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I'm not a member of a political party. That's intentional. Once you pick a side you lose the ability to reason and you start agreeing with whatever dumbass thing your team supports. Whenever I explain my reasons for not joining a political party, people scoff. So here's some recent science that supports my view. It turns out that people rationalize whatever their political party supports independent of the facts. And it's easy to test.

By the way, that's something I learned the first day of hypnosis school thirty years ago. If people were rational, hypnosis wouldn't work. Hypnosis depends on people being influenced by associations as opposed to reason.

Our two-party system of politics kills any hope for reasoned debate. So how could one fix that situation?

My idea is that as President of the United States I would support the majority opinion on every topic with my veto powers and my legislative initiatives while vigorously supporting the argument of the opposite side. Think of it like a defense attorney who doesn't believe his client is innocent but he makes the best defense case he can.

Under this plan, if my active support for the minority view can elevate it to a majority view, it means something was wrong with the majority view in the first place. If my efforts can't move the needle on a debate, that's probably for the best.

As President, I'd be doing less leading and more framing and informing. Once people get the idea that my personal opinions on issues are irrelevant, I'd gain credibility for objectivity and for always shining a fair light on opposition views. That seems healthy.

Obviously there would be some cases in which this plan doesn't work. If the public is 99% on one side of an issue and the only opponents are neo-Nazis, I'd probably take a pass on supporting the opposition. So let's call my plan more of a general approach than a hard rule. It needs some wiggle room to work in the real world.

As president, I wouldn't fudge any facts in the arguments I promoted. I'd be arguing with data only. And I'd acknowledge that the future is unpredictable, so no one really knows what plan will work best. My support of the minority view would often take the form of a conditional statement such as "If you think income equality is more important in the long run than short term economic growth, you should favor policy X."

So what do you think? Could you live with a president who always acted with the majority while arguing for the minority? And what would be the downside of the plan?

 
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Feb 3, 2014
The downside is that people will nearly always act in their own best interests, or what they have been trained to think is their own best interests, not the common good,
If 75% of America calls themselves Christian, we quickly get the theocracy which we are fast approaching, and separation of church and state goes out the window. Tired of living with minorities? No problem. As a minority, the can be voted off the island. Etc, etc.
Tired of supporting the 47%? No problem, they're 47% and they lose. End unemployment compensation, welfare, food stamps, shelters, overnight. You know, like we already do in some of our finer southwestern states.
 
 
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Jan 21, 2014
[One can make any good idea absurd by over-applying it. A rational person knows the limits of data and calls it out. -- Scott]

You're doubling down on the "data always points to the correct answer" position. So you're saying that in every single debate, at least one side is not acting rationally, or doesn't realize we don't have enough data? Even if that is true (which I am sure it's not), how would you tell whether there's enough data to know who's right? Where is the data indicating that you are correct in this debate about data?
 
 
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Jan 21, 2014
[ Your way every four years they would need to examine what each of the presidential candidates stand for, what each of their senate candidates stand for, what each of their congress candidates stand for, what each of their governor candidates stand for, etc. ]

Actually every two years their representative is up for reelection, and each Senator every six years.
 
 
Jan 15, 2014
@whtllnew
Yes, you make a valid point. Sorry, mis-read your earlier post.
 
 
Jan 15, 2014
@hbmindia

[I did not mean to imply that every citizen should vote on every issue. ]

Reread my post. I know you werent suggesting every citizen vote on every issue. But you were suggesting we do away with political parties, and I was pointing out that that would multiply the work the voting public would need to do to vote as intelligently as they do now. If a candidate is neither Democrat nor Republican that means the public needs to do a lot of work to find out what he stands for. Why should they bother? Before you answer keep in mind that they have lots of other things competing for their time and if they find some reason not to support the candidate they've just wasted the time they spent finding out about him.
 
 
Jan 15, 2014
@Bif

[What if the public is 99% neo-Nazi? ]

Then regardless of the government system in place the 1% that isnt neo-Nazi is in big trouble but the other 99% should be alright. How would you stop 99% of the people from getting the government they want?
 
 
Jan 14, 2014
@whtllnew

I appreciate what you're saying. My post was not very clear.

I did not mean to imply that every citizen should vote on every issue.

Even the elected representatives tend to or are forced to toe the party line whilst voting in Congress/Parliament. An independant elected member would be free to vote as per his conscience on each distinct issue.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 14, 2014
Lets say an idea swings from the minority to the majority position. Do you now switch sides? After all, the other side of the argument does not have the President of the US arguing for it...
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 14, 2014
What if the public is 99% neo-Nazi?
 
 
Jan 14, 2014
hbmindia

[Political parties prevent individuals and elected representatives from voting as per their conscience. Democracy would work much better if each individual voted for/against an issue based on the merits/demerits of that particular proposal rather than simply toe the party line. In the age of the internet, does democracy really need political parties? Do not political parties detract from true democracy rather than facilitate it? ]

That would require more work on the part of the voting public than they want to put in. Right now they have the choice between what the Democrats stand for and what the Republicans stand for, theyve known what they stand for for years, and can vote for the party they like. Your way every four years they would need to examine what each of the presidential candidates stand for, what each of their senate candidates stand for, what each of their congress candidates stand for, what each of their governor candidates stand for, etc.
 
 
Jan 14, 2014
1.
Political parties prevent individuals and elected representatives from voting as per their conscience. Democracy would work much better if each individual voted for/against an issue based on the merits/demerits of that particular proposal rather than simply toe the party line. In the age of the internet, does democracy really need political parties? Do not political parties detract from true democracy rather than facilitate it?

2.
The power to veto was, I guess, given to the President for a purpose. It's a shame Scott, that you've has decided to waste it. Sometimes a man needs to put his foot down for what he believes to be right, even if the whole world says otherwise.

The majority is just a fickle herd and if a person oscillates in tune with them, he soon loses all trust and credibility. With your prescription of "running with the hares and hunting with the hounds" you may be considered a clever President in your first term but you will become a joke in the second - and you will never be a great leader.
 
 
Jan 14, 2014
"My idea is that as President of the United States I would support the majority opinion on every topic with my veto powers and my legislative initiatives..."

The downside is spending earmarks and riders on bills that have nothing to do with the stated purpose of the bill. But that's a downside of the current process too. For your plan to work, you'd need a line-item veto.

 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 13, 2014
What do you do when you are successful in persuading enough people that the opinion in the minority flips? Would you declare the issue resolved? Or switch sides, supporting the new minority?

[I was thinking there would be a moratorium on debate for X years after a switch to a new majority opinion. The period would depend on whether it was something easy to unwind or not, and whether there had been enough time to see how the new law was working out. -- Scott]
 
 
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Jan 13, 2014
@orojoro

Search for at least some reasonable debate that would be less clouded by irrational associations is a direct opposite to assumption of right and wrong answers.
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 13, 2014
You are assuming there is a right and wrong answer for all of society's issues. That is an incorrect assumption. There is no right answer in the abortion debate, for example.
 
 
Jan 13, 2014
@Phantom II

[And now we're back to President Scott Adams. Snore. And your big claim to fame is that you'd support the views of people who disagree with you? Really? That's it?

I have not noticed you actually doing this in your posts.]

Good point, but its only fair to point out that hes done this at least once. I forget the title of it, but in one part of 'Stick to drawing comics, monkey brain' he argued against the value of smart peoples opinions.
 
 
Jan 13, 2014
Whether or not you're a member of a political party doesn't matter in the slightest. You don't vote, so it doesn't matter what you think. Ultimately, elections have consequences. If you don't participate, then what party you belong to, or refuse to belong to, really is inconsequential.

The best explanation of the non-voter I've ever heard came from a character in a novel. The character, after being told that another character didn't vote, said, "Yes, he did, and his candidate lost."

And now we're back to President Scott Adams. Snore. And your big claim to fame is that you'd support the views of people who disagree with you? Really? That's it?

I have not noticed you actually doing this in your posts. It seems you're pretty well convinced that your positions are absolutely correct. You're always able to point to some article or other as proof of your positions, ignoring that you can almost always find some article somewhere that supports any position you choose. One article does not prove an issue, or even give significant credence to it.

But President Adams will somehow put aside his prejudices and support the other side's opinions? I don't think anyone who believes strongly in their position could do an adequate job of supporting the other side's position. Your strong opinions would flavor your 'support' of the other side's ideas.

Knowing how you use hypnosis techniques to sway opinion, I believe you'd be at least a little disingenuous in your ability to fairly and with passion present an opinion opposite of yours. What you're proposing is political sophistry: being able to switch instantly from supporting one position to supporting the other, as a purely intellectual exercise. But to do that effectively, you'd have to give up your support of your position, and basically have none. Which fits with your technical non-alignment with either political party.

However, does anyone who reads your posts doubt with which political philosophy you most closely align? Let's take a vote (pun intended). Is Scott more closely aligned with the Republican or Democrat party? Is he more conservative, or more liberal? Or is he some nebulous cloud with no core beliefs, who just drifts from position to position based on whichever article he most recently read?

What happens if that passionate support of the other side's position starts to convince you that you may be wrong? Do you then take up the other side's position? I doubt that.

But let's give it a try. Show us how you would do it. Write a post tomorrow that demonstrates how you would present the anti-AGW position. Or anti-climate change, or whatever term is being used to sway opinion. Should be entertaining. Fun for everyone.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 13, 2014
@cpbrown

Oh, really? Minority/individual rights are protected when majority decides to do it. Majority decided that racial discrimination is no longer accptable; majority opinion seems to be shifting towards equal rights to homosexuals; majority does not accept polygamy. (It's overgeneralisation, of course, but at least more acurate).

[I wonder if it might be the case that in 2014 the majority is a totally reliable protector of individual rights. If not now, it's trending that way. And in any case, the President would need to retain the option to protect the weak against a predatory majority or even a top 1% minority. -- Scott]
 
 
+10 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 13, 2014
@INA

Our system is actually founded on protection of *individual* rights, not a majority-takes-all type of system. Majority rules mean that the majority could, if it wanted to, oppress minorities and/or minority views. I'm sure one can agree that that is a much better principle to uphold.
 
 
Jan 13, 2014
That would be a "Dilbert for president" issue. But in reality (even in an holographic reality) only pointy haried people runs for presidency. Anyway I think your're right but that's only achievable in some centuries of slow (read it slooooooow) changes

Regards
 
 
 
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