wholeheartedly agree with you about the Donald (and so does so much of the press, particularly the NYTimes), I do my best not to read articles that will increase my anxiety about the future of our country. I will be frank and tell you I simply skimmed this latest posting. There is a lot written about what motivates the man, why he is how he is. Certainly, the Dunning-Kruger effect is as good an explanation as any. What is so scary (and embarrassing) is that this man is president of our great country. He certainly doesn’t speak for me and the people I love or am friends with. .
So, I’m personally hoping for impeachment within the first year. Of course, that gives us Mike Pence, which is another scary prospect.
In the meantime, Steve and I no longer discuss politics with friends (whomever they voted for); we stick to discussing movies seen, books read, and travel. And, of course, there’s always the weather! Just trying to keep my sanity in a crazy situation….
I’ll call soon. Take care of yourself.
Well think Lee replied ! Sorry about that but he voted for Trump ! Amy said hello we had Valentine’s Day together. Sheri’s birthday so did visit my mother went well. Your mom seems to be adjusting to her new place well
Looks like another Wedding in our family !!! We did meet Meredith’s boyfriend very nice !!! Well we will see you in April ! Going to Pittsburgh March 22 to April 4th so let me know when you are coming ?? Love Elise.