The Third Political Axis

I’ve subscribed to Jerry Pournelle’s Political Axes since I first encountered them back in the early 80’s.  His two axes are “Rationality” (belief in planned social progress and the perfectability of man), and “Statism” (belief in the positive or negative impacts of the State), thus:




Pournelle himself says of it:

Now I do not claim this is the model of modern politics; I do claim that it is a far better model than the one we’re using, and in fact I go farther and claim that the “left-right” model so ubiquitous amongst us is harmful. And while I understand that some ideologues find the “left-right” model useful to their cause, and thus have a powerful incentive to gloss over its failures, what puzzles me is why so-called objective political “scientists” don’t try to abolish it, at least in freshman political science classes. [emphasis added]

I introduce the Pournelle axis above as a lead in to a new observation (which adds an additional axis) by the most accurate polical pundit of 2015; Scott Adams of Dilbert fame:

Ranking the Best Political Pundits of 2015

Posted December 30th, 2015 @ 9:58am in #Trump

As regular readers know, 100% of my political predictions for 2015 were correct, thanks to the Master Persuader filter. For example, I predicted…

1. Trump would gain popularity and win the nomination, not fizzle as every other pundit predicted. (I predicted it in August, based on his skill set. So far, so good.)

2. The Jeb Bush “low energy” kill shot would end Bush. (First to predict it.)

3. The Fiorina top in her poll numbers (after she paired her own image with a dead baby)

4. The Carson top in his poll numbers (after Trump did his famous belt-buckle speech)

5. The Clinton top in her poll numbers (after Trump noted how many women her policies have allegedly killed)

6. Trump’s “nice guy” move that involved going into a crowd to personally help a wounded warrior with the Veteran’s system.

7. You will start to see Freudian slips in the media calling Trump “President Trump.” And so we have.

8. My 3D predictions – no matter how accurate – will be ignored by the standard 2D media. Check!

9. [Update] My prediction months ago that Trump’s persuasion skills would set off a swarm of competing (and wrong) explanations for why Trump is defying expectations. This is a classic “tell” for cognitive dissonance on a mass scale, which is what we are seeing. That is the fingerprint of a Master Persuader. Here’s the latest explanation, for Trump’s success – that he’s a narcissist addicted to social media pellets, or something.


And thus to the meat of the matter, the politcal progress of Donald Trump.

First, my prejudices.

I don’t believe dynastic politics has any place in our Republic.

I don’t have a high opinion of Donald Trump.

My preference for President would be an experienced Governor with demonstrated political record and skills and a demonstrated track record at actually governing.  I was disappointed to see all of the conservative (which leaves the round mound of profound, who I trust less than I do Trump, right out) Governors exit the race as early as they did.

Political Organization and grass roots support are in my opinion keys to successful governance (in fruitful and dynamic balance/tension with the legislative and  judicial branches).

I have not named my preferred candidate, and shant, but based on the criteria I’ve outlined above and the remaining candidates in the race, my actual choice sifts out quite easily.

Adams unstated (in what I have quoted so far) axis is persuasiveness/passion.  He contends:

As I hinted in a prior post, Trump isn’t just changing politics. He is changing our understanding of reality by brushing aside the illusion that humans use reason to make important decisions. This extends well beyond politics.

Ponder on that.  “…the illusion that humans use reason to make important decisions.”

It is a perfectly adequate explanation for the 2008 and 2012 Presidential election results.  It is also a perfectly adequate explanation for the  Trump phenomenon.

Don Surber led me to this epiphany:

Where Donald Trump got his super powers

(Graphic via Thorney Lieberman.)

Scott Adams, creator of “Dilbert,” this summer predicted Donald Trump would win the Republican nomination, and win the presidency in a landslide. Adams based that on reading Trump’s seven books. Adams has an MBA in economics and management from the University of California, Berkeley, which indicates he knows a little bit about marketing and organization. Adams differs from the Beltway Boys not only by education and location, but in viewing politics. They see it in two dimensions; he sees it in three, noting: “The third dimension is emotion and persuasion, not reason.”

Please note, I am neither endorsing Trump nor predicting his inevitability, rather I am trying to understand what is happening, why, and in so understanding help others to do so and hopefully help head things in a different direction.

Antonin Scalia on Religion and the State
"That the Blessed Virgin Mary is called Mother of God is not pious boilerplate..."