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ECLECTICIST: Harris and Adams on Trump

Show Notes & Research


Topic Overview


Talking Points


Wrap Up

From the Show

Broadcast: 20th August, 2017

Last update: 23rd August, 2017

Published: 28th August, 2017


Topic Overview

Sam Harris has spent the last God knows how long railing against Donald Trump. He’s had many people on his podcast who are in as much disbelief as he is. And he’s one heck of an atheist I can tell you. Concerned his Waking Up podcast was becoming an echo chamber, he asked his audience to suggest a Trump defender for his stated reasons of providing ‘balance’ and to try and understand how on earth someone not completely insane or a completely ignorant ‘low information’ type can support a man like Trump. The resulting conversation was interesting and fairly depressing. That’s what we’re going to attempt to unpack here today.


What we’re not talking about

Talking Points

Each bullet is a talking point. Sub-bullets are topics that may or may not be covered. Usage: Read the bullet and sub-bullets then talk about some or all sub-bullets.



7.00        Harris explaining he doesn’t do ‘gotcha interviews’

10.30        Adams: ‘strongest set of persuasion skills I’ve ever seen’

11.15        ‘Adams: ‘more liberal than liberals’

15.00        ‘Adams: the truth is not as useful as it should be when you understand persuasion as he does. His lies are ‘emotionally true’

18.58        ‘Adams: ‘he doesn’t mean that’ when explaining Trump’s crazy propositions like ‘we’re going to kill the families of the terrorists’ Mind reading (a theme)

21.15        ‘Adams: ‘He wrote a book about it’ ‘the art of the deal’

This is false according to the person who actually wrote the book:

According to Schwartz in July 2016, Trump wrote none of the book, choosing only to remove a few critical mentions of business colleagues at the end of the process. – Wikipedia

21.50        ‘Adams: ‘that’s what his supporters believe’ Reading their minds apparently.

28.00        two different movie analogies and Scott explaining cognitive dissonance

32.00        Adams: ‘After a few months of president trump acting like a normal president…’

35.00        Harris: I find trump the least persuadable person on earth ‘odious conman, Assumed he was a ‘kind of punchline’

‘I see a man without any inner life, I see the most superficial person on earth and a guy that’s been totally hollowed out by greed and self regard and delusion’

43.00: Adams: What I did early one was I said ‘I’m so sure that these tools are real and consistent and he knows what he’s doing that I’m going to risk my entire career to predict that he’s going to win it all and win it big’

45.00 Harris makes the case that Trump has harmed the world with his lies by the fast that we’re all talking about politics. Adams comes back sarcastically with ‘would the stock market be higher?’ and ‘would ISIS be something or other?’. The former is certainly a false claim as was shown in recent news clip where some chump also attempted to make the similar point only to be humiliated by the well informed anchor that he should actually be praising Obama and other previous presidents.

46.14: weirdly adams claims that people supporting trump are having the best two years of their lives, Harris says that no doubt there would have been similar enthusiasm for the burgeoning thousand year reich. Adams claims victory at this point. Adams then says when people retreat to analogies it's because they have no more reasons.

49.35: Adams: We can’t use reason and facts because we humans aren’t built that way.

50.58: Harris: ‘... everything we need to know about Trump’s ethics were revealed in the whole Trump University scandal. Adams says that it’s likely a licensing thing and not much to do with Trump. Harris asks him to imagine what would happen had Harris had a similar back story.

55.10: Adams has a ludicrously stupid non-point in asking Harris whether he would cave to whatever demand a victim of Trump University made in reparations. In my view this is an example of how Adams doesn’t/hasn’t thought much through and is just winging it, yet is pretending to have wizdom.

57.47: Adams: ‘Did you just change the subject? Hehe’ as if Adams just ‘got him’ on something which he didn’t.

60.00: Trump being a beauty pageant creep and his pretending to be a donor to charities.

1.00.41: Adams non-point: ‘if we knew the secret life of all politicians, we would impeach all of them. People tend to be despicable when you drill down. Trump’s past is far more public’ … which begs the question; what is Adams trailing?

1.03.40: Harris: American is becoming like a banana republic

1.12.01: Adams: ‘aren’t we passed the point where we want a role model for our children, don’t you want the best lawyer or best plumber?’

1.17.00: Russian hacking scandal. Trump and his goons lie about everything until the facts come out. Highlights the ridiculousness of publicly saying you don’t trust our own intelligence branches and talking about forming a joint cyber command with Putin. ‘A madman on twitter’.

1.25.33: Adams: ‘[Trump says] I’m not angel but I’m going to do for you, the country, what I have done for myself to make me so rich and successful’

1.27.34: Climate change. Unsurprisingly, Adams is on the wrong side of this. Brings up the talking points we’ve all heard. Essentially that scientists are alarmists and want to shut down industry.

1.33.00: Harris addresses Trump’s skewed priorities with regard to coal miners

1.54.44: Wiretapping: Adams downplays and equivocates Trumps charges of Obama wiretapping. Adams: ‘are you giving me an analogy?’, Harris, ‘it’s more than an analogy’

2.00.00: Russian meddling in the election. Harris is discussing what we know and how trump and his surrogates only admit to things after it’s no longer possible to deny. Adams says at one point ‘I can’t let that go …’ as if he’s ‘got ‘im’ again. ‘How would you have handled the situation? …’

2.05.34: Trump publicly asking russia to hack Clinton’s emails because he’d love to read them Adams:  ‘which you took as joke?’ he took ‘lock her up’ as a joke too’.

2.06.40: Trump threatening to lock up his opponent if he wins is ‘way beyond the pale’


Terminology specific to the topic

Wrap Up

From the Show

Notes, corrections and further references

Trump on installing solar panels on the border wall with Mexico:

“No, not joking, no. There is a chance that we can do a solar wall. We have major companies looking at that. Look, there's no better place for solar than the Mexico border -- the southern border. And there is a very good chance we can do a solar wall, which would actually look good. But there is a very good chance we could do a solar wall.”

There is still no actual evidence of Trump-Russia collusion

There Is Now Evidence That Senior Trump Officials Attempted to Collude With Russia

Obama ‘wire tapping’ Trump - Politifact

Trump crashes a charity event in 1996 (deathandtaxesmag.com)

‘Trump sat up there for the whole ceremony, posed for photos, and even danced the Macarena, because that is what you did in the mid ’90s. When the whole thing was over, Trump just left. He didn’t bother making a donation or telling anybody what the hell he was doing there in the first place. Dude just showed up, plopped down next to his buddy Giuliani and acted like he was supposed to be there. The ability and desire to pull a stunt like that implies such a complete lack of shame that it is both impressive and unspeakably frightening.’

The Persuasion Reading List - Scott Adams

Leftist Violence Reaches Its Nadir - National Review