WTH? How Does Trump Get Away With It & Why Can’t His Followers See What’s Going On?


By Mark L. Taylor
The Commoner Call (5/15/17)

As we have repeatedly seen over the past year and-a-half, facts and logic, history and common sense have no room in Trumpland America. Trump can spout the most obvious lies and repeat them over and over with boisterous self confidence as many numbly nod in agreement repeating his empty “Make America Great Again” mantra. Even when confronted by the facts or the past failure of his lies he doesn’t break pace. How, one asks, is this possible?

There is a psychology lesson that can provide part of the answer to this aggravating puzzle, according to Cambridge-educated actor Stephen Fry in a wonderful little Pindex video lesson featured in the HuffPost.

Researchers have demonstrated how the least capable students will often overestimate their abilities and predicted performance. Turns out, that to correctly assess your own expertise at something you need to have a degree of expertise to begin with. For many, the more clueless the more confident.

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance,” Fry says in the video. “It is the illusion of knowledge.”

“The skills they lacked were the same skills required to recognize their incompetence,” Fry said. “The incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.”

It’s something known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance,” Fry says in the video. “It is the illusion of knowledge.”

To some extent we all have ungrounded illusions about our capabilities. Are you a good driver? Um,I don’t know about that but I am a great driver! Further research on Dunning-Kruger and other studies on learning do give reason for hope.

There is also something known as the Salience Bias – which is anything unusual that stands out from the norm (like Trump) – and the power of repetition, which the video also reviews. Notice how Trump will confidently – smugly – repeat everything he says at least three times: We’re going to bring the jobs back, folks. Trust me, the jobs are coming back because we’re going to bring those jobs back where they belong. It’ll be beautiful.

Understanding what is going on is an essential skill for better handling what is going on and then formulating a response to what is going on.

Link to Story and 7-Minute Video


Age Of Trump: A Plague Of Deep Seated Civic Illiteracy

“Trump’s ascendancy in U.S. politics has made visible a plague of deep seated civic illiteracy, a corrupt political system, and a contempt for reason that has been decades in the making; it also points to the withering of civic attachments, the decline of public life, and the use of violence and fear to shock and numb everyday people. Galvanizing his base of true-believers in post-election rallies, the country witnesses how politics is transformed in a spectacle of fear, division, and disinformation. Under President Trump the scourge of twentieth-century fascism has returned as neo-fascism, not only in the menacing plague of populist rallies, fear-mongering, hate and humiliation, but also in an emboldened culture of war, militarization and violence that looms over society like a rising storm.”

– Henry A. Giroux, Trump’s America: Rethinking 1984 and Brave New World, Monthly Review, May 2017 (pp. 20-21)


(Commoner Call cartoon and opinion column by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Both are open source and free to use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )