An idol has fallen and the thickness of disappointment is suffocating
I live in the middle of nowhere so excuse my ignorance. I like mr. Taleb’s ideas a lot but his last article, The Intellectual Yet Idiot left me completely unimpressed, even more, a tad surprised that someone of his caliber could descend into such name calling and mud fighting just to make a very simple point: not all smart people are also great humans. No shit?
Reading the article which is very bad compared to his his other recently trending articles, How To Legally Own Another Person, We Don’t Know What We Are Talking About When We talk about Religion, The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dictatorship of the Small Minority, I discarded the nagging feeling of inauthenticity as a bad day, a sensationalist monologue meant to entice feuds which Nassim Taleb enjoys, and which me as a reader enjoyed, while kept at an intellectual level. Yet, last week NT gave up on all prudence and self control which made arrogance into boldness, and served us a shit storm of broken ideas and accusations and complaining and instigation.
While I’ve spent the better part of an evening annoyed by this, I let it slide. But the next day, triggered by the fact that I couldn’t convince myself the article was a mistake I started going through responses, then search online, then .. behold: I wish I hadn’t searched for I found out that in his opinion Donald Trump is a brilliant sales person and that the EU is a project doomed to fail.
At this point I got it. I’m slow, I know, especially when I like someone.
For the life of me I don’t get it how someone who meets this criteria:
- is successful
- is intelligent
- is cultured
- is politically unaffiliated
- is not income dependent on Republican sources
- is free
- is a good person
can commit the fallacy of:
- trump support.
Trump support means some of the criteria has fallen through the cracks.
If you find yourself in a position of influence and campaign for Trump, then you are one or many of: corrupted, a bad person, blackmailed, financially dependent on Republican sources, uncultured or nihilist. Some such as Mr. Peter Thiel are easy to spot, they need to make this choice as it is part of their identity, an identity blind to humanity and concerned exclusively with particular humans.
But Mr. Taleb seemed too synthetic in his hand waving postulates to shatter this carefully constructed persona by doing the trump support stunt. I wonder if I will ever get the chance to see for myself that these intelligent, cultured, influential and powerful people, even one of them, does the trump support out of real personal intimately lived conviction, because from where I stand they’re all spitting out demagogy for direct personal benefit, gambling the lives of millions while having fun knowing they’re herding herds into the ravine.
Spoiled brats who found success with a few moves, unlike the rest who must circle the board because the dice is shit.
This article is getting popular so I am appending my reply to SF Ali below for the sake of completeness:
I don’t think complimenting Trump as a “brilliant sales person” constitutes political endorsement, influential support, or anything besides recognizing Mr. Trump’s skill in salesmanship and persuasion.
I didn’t jump to the conclusion so fast, just because Nassim was stating the obvious about Trump. I thought about it. There are plenty of dubious people online, dubious people with opinions written on dubious blogs, who clearly throw Taleb as a token to decorate their cause with known thought leaders. I intentionally picked just two things, the salesman acknowledgement and the position on the E.U., two things which are covered either by Nassim himself or by widespread media.
However, Nassim is showcasing charts! Like this one on his Twitter stream:
He tweeted this. From the high stand of his fame and achievement, he tweeted this. Just look at it, weigh the chosen words, not necessarily the facts, the kind of inclination suggested, the little pointers.
He uses the Shillary derogatory term. I mean, he surely is no dreamer who looks forward for a third party, is he? Am I expected to imagine that Mr. Taleb with his intellectual reach sincerely believes there is a third option? Not really, no, when you measure your words to one candidate, but decisively don’t support the other it sends out a message. This article below sums up pretty good what the illusion of the third option really means:
This is what Nassim does, pointing discreetly one way and rudely blocking the other way. He is safe with this approach, paying his dues to himself as political orientation and desire to be right, or to anything or anyone who, in theory, could ask of him to commit the act of demagogy.
Regarding the simple affirmation that Trump is a good sales person, if anything, I don’t like this complimenting of something everyone knows. It is not even an established fact, because:
Donald Trump is a deal maker not a sale closer
Deal makers are the problem. The sale closer makes a profit from his stuff by convincing others of unreal value. The deal maker makes profit from everyone’s stuff by convincing others of his value.
I am afraid if Nassim fails to see this difference, I know, no, I hope, he does see it, because I think he nails a lot of other far more obscure ideas and differences, how can he miss this. There are known facts about the Donald that shed a lot of light on his so called salesmanship, and they are not elitist explanations, but pure deal details.
Donald is good at mitigating losses, in his personal favor, this is not sales skill. It is an important business skill though.
For a person of Nassim’s caliber, this Facebook update is pretty irresponsible:
The *establishment* composed of journos, BS-Vending talking heads with well-formulated verbs, bureaucrato-cronies, lobbyists-in training, New Yorker-reading semi-intellectuals, image-conscious empty suits, Washington rent-seekers and other “well thinking” members of the vocal elites are not getting the point about what is happening and the sterility of their arguments. People are not voting for Trump (or Sanders). People are just voting, finally, to destroy the establishment.
The bold is mine. This justifies stupid choices by grounding them in illusory righteous justice. That is also how Nassim defends the large group of those who chose the brexit, by justifying a bad choice as a form of popular revelation and social revolt. It is not that these things are wrong, the people made a choice and they had their reasons, but reasons alone don’t make a choice good, and Nassim should be the first to grasp this.
Then, Nassim’s ideas about the EU, such as this below:
The European Union is a horrible, stupid project. The idea that unification would create an economy that could compete with China and be more like the United States is pure garbage. What ruined China, throughout history, is the top-down state. What made Europe great was the diversity: political and economic. Having the same currency, the euro, was a terrible idea. It encouraged everyone to borrow to the hilt.
… are “wrong, historically”.
The bold is mine again. The E.U. is an anti-war system designed with a greater goal in mind than competing China. When this union was conceived China was far from the market dominatrix it has become. But that doesn’t even matter. The diversity in political orientations, economic systems and ethnic groups, the aspect which Nassim comfortably forgets, is what makes Europe the most unstable and ideologically mined place on Earth.
So, this is an informed opinion, not a hard cold fact. Maybe Nassim is the Trump of his domain, a bully every domain needs to wake up from lethargy or self reinforcing illusion of grandeur. When Nassim writes about business and even economy, he can go for it and throw all his ideas and theories with the charm of a bold man stating truth that provokes. However, when Nassim writes about politics, the most basic form of management humans have which empowers our survival, a special kind of consideration is required. Just as he is perfectly right about the blissful undecidedness regarding the Salafi political agenda, he is dead wrong when he tips the scales in the favor of a sociopath, who so far sublimated this disease in making deals engraved on the inside walls of pyramids made of losses.
SF Ali it has been heartbreaking and scary for me to reach this point. I could be dead wrong, I don’t know Nassim, have I ever had the chance to overtly debate this with him I would. As a marketer I know you see through Trump and I am 100% sure you feel his brand building initiative.
But, you see, the metaphor of the sale in politics is fake, because in politics every sale is of our future into the void. There is no customer for humanity’s persistence as a system in the universe. That is why I believe Donald the salesman who convinces scores of hillbillies is a stunt, created to deceive the real danger, the mobilization of the angry mob. Whenever villages burned witches, it was not the majority of the people who made it happen, but the small vocal minority, you know the one Nassim explained how it always wins.
Taleb may see a kindred soul in The Donald.
And that scares me, because if a settled intellect is so fragile and easy to be abused by the mania of the ego, we’re at far more risk than simply nuclear buttons bellow stubby fingers having constant bad hair days. It means we’re a void waiting to be filled, and that is exactly what the deal maker Donald will make: fill our void with himself.
There may be valid criticisms of Dr. Taleb’s academics, philosophy and even his online penchant for sparring with pseudointellectuals, but this isn’t one. (SF Ali)
You are perfectly right because I am not even trying to build a valid criticism. I am simply stating clearly the opinion I formed based on the thoughts and ideas endorsed and then thrown into the pit of public debate by Nassim Taleb.