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How Many Trump Votes Did I Cause?

I asked on Periscope today how many people used the persuasion I taught them in my blog to convert people to Trump voters. I was shocked that so many people had converted not just one friend but sometimes several or more. So I did a quick Twitter poll to ask this same question. Obviously this is not a scientific poll, but do me a favor in the comments and make your own estimate of how many voters this might extrapolate to.

For readers of my blog only, how many people did you convert to Trump voters because of something I taught you? #Trump

— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) December 20, 2016

You might enjoy my book because hyperbole is persuasive even when it isn’t true and people like my book more than they like sex.

––

Have you downloaded my startup’s app called WhenHub yet? It’s a must-have for holiday get-togethers. No more frustrating texts back and forth asking “Where are you???” (The geostreaming in the app is always temporary so you can’t later be tracked.)

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

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The Wikileaks Persuasion You Missed

Do you remember when Wikileaks first started releasing the hacked emails from the DNC? Julian Assange told us the good stuff was coming later. Then some more emails were released, but still no good stuff. Just stuff. 

But the really, really good stuff was coming, Assange assured us. Not this next release perhaps, but soon. Just wait.

And then it never came. There was no good stuff in those emails. There was plenty of little stuff. But nothing that moves elections.

Time passes. Memories fade.

If you were to ask the average voter whether the Wikileaks made a big difference to the outcome, many would say yes. But that’s probably a false memory triggered by Assange assuring us that big stuff was coming. We remember him telling us that. So it must have happened, right?

You can test for this false memory on your own. Ask a coworker or family member if they think the Wikileaks email releases made a difference to the election. If they say yes, ask which email topic in particular was the bad one. Then enjoy the magical sound of crickets.

The most likely outcome of that conversation is that your subject will try to conflate the Wikileaks emails with Clinton’s unsecured server issue. Let me know if that happens when you try it.

You have to give Assange credit for this persuasion. He made the public remember something that didn’t happen.

You might recall that i predicted that the emails released by Wikileaks would be a big nothing. But what I missed is that Assange turned that nothing into a something in our memories by making us remember that something big was coming. Even though it didn’t. That’s good persuasion.

You might like my book because New Year’s Day falls on January 1st this year.

Have you downloaded my startup’s app called WhenHub yet? It’s a must-have for holiday get-togethers. No more frustrating texts back and forth asking “Where are you???” (The geostreaming in the app is always temporary so you can’t later be tracked.)

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

#Wikileaks #Clinton #Trump

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Watching the Climate Science Bubbles from the Outside

I often hear from people who are on one side or the other on the topic of climate change. And I think I spotted a new cognitive phenomenon that might not have a name.* I’ll call it cognitive blindness, defined as the inability to see the strong form of the other side of a debate. 

The setup for cognitive blindness looks like this:

1. An issue has the public divided into two sides.

2. You read an article that agrees with your side and provides solid evidence to support it. That article mentions the argument on the other side in summary form but dismisses it as unworthy of consideration.

3. You remember (falsely) having seen both sides of the argument. What you really saw was one side of the argument plus a misleading summary of the other side.

4. When someone sends you links to better arguments on the other side you skip them because you think you already know what they will say, and you assume it must be nonsense. For all practical purposes you are blind to the other argument. It isn’t that you disagree with the strong form of the argument on the other side so much as you don’t know it exists no matter how many times it is put right in front of you.

I noticed this phenomenon when I started blogging about climate change. The citizens who side with the majority of scientists in saying climate change is influenced by humans and the prediction models about doom are accurate have – as far as I can tell – never seen the strong versions of the argument on the other side. (I know because I ask about it.) They have only seen the weak versions presented by their own side. And the weak version of the argument goes like this: “The other side are science deniers and quacks.”

My bottom-line belief about climate science is that non-scientists such as myself have no reliable way to evaluate any of this stuff. Our brains and experience are not up to the task. When I apply my tiny brain to sniffing out the truth about climate science I see rock-solid arguments on both sides of the debate. 

Trained scientists might be able to sort out the truth from the B.S. in climate change science, although I’m skeptical about that too. But non-scientists have no chance whatsoever to discern which side is right. I consider myself to be bright and well-educated, and from my perspective both sides of the debate are 100% persuasive if you look at them in isolation. And apparently that’s what most citizens do. 

The best way to know if a non-scientist is under-informed is to ask if they have a firm opinion on climate change. If that firm opinion is anything but “I don’t know” it probably means they are experiencing cognitive blindness about the existence of a strong argument on the other side.

Some people deal with the uncertainty around the climate prediction models by saying that even if there is only a tiny risk of global catastrophe, we still need to do all we can to avoid it. But that isn’t as wise as it first sounds. Your life is full of worst-case scenarios that you ignore because you have to. You can’t live a life that manages to the worst-case scenario or else you would never have sex, apply for a job, or drive your car. The worst-case scenario for you EVERY SINGLE DAY involves you getting zika, AIDS, and bird flu right before the brakes on your car fail and you plunge into a ravine.

Does the worst-case scenario on climate change sound catastrophic to me? Absolutely. But so does the worst-case scenario for EVERYTHING. You can’t manage your life to the worst-case scenario. That would be no life at all.

The same applies to governments. Nearly everything a government does has a catastrophic risk in one way or another. Would it make sense to put full effort into avoiding all the imagined worst cases? If we did, we’d be wearing gas masks and protective bubble wrap instead of clothing.

But what if the worst-case scenario is really, really likely, as in the case of climate change disaster? In that case, shouldn’t you manage to the worst case? Well, yes, but only if you are sure the risk is as high as you think. And I don’t see any way a non-scientist could be exposed to both sides of the argument and assign a risk to it.

Given the wildly different assessments of climate change risks within the non-scientist community, perhaps we need some sort of insurance/betting market. That would allow the climate science alarmists to buy “insurance” from the climate science skeptics. That way if the climate goes bad at least the alarmists will have extra cash to build their underground homes. And that cash will come out of the pockets of the science-deniers. Sweet!

But if the deniers are right, and they want to be rewarded by the alarmists for their rightness, the insurance/betting market would make that possible.

It would also be fascinating to see where the public put the betting odds for climate science. Would people expose themselves to both sides of the debate before betting?

*It probably does have a name. It’s a mix of cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias at the least, but a special case in my opinion.

You might like my book because Christmas is on December 25th.

Have you downloaded my startup’s app called WhenHub yet? It’s a must-have for holiday get-togethers. No more frustrating texts back and forth asking “Where are you???” (The geostreaming in the app is always temporary so you can’t later be tracked.)

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

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Persuasion and ISIS

Experts say ISIS can’t be beaten by military means alone. You have to get to the “deep” causes. Here are two experts saying just that, including a former head of the CIA. The problem is that observers seem to have different ideas of what is at the root of it all.

According to the article, many people believe the underlying problem is “chaos, poor governance, and poverty.” But that framing does a poor job of explaining why – as the article claims – Arab countries are 5% of the population of the world but produce 50% of the terror acts. Why are the other places with the same poor conditions NOT becoming terrorists at the same rate? 

Former CIA director Hayden says the fight has to be on “ideological” grounds, the way communism was eventually defeated. He refers to that as the “deep fight” and points out that Westerners have no credibility in the ideological framing of either Islamic beliefs or terrorist beliefs. We can’t influence them from the inside where it matters because we’re not on the inside.

If you have been reading my blog for the past year, allow me to translate what I just said into persuasion language. What the former head of the CIA is saying is that we don’t have the opportunity for “pacing and leading” the terrorists because we are too different from the start. To influence people at the “deep” level it helps to first become like them, to build trust and credibility. Later perhaps you can lead them to a better place, once they recognize you as one of their own.

That’s what Nixon did when he went to China. First he paced Americans who were distrustful of China until he was just like them. Then he visited China – a big deal at the time – and led Americans to his position of friendly relations.

Likewise, Trump paced the most hardcore Republican base in the primaries before leading them to moderation on immigration, Obamacare repeal, waterboarding, and more. Same persuasion method as Nixon. 

But we have no pacing and leading strategy for ISIS because there is no way for non-terrorists to act just like terrorists before leading them somewhere better. That path is closed off. We need a different type of persuasion.

So what would Trump, the Master Persuader, do in a situation in which pacing and leading are not available as tools? I think he would look to the physical environment for his persuasion. He would look to manipulate the physical situation around ISIS like it was the user interface to their brains. The tell for this brand of persuasion is that there would be major physical activity in ISIS territory that was not specifically military. Look for the Master Persuader to change something large and physical in their environment that they can’t ignore. That’s the persuasion play in disguise.

And guess what? Trump has been telling you his persuasion play against ISIS for over a year. You didn’t recognize it because it is disguised as something else.

And guess what else? I have been describing that same persuasion play against ISIS to you for over two years. Based on the comments in my blog at the time, you found my suggestions to be unrealistic and simplistic. But the context has changed. You watched me predict the outcome of the election using the Persuasion Filter, getting it right while the experts got it wrong. Now my crazy ideas from the past have a new life because you have to ask yourself if any other ridiculous things I have blogged about might also be correct. This is one of those cases. 

I called my idea for a persuasion play against ISIS a “filter fence.” Trump calls his persuasion play “safe zones.” Same thing. 

The reason you don’t recognize Trump’s plan as persuasion is that he’s disguised it as humanitarian assistance to the innocent. That’s how you start. But once the safe zones are up and running, the persuasion begins. 

Safe zones would be a big deal to the psychology of the region. It would give hope to the innocent. It would give ISIS a new thing to worry about. It would be large and physical and influence lots of things around it. But most of all – and this is the important part – it creates a mental categorization that has in one bucket the people who are in the safe zone and in the other bucket the people who are not. And the people inside will probably mostly be women and children – also known as the future of ISIS.

The long term persuasion play is to slowly drain ISIS of any illusion that someday they will be happily making love to their multiple wives while their many children are studying the holy scriptures. You ruin that illusion by putting the women and children from ISIS territory in the safe zone, unavailable to the adult men of ISIS now or later. Once ISIS has been reduced to nothing but horny, angry men with no biological future, they will turn on each other because all of that energy has to go somewhere. Here I’m assuming the border countries have their own walls to keep ISIS in. That’s happening as we speak.

Humans are biological entities before they are mental entities. Our biology influences our minds. And our most important biological imperative is to reproduce. When ISIS sees their biological future escaping to safe zones it will leave them with nothing. Their caliphate will become a jail.

Once you have the safe zones up and running then you also have to do something about the drug that ISIS gives their fighters. It’s called Captagon, or in some cases it might be meth by another name. Apparently that’s the secret ingredient to their violent ways. The persuasion play in this case is to create mountains of counterfeit Captagon pills with either too-weak, too-strong, or different chemistry. You want ISIS to no longer trust their drug sources. That will get in their heads too.

And that’s how you beat ISIS with persuasion.

People keep telling me that my book dramatically improved their lives. Others say it is a thoughtful gift. You might like it because of one of those reasons.

Have you downloaded my startup’s app called WhenHub yet? It’s a must-have for holiday get-togethers. No more frustrating texts back and forth asking “Where are you???” (The geostreaming in the app is always temporary so you can’t later be tracked.)

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

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The Campaign Hallucinations Are Lifting

About half of the citizens of the United States think they elected a president who will “drain the swamp” in Washington DC and negotiate good trade deals for the public. But the other half believes they are living in 1930s Germany and the next Hitler just came to office. Those are very different movies, yet we all sit in the same theater at the same time. It’s trippy.

As I often say, the human brain didn’t evolve to give us a clear understanding of our reality because we don’t need it to survive as a species. All we need to do is survive long enough to procreate. As long as we can still make babies, it doesn’t matter that we are all experiencing different movies. You can be living in 1930s Germany in your movie and I can be living in 2016 trying to make America Great again, yet the population of humans is still growing. So living in different movies doesn’t matter as much as you’d think.

Immediately after the election was decided, protests against Trump popped up in several cities. Protesting makes perfect sense if you think Hitler just came to power in your country. You must stop Hitler!

But the days went by and the protests fizzled out. 

Huh?

If you REALLY believe Hitler just came to power in the United States, why would you stop protesting? What are you doing that is more important than stopping Hitler?????????

So why did the protests fizzle out? I find this question fascinating. So should you. Here are some explanations I can imagine:

1. Protesters decided that accepting Hitler as their leader was better than missing classes or skipping work. 

or…

2. Protesters have now seen enough counter-evidence to diminish their hallucination of living in 1930s Germany.

I think the better explanation is the second one. Look at how much counter-evidence is accumulating:

1. Anti-Trump Republicans are making peace and supporting Trump. Would they do that if they thought he was Hitler?

2. Foreign leaders show every sign of being willing and able to work with Trump. Wouldn’t they be yelling “Hitler!” if they thought he was one?

3. Trump continues to disavow White Nationalists when asked. Would Hitler do that?

4. Trump has moderated his more extreme views on immigration, waterboarding, and trying to jail Clinton. That doesn’t sound very Hitlerish.

5. Trump’s public demeanor has transformed from campaign mode to governing mode. He looks more serious now. 

6. A year ago it would have seemed ridiculous for a president to be tweeting provocative things several times a day. But now it looks almost normal. We even see the benefit of it because the media is a filter as much as a source of information.

7. Trump keeps meeting with people that opposed him, and both sides seem pleased with those meetings. That isn’t very Hitlerish.

8. Trump is non-interventionist. That doesn’t seem very Hitlerish.

9. Trump has done a better job of managing the county’s expectations and optimism than any prior president-elect. Consumer confidence and the stock market are up. It’s hard to dislike any of that.

10. Trump keeps demonstrating that he likes black people. Kanye West is the latest example. Football great Jim Brown also met with Trump and had good things to say. None of that makes sense if you think Trump is a racist.

11. Trump’s cabinet picks might not please everyone, but they are serious people for serious jobs. 

Every time Trump does something reasonable – and he is doing a lot of that now – the hallucination of living in 1930s Germany weakens. I’d say it’s about half gone already.

— WhenHub App —

People are telling me they love my startup’s new app for geostreaming your location to a friend/client/coworker as you approach your meeting spot. It’s like the Uber app without the Uber car. (And the geostreaming is temporary, for privacy.) Here are links:

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

image

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Remind Me Why Russia is Our Adversary?

One way to look at the recent election in the United States is that Russia (allegedly) subverted our democratic process to ensure that Trump would win. The facts seem to point in that general direction, although we can’t know how much influence Russia really had.

Another way to look at the election is that Russia did a big favor for the American public by preventing Clinton from becoming president. That interpretation depends entirely on your opinion of Clinton. But it too fits the facts. One assumes Russia’s motives were to help Russia, not the United States. But we might have benefitted anyway.

Clinton saw Russia as an adversary. I confess my ignorance on this topic – and maybe you can set me straight in the comments – because I can’t think of any reason Russia and the United States should be considered natural enemies. Both countries want to defeat ISIS. Both countries want peace and prosperity. Neither claims ownership of any of the other’s territory. I see the prospect of good relations with Russia as a way to make some money for both countries and defeat ISIS too. That doesn’t seem so bad.

If Russia did interfere with our elections in a meaningful way, obviously that is a hole we need to plug. But this is an unusual situation because their alleged actions look more like the work of a sneaky ally than an enemy. The likely outcome of their alleged hacking is that we’ll have better relations with a major superpower and a better chance of defeating ISIS. 

One trick of persuasion that I have sometimes used involves treating an adversary like a friend until they turn into a friend. I’ve never seen it done on a country-to-country basis, but it works great in person. If you tell someone you are on their side, and you act that way, it is hard for them to keep you on the enemy list. I don’t know if this method of persuasion works for countries, but this is the perfect place to test it. 

Obviously this style of persuasion would not work in situations where there is something tangible at stake, such as competing claims for the same territory. But Russia and the United States have more interests in common than in conflict. In this particular case, Trump can change the frame from adversary to ally if he chooses to do so. And that would probably have the effect of making all parties act that way.

Speaking of persuasion, I noticed I sell more books when I include this photo.

See more Kristina Basham on Instagram here.

— WhenHub App —

I’m getting great feedback on my startup’s new app for geostreaming your location to a friend/client/coworker as you approach your meeting spot. It’s like the Uber app without the Uber car. Here are links:

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

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More Start-Ups That Could Lower Healthcare Costs

I’ve been working with the UC Berkeley start-up ecosystem – the largest in the world – to help improve their odds of success. The stakes are high. Consider the healthcare field alone, and how much can be saved in terms of both lives and money. I included at the bottom of this post a snapshot of some start-ups coming out of that ecosystem. 

Now imagine how many more healthcare start-ups are popping up all over the country. That is a lot of stranded potential unless these innovations can make it to market. The hardest challenges are getting funding and, obviously, the FDA approval. That’s a tough road. I’m doing my part today to make that easier by giving them some attention here.

The path to market for these innovations might be a lot easier if Trump appoints someone like Jim O’Neill to head the FDA. O’Neill would like to speed up the approval process by using a more rational risk-management model. The opportunity for improvement is gigantic.

Here are just a few healthcare start-ups to give you an idea of the potential.

Healthcare Start-Ups out of UC Berkeley’s Ecosystem

Dot Labs Non-invasive diagnostic test for endometriosis. 

Stroll Health enables ambulatory clinicians to make personalized, value-based referrals. Stroll processes each patient through our intelligence algorithm using millions of healthcare data to show out-of-pocket costs for each location and service in real time. Physicians and patients select and electronically order through Stroll, and we follow through to make sure medically necessary care happens.  

Angilytics provides wearable sensors and data analytics for ultimate hypertension management. 

NestSense
Safety Solutions for managed dementia care 

SwiftMotion
Solutions to assess risks of occupational injuries. 

iTreatMD provides a point of care app that guides clinicians with a checklist to treat diseases, and
generates encounter notes for clinicians and personalized treatment plan for patients. 

ReThink Medical produces a remote patient physiologic monitor for predicting heart failure related
hospitalizations, enabling preventative interventions.  

First Derm is a mobile app that provides users with personalized dermatology information. 

Ava is on a mission to empower 360 million people with hearing loss to follow group conversations
again, using state-of-the-art mobile and speech technologies. We connect together devices in a room to
show the user who says what and when, in less than a second. 

KNOX Medical Diagnostics:
Mismanagement of asthma leads to hospitalizations and ED visits. Traditional at-home pulmonary
function tests are inaccurate. On-site tests are only available in specialized locations and not readily
accessible. KNOX has developed Spiritus, a reliable and convenient asthma management tool for
families, which includes a portable device that asthmatic kids breathe into to capture consistent
information regarding lung function. Parents can view and immediately act upon the results. Information
sent to the iOS app is saved to SaaS servers for physicians to track patients’ asthma severity in-between
office visits. 

BioInspira is a sensor platform startup. At BioInspira, we are advancing airborne chemicals and
pathogens detection for growing industrial and healthcare needs. Our first product is a bio-based natural
gas sensor that is 1000x more sensitive, 100x smaller and 100x lower in cost than current sensors. 

You can learn more about UC Berkeley-related start-ups at BerkeleyStartupNetwork.com. (Site is new, so some start-ups will not be listed yet.)

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Fake News Versus Misleading News

I’m watching the mainstream media have fits over so-called “fake news.” The theme they are pushing is that fake news stories are more damaging to society than normal news that includes the following:

1. True stories told out of context to intentionally mislead.

2. Biased reporting that the media doesn’t realize is biased.

3. Giving a spotlight to people who are lying.

4. Misleading by putting emphasis on some things and not others.

5. True stories too complicated for the public to understand.

6. True reports of sources that happen to be lying but we don’t know it. (That gives you the Iraq war, for example.)

7. Having boths sides represented when one side is clearly lying or wrong.

8. Simplification to the point of misleading.

9. Showing clear disdain for the opinions on one side but not the other.

I could go on. But I think you get the point. Most humans live the illusion that people can do a good job of sorting out truth from fiction if only they have good data. But that’s only true for trivial decisions with no emotional content. For any decision that matters, facts are irrelevant to decision-making. Humans choose their paths based on how they feel. Later they rationalize their decisions. The human mind doesn’t make decisions based on facts and reason. We only think we do. 

Does fake news matter in a world in which humans don’t use facts and reason to make decisions in the first place? Well, yes and no.

Obviously fake news can change people’s minds and influence the real world. If that influence causes people to act in some dangerous or suboptimal way, we can say the fake news was bad.

But what if the fake news is created with good intentions? For example, suppose you believed that Donald Trump would be the best president and you knew that facts and reason don’t change minds as well as fake news. In that situation you might create a fake news story that helps your candidate win, but you would be doing so in the interest of society.

In my worldview – that of a hypnotist and persuader – all news is persuasion, and it is presented for that purpose even if the presenters don’t think of it that way. According to this worldview, what matters is the effectiveness of the fake news and whether it is intended for the public good or just to generate click-ad revenue for the creator. Fake news is neither good nor bad. It is a tool of persuasion, just like mainstream news that can be either based on truth or not. In both cases what matters is how people are influenced. The underlying truth is generally beyond the public’s grasp. And it doesn’t matter most of the time.

if you live in the two-dimensional world where you still think truth and facts and reason matter to decisions, you probably think fake news is a problem. But in the 3rd dimension – where persuasion matters and reason is an illusion – fake news is a tool. And a tool can be used for good or evil.

You might like my book because that’s the kind of person you are.

— Are You Divorced? —

If you’re a divorced parent with shared custody of kids, you might love my start-up’s free app. It’s like the Uber app without the Uber car, for all those times you have to meet each other to exchange the kids. No more texting “Where are you” and asking about timing while one or both of you are driving. The app can even prompt you to use it at the right times based on your custody schedule.

And if you can’t get your ex to use the app, just have one of your kids that has a phone fire up the app while riding with the parent. Same result.

This is just one of thousands of uses for the WhenHub app. You’ll think of your own.

Here are links:

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

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The Time That Reality Forked Right in Front of You

We’re living in one of the most interesting times in human history. We just witnessed reality forking into two separate paths right in front of us.

As regular readers of this blog know, my background in hypnosis and persuasion has erased my belief that some people can see reality for what it is and some cannot. My worldview is that the human brain did not evolve to understand reality on any deep level because we don’t need that ability to survive and reproduce. If your illusion keeps you alive, it’s good enough. And that brings me to today.

The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States has effectively forked reality into two versions that are running in parallel. Clinton’s supporters believe they are living in a world that is a repeat of 1930s Germany, with Trump playing the part of Adolf Hitler. See this reaction for a typical example.

Meanwhile, the other half of the country believes we elected a highly-capable populist who will “drain the swamp” and bring a business approach to government along with greater prosperity.

So how do you know which reality is the real one? The fast answer is that you can’t know. As I said, the human brain did not evolve to understand reality. But just for fun and education, I’ll tell you the best way dig down to the next layer of truth: Look for the Cognitive Dissonance trigger.

In this case, Clinton supporters were persuaded to believe that Trump is OBVIOUSLY the next coming of Hitler. Or maybe worse because Trump is also rude and sexist. If that version of reality is true, Trump could not have been elected president. But he was. That’s the trigger for cognitive dissonance: two observations that don’t fit together.

How can it simultaneously be true that Trump is OBVIOUSLY the next Hitler while it is also true that half the country didn’t notice? There are at least three ways to explain-away this dissonance. Maybe…

  • Half the country are sexist, racist monsters too, so they like Trump.

or…

  • Half the country is stupid and can’t identify a Hitler that is right in front of them.

or…

  • Clinton supporters have been duped into believing something ridiculous about Trump.

Given this set-up, most normal human minds would assume the problem was with other people. That’s how cognitive dissonance works. We like to think we are rational while others are not. So you would expect in this situation that Clinton supporters would enter a type of dream state in which they interpret their reality as being surrounded by racist-sexist-stupid citizens who just elected a genocidal dictator. They have to enter this dream because the only alternative involves believing that they themselves are gullible and deluded. 

Trump supporters have no such trigger for cognitive dissonance in this particular case because their candidate won. Their worldview is consistent. They think Trump is the most capable candidate and enough people recognized that fact to make him president. Most of these people believe Trump is not a racist and they believe they are not racists either (or not much anyway). Nothing about a Trump-supporter’s experience would trigger cognitive dissonance. But Clinton supporters have a huge trigger for cognitive dissonance, so it is more likely they entered a new illusion in this particular case. 

For further evidence that the anti-Trumpers are living in an illusion, consider that the street protests against Trump fizzled out. That means the illusion of Trump-as-Hitler is already starting to fade. You also see it in the surging stock market and in the sharp uptick in citizen confidence in the economy. 

The Hitler illusion will continue to fade. But for now the citizens of the United States live in two separate realities. As a hypnotist, I doubt any of us can see reality for what it is. My worldview is that we were in one kind of illusion before and some of us moved to another. When it comes to understanding reality, the best we can do is pick a version that does a good job predicting.

My view of reality predicts that the Hitler illusion will wear off in time because Trump keeps refusing to do Hitler-like things. Check my prediction at the end of Trump’s term. I think you’ll see his popularity continue to improve from here.

My start-up, WhenHub, allows you to create visualizations of events over time. Here are a few of the visualization options. Below that is a timeline of my life that I am playing with, updating as I have time.

image

And here’s a timeline of some major events in my life. I left out the personal stuff. Expand the WhenCast to full screen to play. See icon on bottom right of the frame.

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Persuasion Reading List – Updated

check out the new Persuasion Reading List.

This is an example of a WhenCast – a visualization of events over time, created in the studio at WhenHub.com, my start-up. In this case I organized The Persuasion Reading List into a college course s…

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Watching Trump Create Money from Nothing

A new CNBC poll shows that optimism in the economy has surged since Trump got elected. That’s how Trump creates money from nothing. Literally.

The economy runs on optimism. The more you have, the better your economy will be, all other things being equal. And Trump just cranked up the optimism in a way that history has rarely seen. The stock market is up too, as you would expect when you have more optimism.

Optimistic business owners invest today because they expect tomorrow to be better. That investment creates jobs and stimulates the economy, creating a self-fulfilling path to prosperity. Individual companies can fail and succeed as usual, but the economy as a whole is likely to do well when optimism is high.

In the ancient world, the big problem was resources, not optimism. You didn’t always have access to raw materials, the right kind of labor, or markets. But in 2016 we can generally find anything we need and move anything to anywhere. The physical element of economics is largely solved. All that matters today is how we think about the economy. That’s the key element.

President Obama understood psychology and economics too. His cool, rational demeanor was the perfect leadership style to get us out of the 2009 downturn. He didn’t panic, so we didn’t either. And panic was the only thing that could have destroyed the world economy. We had all the resources and intelligence we needed. All we had to get right was the mood. And Obama delivered it. 

Today the economy is stronger. Trump’s brand of optimism is exactly the right fit for this situation. If we believe things will get better in a Trump administration – and apparently the public does believe that – the belief itself will make it happen.

The average citizen doesn’t understand economics. We don’t understand the Federal Reserve, currency fluctuations, trade deals, or much else in that field. But when we see Trump and Pence negotiate with Carrier and Ford to keep jobs, we understand that. When Trump says he will negotiate with Boeing to lower the cost of Air Force One, we get that.

Trump, the Master Persuader, is rewiring our brains in real time – while we are watching him do it. He wants us to be optimistic about the economy, so he finds the right buttons (Ford, Carrier, Boeing) and he pushes them. He looks for situations that have simplicity and a visual element. It is easy for people to imagine a Ford automobile, a Carrier air conditioner, a factory, a worker, an airplane, and Mexico. Every element of these stories is visual. That’s not an accident. That is technique.

And as I explained to you in a prior post, Trump and Pence are playing what I call the “New CEO Move.” That involves moving fast and decisively on day one to set the mood for the rest of their term. So far they have set the mood as aggressive negotiators on behalf of the country, clawing and fighting for every American job. That is persuasion perfection. I’m not a presidential historian, but I’ll bet Trump has handled the president-elect phase better than any prior president of the United States. And probably better than any leader-elect anywhere, at any time. Trump is managing our expectations directly. And he’s nailing it.

At the same time Trump and Pence are giving a master class in how to do the presidency right, their American critics are under the hallucination that we are living in some sort of 1930s Germany situation where Hitler just came to power. That delusion is the weapon of mass destruction left behind by the Clinton campaign that sold that version of reality to its followers. It was a dangerous strategy because the psychological “bomb” could only deactivate itself if Clinton won the election. Then she didn’t. So it falls to Trump to deactivate the delusion, which he has already started to do. Every time Trump acts sane, reasonable, and inclusive, the 1930s Germany delusion gets a bit weaker. A strong economy will weaken the Hitler hallucination as well. 

On Climate Change

Trump is also well on the way to changing the public’s thinking on climate change. Trump met with Al Gore, and he’s meeting with climate activist and actor Leonardo DiCaprio on the topic. Trump is looking for common ground and education on the topic, I assume, but he is almost certainly also looking for the persuasion buttons. And this is a hard one.

The simple, visual persuasion favors the climate alarmists. They can point to rising seas, super hurricanes, and droughts. We can imagine all of that stuff and it scares us. Fear plus a visual element make for the strongest persuasion.

On the other side of the debate there is no visual persuasion available. Normal weather is just normal. And since you can’t “prove a negative,” there is no way to prove human activity and C02 production will NOT be the tipping factor that ends civilization.

If you think many people believe in climate science predictions because of the science and the facts, you don’t know anything about human beings. We just observed an election in which facts and policies barely mattered at all. What matters is how we feel. Climate change is the same situation. All of the natural elements of persuasion are on one side. We can visualize bad weather and it scares us. The other side has nothing, persuasion-wise.

I’m not a scientist, so I can’t evaluate the claims of climate science. But I’m knowledgeable in persuasion, and I can tell you with a degree of certainty that the number of citizens that believe in climate science predictions of doom would be the same whether the science was valid or not, because the persuasion advantage points in that direction. If something is scary and you can visualize it, you treat it like it is real. Even if it isn’t.

Some say that the risk of climate change is unpredictable, and that’s reason enough to get serious about it. Maybe climate change will do nothing but help crops in some places. But maybe it will destroy civilization. Shouldn’t we take seriously any risk with that much downside?

Answer: No.

Because lots of risks have a worst-case scenario. And they all look terrible if you think about them long enough. It isn’t rational to make all of your major decisions based on the worst-case scenario for every situation.

My best guess from the perspective of a non-scientist observer is that human activity does change the atmosphere, but the climate prediction models are unlikely to be accurate because complicated models rarely are. Once you get more than three variables, and you have humans deciding which data to use and when to smooth it, you end up with nonsense. Climate science has more than a few variables. So I expect the models are nonsense, which is a separate issue from the underlying truth which could be anything. I don’t have any insight on the underlying truth of climate science. All I see is persuasion of various types.

Prediction: By the end of Trump’s term it will be considered common knowledge that we need to be aggressive in green energy for a variety of reasons, but the public will not trust the climate model predictions. We’ll get to a greener world for reasons of economics and strategy. We’ll never really know if we solved climate change problems at the same time.

And do you know what gets us to that greener world faster?

Answer: A strong economy.

You have never been safer.

You might like my book because of the strong visual persuasion I am using. 

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See more Kristina Basham on Instagram here.

— WhenHub App —

I’m getting great feedback on my startup’s new app for geostreaming your location to a friend/client/coworker as you approach your meeting spot. It’s like the Uber app without the Uber car. Here are links:

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

Read More →
How the Trump Administration Can Lower Healthcare Costs

For the past year I have been working with the UC Berkeley start-up ecosystem – the largest in the world – to help improve their efficiency. I seed-funded a project to build a website that connects entrepreneurs, advisors, and investors in the Berkeley area. But I’m also going to highlight in this blog some Berkeley start-ups that can substantially lower healthcare costs in the future. 

Today’s focus is on DeviceFarm, a start-up that cures toe fungus using a patent-pending combination of plasma gas and a special liquid concentrator. You can see more on their website, here.

Disclaimer: I recently invested in this company. This is not a solicitation for additional funding.

Toe fungus is mostly a cosmetic problem unless you have diabetes. But if you are diabetic, toe fungus greatly increases your odds of amputation. DeviceFarm estimates that an effective treatment for this condition could prevent 45,000 diabetic amputations per year at a collective savings of $1.7 billion in healthcare expenses. (Current treatments are relatively ineffective.)

Let me say this again. This little machine might (if the clinical trials work out) prevent up to 45,000 amputations per year. Forget about the cost savings for a minute. Just think about how big a deal that is to quality of life.

Now multiply that sort impact by the dozens of health-related start-ups out of UC Berkeley alone. Now consider all the other start-ups around the world and you can see how much “stranded” potential there is because the start-up world is fragmented and inefficient.

Now imagine a world in which the President of the United States is an entrepreneur at heart and one of his biggest challenges is to make healthcare affordable and available for all Americans. And now imagine that this president is the best salesman you have ever seen, and he wants to streamline the process of doing business in this country. 

See the opportunity?

I’ve seen scores of start-ups that will dramatically lower healthcare costs if their products get to market. All they need, in most cases, is a combination of investment, business advice, and some help getting through all the red tape. That’s the sort of help a Trump administration could provide without spending a dime. Trump knows how to put a spotlight on things, and the world’s attention follows.

I can imagine several ways to approach a solution. One way is for the Trump administration to encourage the creation of “strategic pools” of start-ups by category. One pool would involve start-ups that can lower healthcare costs for the benefit of all. Another pool might do the same for education, the military, and so on. Then the government could encourage investors to look at those start-ups first, as a patriotic service to the country.

You don’t want the government trying to pick winner and losers among start-ups, but the government can ensure that the ones with the most potential to help society get a fair look by private investors. 

As a service to the country, I’ll be spotlighting more UC Berkeley start-ups that can change the world if they get the right kind of attention. Once you see several of them in a row, you’ll understand how big the opportunity is. I’ll only be scratching the surface.

You might like my book because anything is possible except for the things that aren’t.

— WhenHub App —

Speaking of start-ups, I’m getting great feedback on my startup’s new app for geostreaming your location to a friend/client/coworker as you approach your meeting spot. It’s like the Uber app without the Uber car. Here are links:

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

Read More →