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Fact Checking the Media Claim I am "far right" or "ALT-RIGHT" - Dilbert Blog

Fact Checking the Media Claim I am “far right” or “ALT-RIGHT”

You might have noticed the Internet having an aneurism this week after Kanye West retweeted nine separate video clips in which I discussed his tweet about Candace Owens’ conservative views. A number of left-leaning media sites including Buzzfeed, Mediate, Spin, Elle, Washington Post, Business Insider and several others reported the story by labelling me “far right” or “ALT-RIGHT.” I’m sure the various fact-checking sites and media watchers would like to know how accurate that description is. As a public service, I’ll detail some of my political views so you can judge for yourself.

President Obama: I considered him a solid president whose steady hand and personality were a good fit for bringing the U.S. economy back from the brink. I especially appreciated getting past the “first black president” mental barrier, which was huge for our national psychology and brand. But I was to the left of Obama on legalizing weed and gay marriage, to name a few examples. I now think President Trump is the appropriate personality to add jet fuel to an already-solid economy and to shake up our foreign adversaries with his legendary unpredictability. You need the right president for the right situation. I think voters got it right with both presidents.

I never bought into birtherism. I didn’t even care if Obama was technically a citizen. I only cared that he did a good job. Likewise, I don’t care about President Trump’s sex life. I care how well he does the job.

Religion: I’m not a believer. And I’m left of the atheists on the left. My best guess about reality is that we’re a simulation. The quick argument is that an advanced species can create a computer simulation with characters who believe they are real. It is far more likely we are one of the inevitable simulations than the original species.

Party Affiliation: I don’t vote and I don’t belong to a political party. I do that intentionally to reduce my “team bias” when evaluating politics. I have registered and voted in the past. If memory serves me, I registered Independent and voted Democrat at least twice. I have never voted Republican, as far as I can remember.

In the not-too-distant past, Democrats were the better party for achieving social justice of one kind or another. But in 2018, I can marry a dude while smoking a joint. Depending on your state, doctor-assisted dying is legal. And if you discriminate on race or gender, the law and social media will try hard to make sure you regret it. The big social issues that I care about have tilted my way, and Trump-Republicans seem fine with it. So I like to bank my social equality gains and ask myself what Republicans can give me next in the realm of economics and foreign relations.

Gun Control: I’m pro-gun, which is similar to being pro-Constitution. And I’m fine with banning some types of super-killing weapons as well as keeping all guns from nuts. But beyond the commonsense stuff, I recognize that people have different risk profiles and therefore valid differences of opinions on gun risks. A public figure such as myself might feel safer with guns in the house whereas others might feel less safe. There is no “right” answer on guns, just different interests and risks. This makes me similar to Bernie Sanders on guns, I believe. Or close to his view, anyway.

Trade Deals: How would I know what a good trade deal looks like or how to get there? I don’t believe many citizens understand that topic. But I do feel confident in saying that any complicated deal can be improved for your side if you apply some pressure. President Trump is applying pressure. It is neither left nor right politics to say that applying pressure to improve trade deals is a reasonable thing to do.

North Korea: I predicted last year that President Trump had a path to a good result with North Korea. It’s too early to know how all of that turns out, but I think both left and right are cautiously optimistic that something good could happen.

Iran Nuclear Deal: I’m only recently getting up to speed on this topic, so I don’t have an opinion on it, beyond the observation that there are probably ways to improve it.

Healthcare: I favor inexpensive or free medical care for all citizens of the United States. It would be hard for me to see America as “great” without it. But unlike Bernie, I don’t see a way to get there by increasing taxes. I do think we can get there by rule-changes and a greater government focus on technical advancements. President Trump is missing-in-action on this topic, and Congress is the wrong tool for the job because of money and political constipation.

Immigration: I oppose deporting the undocumented immigrants who have been good residents and tax-paying virtual Americans for years. And I always assumed the Trump administration would not act against them once in power, which has been the case. I support “extreme vetting” because that’s the world we live in. Obviously it is bad for wannabe immigrants, but it reduces the risk for Americans and undocumented immigrants who are already here. I favor stronger border security in general, using whatever is the most cost-effective method. On the country ban — that critics call a Muslim ban — I’m okay with letting the Supreme Court figure that out. I appreciate the argument on both sides, but I have a bias toward security.

Free College and Training: I support lifetime free college and vocational training for Americans, but not if it raises taxes. As with the healthcare topic, I believe technology can deliver a free option if we make it a national priority. I recently bought a commercial VR (virtual reality) system for home entertainment, and let me tell you…holy cow. We are not far away from watching a history lesson while being in the scene itself. At the moment, in-person learning is still better than a talking head video. But VR and other advancements will flip that around at some point soon.

 

Now let’s look at some of the many fake news accusations against me.

 

Holocaust Denier?

I am routinely accused of being a Holocaust denier. The truth is that I’m a double-holocaust believer. Not only do I believe the Holocaust happened, death camps and all, but I also believe the Armenian genocide happened. That’s two holocausts, if you’re keeping count. Three if you count native Americans.

This fake news about me comes from the fact that I once wrote a blog post saying it is unlikely we know the exact number of people who died in the Holocaust because it would be hard to count. I also believe World War II happened, even though I don’t know the exact death toll, which historians say is somewhere between 50-70 million. If the accurate number turns out to be 71 million, I will still believe World War II happened.

Abortion

My current view on abortion is that men are better off recusing themselves from the law-making process on that question, except where their own money is involved. If the majority of women favor a particular abortion law, I support it too. With an issue as explosive as abortion, society needs laws that are credible so the folks who don’t get the laws they want can still support the system. Men have no special knowledge to add to the abortion question, and we have less skin in the game. This is one of the ways I consider myself left of Bernie. Bernie would have men as equal partners in making laws about abortion. I say women have it covered. I support their majority decisions.

Seth Rich Conspiracist?

I’ve been called a Seth Rich conspiracy theorist. I don’t believe that Hillary Clinton or anyone else ordered a hit on Rich. I have seen no evidence whatsoever of that. But we do have two theories in the public domain of how Wikileaks got the DNC data.

Julian Assange has clearly indicated to the public that he wants us to believe Seth Rich was the source of the data. For context, Wikileaks is an organization dedicated to the truth, and has a perfect record of not being wrong. That doesn’t mean they can’t be wrong/lying/misleading this time.

Intelligence agencies tell us the real perp was a Russian hacker. For context, intelligence agencies are professional liars with a recent history of bias, treachery, deception, lying, and whatever looks a lot like treason. That doesn’t mean they are wrong this time. It does mean they have no credibility.

An independent technical analysis suggests the file transfer speeds were too high for a remote hacker to be the perp. That indicates an inside job, but does not point to Rich in particular. I don’t know how to judge the credibility of that technical analysis.

Those who have read my book Win Bigly know I don’t see reality in terms of true and false. At best, we can put some guesses on the likelihood of one thing being true versus another. So it would never be accurate to say I “believe” any conspiracy theory, including this one. In this case, all we can say with confidence is that one theory on the source of the data comes from a credible source and the other does not.

This is my current thinking on the topic. If I tweeted or said anything that looked crazier than what I just wrote, I was being sloppy in my thinking.

Men’s Rights Activist?

I’ve been called a Men’s Rights Activist (MRA). That is fake news. The rumor stems from a blog post from several years ago in which I insulted Men’s Rights Activists for being ridiculous. That’s my entire lifetime involvement with the movement. The fake news that I am MRA is often supported by the fake news that I’m a misogynist which I discuss next.

Evolution Denier?

In my book The Dilbert Future, published in 1997, I included a provocative prediction that the theory of evolution would be debunked by scientists in my lifetime. The context was that our understanding of reality itself would change in such a fundamental way that evolution would look more like an illusion than a quality of the universe. Crazy, right?

Fast-forward to today when the idea that we exist as a Simulation created by a “real” species is growing in popularity. The most famous holder of that opinion is Elon Musk. Based on my personal conversations, many of the smartest people in the tech industry hold the same belief, but are less inclined to say it in public. The Simulation theory, if true, means we are the product of intelligent design, but the intelligence that created us might be a 10-year old alien with a gaming computer. Like Musk, I can’t say the Simulation idea is true. All I can say is the odds of it NOT being true are billions-to-one. Maybe trillions-to-one.

The world wasn’t ready for this kind of thinking in 1997, so predictably I got labelled as a Creationist, a believer in Intelligent Design (the God kind), and an evolution-denier. Back then, I hadn’t yet learned how quickly the public takes ideas out of context, and I walked right into the trap. To plug that hole, I have since stated many times in public that the Theory of Evolution is a scientific fact. In other words, if we are not a Simulation, or some other exotic reality, scientists have plenty of evidence to qualify evolution as a fact according to how we use those words.

To complicate matters (for me), I also blogged a number of times since 1997 that scientists have a special problem selling the idea of evolution to a skeptical public. This was before I started packaging my observations in what I call the Persuasion Filter. My point in those opinion pieces is that it is hard to persuade the public that fossil records prove evolution is true when scientists keep rewriting the script based on new findings. I believe science has upgraded its consensus about the path and timing — but not the basic idea — of human evolution a few times since 1997. From a persuasion perspective (as opposed to a scientific one), every time scientists say, “Oops, we were wrong about that thing we told you we were sure about,” it degrades credibility. Critics often misrepresent my criticisms of the persuasion used by scientists to sell evolution with a criticism of the science itself.

In summary, if we are not a simulation of some sort, and reality conforms to the consensus human belief, evolution is a scientific fact. But if we are a simulation, or reality not what it seems, the history of the universe could be an illusion.

As a trained hypnotist and a student of persuasion for decades, I’m betting on the illusion. But if history is not an illusion, evolution appears to be a scientific fact, as far as I can tell.

Misogynist?

If you do a Google search for my name, you’ll often see a fake quote that is attributed to me. It goes like this: “The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently.”

Ouch! It would be awful if I actually said that. And I didn’t. But here’s the weird part: Those are my exact words from a blog post!

How can my exact words be a fake quote if they are, well, my exact words???

Easy, as it turns out.

What my devious critics cleverly leave out of the quote is the context of the blog post and the punchline of the joke. The context was about debates on important gender-related topics, and the punchline was “It’s just easer this way for everyone.” In other words, men often avoid debating with women on gender topics because there is plenty of risk to the man’s career and happiness but nothing to gain.

The structure of the joke is that the first two items in the list (babies and mentally handicapped people) are supposed to bias you to think you know what I will say about the third item (women), then I give you the surprise twist, thus exposing your own bias, which is the joke. My point in the blog post was that men typically take the path of least resistance, as do all humans, and arguing with women about gender-related issues is a high risk strategy men typically try to avoid because there is no upside. My critics then proved me right by labelling me a misogynist for bringing up the topic in a way they didn’t appreciate. They went on to forever destroy my reputation while reducing my income by perhaps 30%. The reaction I got from women was exactly my point. I doubt I have ever been so right about anything in my life. Unfortunately.

In my book Win Bigly, I make the case that no one changes their mind because of facts or better arguments, or at least rarely so. But some arguments are safer than others. Men can generally debate other men without risk, but when men debate women on the topic of gender issues, the risk involves complete career destruction for the man. Women don’t have that kind of risk.

I am not aware of anyone who disagrees with my point, once I clarify it. But I have apologized for accidentally offending people who didn’t recognize my poorly-executed joke as a joke. I think that’s fair.

Regular Guest on InfoWars?

I have appeared several times on Alex Jones’ InfoWars. They are always very kind and professional to me. I have also appeared on CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, CNBC, PBS, and dozens of local stations. In the past two years I probably did a hundred interviews on media platforms ranging from the far left to the far right. My brand is Switzerland. I’ll go wherever there is an audience that wants to hear my message.

The criticism about InfoWars in particular is that appearing on that platform gives oxygen to the various real and alleged conspiracy theories that are often discussed there. I totally understand that point, and I reject it in favor of my right to speak on any platform I want. If I employed the “Conspiracy Theory Standard” I couldn’t appear on CNN, MSNBC, or FOX News. Your mileage might vary, but I consider the following stories to be on the same ethical plane as conspiracy theories.

  • Birtherism
  • Russian Collusion
  • Paris Climate Agreement
  • Seth Rich murdered by Clinton
  • Benghazi
  • President Trump is mentally incompetent
  • Charlottesville hoax
  • Syrian chemical weapons
  • Serge Kovaleski hoax
  • WMD in Iraq
  • Dossier
  • Anything that Clapper and Brennan say
  • The “racist dog whistle” theory of everything

I could make the list a lot longer, but you see the point. One person’s legitimate news is another person’s conspiracy theory. We don’t live in a world in which we can know what is true and what isn’t. We sometimes think we do. But we don’t.

I also think the CNN and MSNBC coverage of Stormy Daniels started out fair but it transitioned from legitimate news to revenge porn. My point is that if I use my personal compass of moral outrage to decide which media platform to appear on, I’d have to reject all of them.

I see InfoWars the same way I see the other major media platforms. They are tools for my message. My use of a tool does not endorse the unrelated ideas of others who use the same tools. And following Kanye West’s lead, I proclaim myself a free thinker who will talk to anyone from the far left to the far right.

Racist?

People call me a racist-by-association for writing about President Trump’s talent for persuasion. Below is a sample of my writings on the topic of race so you can judge for yourself. A quick summary is that I’m pro-Kaepernick (for his effectiveness and heart), in favor of slavery reparations in the form of free college for 25 years funded by a tax on the rich, a fan of Kanye West’s recent activism, and an even bigger supporter of BLM GNY leader Hawk Newsome’s rational and effective leadership. If I’m a racist, I’m doing a terrible job of it.

Persuasion Advice for African-Americans

The De-Hitlerization of your Brain

Why Black Lives Matter (BLM) are Natural Allies (or should be)

My Tweet about Hawk Newsome

Periscope about BLM GNY leader Hawk Newsome’s Persuasion

I don’t believe President Trump is a racist in any meaningful sense of the word. But I have graded him an “F” for race relations for not effectively dealing with the issue. My view is that the left has whipped up a racial frenzy, for political reasons, by taking this president out of context time and again. They have been magnificently successful, especially with the Charlottesville hoax. (The ordinary explanation for President Trump’s “fine people” comment is that he didn’t know exactly who attended the event, but reasonably assumed — as I did — that there were non-racist folks there protesting the removal of confederate statues. And that was true. But there were not many of them.)

Confederate Statues: They are deeply offensive to a lot of people on my team (America) and I favor removing them for that reason alone. Statues are decorations. You wouldn’t decorate your own house in a way that offended your friends. Let’s not decorate America in a way that offends many citizens. History is for books, not statues.

Okay, so there you have my politics and my side of the fake news stories about me. I’ll probably update this as needed.

Do I seem ALT-RIGHT or far-right to you?