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How Persuasion Hides - Dilbert Blog

How Persuasion Hides

When you study hypnosis, and the art of persuasion in general, you learn that a person practicing at the highest level can appear a fool, babbling lots of feel-good words and ignoring science, data, and what you are sure is common sense.

You probably recognize that I am stealing that concept from Arthur C. Clarke’s idea that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Same idea.

To put that in simple language, your dog thinks you are crazy for tapping that thing on the wall every time you walk into a dark room because obviously the light is going to come on anyway. It always does, at the same time you tap that thing, so why waste your time, idiot?

My hypothesis on Donald Trump is that his so-called clown act is a baffling combination of humor (for the sake of humor as well as persuasion) combined with breathtaking persuasive technique. 

For the sake of balance, I acknowledge that the evil clown hypothesis about Trump – in which he is nothing but a populist idiot that hates every immigrant he does not marry – is still alive. That’s why I like to make predictions so you can compare the Evil Clown interpretation to the Master Persuader hypothesis. 

(Commenters rightly complained that “master wizard” was a terrible name for the hypothesis.)

Anyway, today’s lesson is blank space.

Name some mistakes Trump has made in the realm of persuasion since the start of summer. 

You will be tempted to criticize Trump’s policy proposals, or his strategies for election. You might even believe you can see into his soul and detect deep problems and evil motives. But do you see any mistakes he is making within the field of persuasion?

In earlier posts I described a number of persuasion techniques Trump is using to great effect. But if you focus on that stuff, you miss the far bigger picture.

The far bigger picture is that he has been doing it for several months without an error that I can detect. He is tap-dancing through minefields with a blindfold on. It is dazzling. This is once-in-your-lifetime stuff and I hope you can enjoy it as such, no matter what you think of policy.

I am not smart enough to know who would be the best president, or what policies will work best. But I do have good vision on the persuasion topic and I would hate for you to miss the full show.