Hold onto your hats, everyone, because Scott Adams has discovered something about politics that could be HUGE — if it weren’t something that literally every single person already knows.
He’s discovered that smearing your political opponents with lies can be a more effective strategy than telling the truth. Only he doesn’t call this brilliant new strategy “smearing your political opponent with lies.” He calls it “good persuasion.”
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.
But by repeating this false promise, Adams notes, Assange convinced a good portion of the electorate that Wikileaks had indeed offered proof of dastardly crimes committed by the woman Trump called “crooked Hillary.”
Imagine my shock to discover that baseless smears of political opponents, repeated regularly and with apparent sincerity, can actually affect how people see that person. Even though Assange never came out with his promised proofs of Hillary’s alleged perfidy, his baseless insinuations did indeed contribute to the cloud of suspicion that hung over Hillary’s head.
You have to give Assange credit for this persuasion. He made the public remember something that didn’t happen. …
Assange turned … 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.
Yes, it’s true. In politics, shameless bullshittery can get you a lot further than truthtelling.
Adams seems to believe that Assange was the first person to come up with this brilliant strategy, and that he is the first person to point this out.
Sorry to break it to you, Scott, but one famous “persuader” figured this out long before you were even born.
“[T]he great masses of the people … more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big,” this fellow wrote in his most famous book.
[E]ven when enlightened on the subject, they will long doubt and waver, and continue to accept at least one of these causes as true. Therefore, something of even the most insolent lie will always remain and stick-a fact which all the great lie-virtuosi and lying-clubs in this world know only too well and also make the most treacherous use of.
I’m surprised Adams didn’t realize he was reinventing the wheel here, because the quote in question comes from a “persuader” who is much revered in the Trump-loving corner of the internet that Adams has made his home.
The “persuader” in question is of course Adolf Hitler, though he liked to pretend that the “big lie” was a technique practiced by the Jews, not one that he regularly employed to great effect.
Scott Adams would no doubt know all this, if he spent more time reading and less time EATING PUPPIES.
NOTE TO EXCESSIVELY LITERAL-MINDED READERS: That thing about the puppies is a joke. It is not true. Scott Adams does not in fact murder puppies with his bare hands and eat their still-warm flesh raw.