Scott Adams is a man with a vision. Sure, you may know him by that terrible office cubicle comic strip Dilbert, but man, does that guy have a few ideas and while a sentence you never heard in America was "I wonder what Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert thinks we should do." here we are...
Scott Adams said:
So his ideas are basically;
I wonder if a country as a whole can have intelligence. And if so, can that intelligence be increased?
I'm not talking about average test scores in schools, or average IQ levels. Those things are important, but they are only part of the picture. I'm talking about how effectively a nation as a whole can make decisions and navigate its position in the world. For example, China has a political system that seems to produce intelligent decisions. You might criticize China's leadership for being heartless and brutal, but that's a separate discussion. If you consider how effectively they pursue their country's interests, their national intelligence seems quite high.
The United States, on the other hand, produces laws and foreign policy that don't always seem to be the result of intelligence or even good intentions. Our actions are a weird stew of religion, politics and randomness. A sentence you never hear in America is "I wonder what the smart people think we should do."
I was thinking about National Intelligence (NQ) in relation to the debate on health care. It seems that most American voters have a strong opinion on the topic while perhaps 1% of the public fully understand the issue. So whose job is it to educate voters?
It certainly isn't the government's job to educate voters. Our system is designed to make candidates compete for votes, and the most effective way to compete is by appealing to emotion and ignorance. The last thing a politician wants is to be labeled professorial. That's the same as boring.
It's not the job of news organizations to educate voters either. The point of the news is to inform citizens of what is new and noteworthy. It wouldn't be practical for the press to do a complete history and context for every news item.
In our system, citizens are expected to self-educate. That probably made sense when issues were simpler. But in today's world, that would be like expecting people to become doctors and lawyers just by doing some reading in their free time. It's unrealistic.
Our only real hope is the Internet. Recently I stumbled across a site -- http://Diffen.com -- that allows users to create their own comparisons of any two things. It's generally used for simple comparisons such as the differences between two models of cell phones. But I was struck by the power of putting information in a handy grid so you can compare things line by line. It's a great way to simplify complicated issues.
Diffen.com probably isn't the answer for educating voters, but it makes me optimistic that a solution is possible. The problem, as I see it, is that there isn't any profit in educating the public, so private industry is unlikely to wade in. That leaves us with the government, and the government isn't equipped to educate voters because we expect leaders to be opinionated, not objective. It's never a good idea to trust the cat to guard the canary.
So I put the question to you, my brilliant readers. Suppose you start with a website funded by private donations from a variety of citizens, with a mandate to operate independently, and your task is to find a way to populate the site with unbiased and useful information on public policy. What system could you devise to guarantee that the information is unbiased and, importantly, it appears that way to all observers?
I will seed this discussion by suggesting that the Diffen.com model of a customizable, side-by-side comparison is a good start for most topics. But you also need a way to rank the importance of each dimension of the discussion. And you need an easy way to view dissenting opinions on each "fact" in the matrix.
The genius of capitalism and democracy is that both systems embrace the destructive forces of competition and self-interest and channel them in a positive direction. Something similar needs to be done with information. What we need is a Founding Father or Mother who can find a way for arguments and information to compete in a way that kills the weak ideas and leaves only the strong.
1. Be like China
2. There isn't some government system to educate people and we shouldn't have one
3. We should educate people based on a site used to compare cell phones and processors
4. It needs to be unbiased, providing the pros and cons on like subjects if rape is natural for men or whether women are just too emotional to engage in honest discussion.
5. Capitalism and Private enterprise something something *farts*
In short -- Scott Adams is a bad person and I do not like him. But hey, lets rip this asshole a new one while we're here. Because really, shit like;
You might criticize China's leadership for being heartless and brutal, but that's a separate discussionShould never be spoken. I mean, what more can you do to sweep China's human rights issues under the rug? I'm surprised a body part hasn't slipped out from under it.
I just don't get it. I mean, why does anyone actually believe China is a well run country or that they make decisions that are somehow "smarter". The only difference between China and the US in terms of politics or economic decision making is that here we have to put up a big shiny show about democracy and deliberation.
I was listening to this talk given by an author of some awful book that's literally called MAONOMICS: Why Chinese Communists make better Capitalist. She finished the talk by gushing over the fact that Steve Jobs just had the INNOVATIVE SPIRIT to find the way to exploit all the millions of cheap Chinese laborers and how the fact that we can distract ourselves for hours each day with apple toys to make our shitty existence less shitty is somehow worth it... Because yes, there was exploitation, but innovation.. innovation blah blah bbakdjsldaldsjaldaa
Oh, and she actually believes that a crisis in Europe would have limited effect on the US and China because FINANCIAL FIREWALLS are in place. HA! Fucking moron.
But back to the awful cartoonist. Scott Adams has his head so far up his own ass it's just sad. His mind is constantly locked into high school mode forever. It's as if everything he writes is on the level of 16 year olds discussing "crazy ideas and philosophy and shit", complete with the native arrogance that would be almost cute if it wasn't so vile.
Hey, why don't we be like China... but only, like, better. And maybe we should do this capitalism thing, but in a way that makes my life more enjoyable, you know. So like, capitalism but better! Bet I just blew your mind, man.It's nothing more than him saying they should ask "smart" people to run the country and he has his hand raised up in that "Oh, ME ME ME ME! OH GOD PICK ME!" mentality going on. Why hello, I'm Scott Adams and I normalize corporate slavery through light hearted propaganda cartoons... professionally.
And what is his reward? Well, he went and built himself a house shaped like Dilbert. Which is scary in itself.
Here's my theory - You are a bad cartoonist if your art style is boring enough to be load bearing.
I mean, that would be a pretty decent house with a less garish color scheme and without the dumb turret. He built it as an "eco home" or whatever the term is, but then he managed to put a giant high ceiling Dilbert tower in there, which I imagine is probably not easy on both heat and cold.
Even if Watterson is a shithead, he's still extremely quiet about it. He doesn't give out many interviews,, not for lack of people trying, and basically just spends his time making paintings and relaxing. I recall reading a thing in an interview where he'd sneak in autographed copies of his anthologies into the local bookstore cooperative so kids would be all "Whoa, whoa whoa!" But he stopped when he saw them go on ebay and sell for a shit ton of money instead of going into the hands of a starry eyed unsuspecting kid who got a special book.