Scott Adams is the creator of Dilbert. Full disclosure: I like Dilbert. In fact, when looked at in comparison to the other comic strips my newspaper provides, I’d be willing to say it is my 3rd favorite strip. (Once again, out of the limited choices my paper provides. And that isn’t counting Doonesbury, since my newspaper spares the feelings of God fearing conservative kids by putting Doonesbury on the opinion page instead of the comics page. Of course, they also run rightwing propaganda comic Mallard Fillmore on the Sunday Comics page. Which I guess is my newspapers way of saying that ducks spouting rightwing talking points is acceptable children’s fodder while humans with progressive views are strictly adults only. But I digress….)
Much more after the jump…..
Back to Scott Adams. Now I admit that I don’t have a very high opinion of Mr. Adams already, due to his…well, read for yourself. From The Friendly Atheist:
He’s said some increasingly crazy things about atheists and evolution.
This brings me to atheists. In order to be certain that God doesn’t exist, you have to possess a godlike mental capacity – the ability to be 100% certain. A human can’t be 100% certain about anything. Our brains aren’t that reliable. Therefore, to be a true atheist, you have to believe you are the very thing that you argue doesn’t exist: God.
I’ve been trying for years to reconcile my usually-excellent bullshit filter with the idea that evolution is considered a scientific fact. Why does a well-established scientific fact set off my usually-excellent bullshit filter like a five-alarm fire? It’s the fossil record that has been bugging me the most. It looks like bullshit. Smells like bullshit. Tastes like bullshit. Why isn’t it bullshit? All those scientists can’t be wrong.
If you are new to the Dilbert Blog, I remind you that I don’t believe in Intelligent Design or Creationism or invisible friends of any sort. I just think that evolution looks like a blend of science and bullshit, and have predicted for years that it would be revised in scientific terms in my lifetime. It’s a hunch – nothing more.
In another post:
My track record of predictions has been fairly good this week:
1. DNA evidence shows that ape-human fossil records have been badly misinterpreted. (Nailed it.)
Wrong on every count.
And it’s not just evolution and atheism. Adams has also said “brilliant” things like this:
Mostly, though, I haven’t really paid attention to it at all, at least until today, when the internet discovered a post where Dilbert creator Scott Adams gave us all a piece of his mind in a post (since deleted) about men’s rights, and the fact that he thinks men suffer a level of social injustice equal to women.
After all, women might get paid less for the exact same amount of work as men in our society, but men die earlier, teen boys have to pay higher car insurance, and sometimes women want men to open doors for them, so it all comes out in the wash, right? I’m not making those examples up, either; those are his examples.
And then there’s this:
The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone. You don’t argue with a four-year old about why he shouldn’t eat candy for dinner. You don’t punch a mentally handicapped guy even if he punches you first. And you don’t argue when a women tells you she’s only making 80 cents to your dollar. It’s the path of least resistance. You save your energy for more important battles. -Scott Adams
Now I already know exactly what Scott Adams defenders are going to say, because I’ve seen it before. In fact, here is one example.
Note: This post doesn’t condone the views in either of the blog posts by Scott Adams that are referenced within – instead, I’m pointing out that neither does Scott Adams.
First, it turns out that Adams often posts controversial stuff, not just the two times mentioned. And he does this not because he believes it, but he thinks it’d be interesting for the readers of his blog to debate about it in the comments.
He doesn’t explicitly state that the things he blogs about aren’t necessarily what he agrees with, or that he “build[s] arguments for whatever side of an issue is hardest to defend”, and because of that, except to his regular readers, this explanation falls flat.
Which is what I like to call the “Joe Rogan” defense. As you may know, Joe Rogan is the host of the tv show Fear Factor and a commentator for the UFC. He is also a completely insane conspiracy theorist. Yep, good old Joe doesn’t believe we ever landed on the moon. He is a moon landing denialist. He’s also a 9/11 truther, believes aliens crashed at Roswell, and thinks the Oliver Stone version of the Kennedy assassination is fact.
Or does he? Because Joe also uses the “Joe Rogan” defense (hence the name).
The worst part is that he promotes these ideas to the public at every interview opportunity, but gives himself the intellectual “Get out of jail free” card of not needing any evidence by hiding behind the childish debate technique of saying “Hey, I’m just the guy asking questions.” -Skeptoid, Episode 125
So who knows what Scott Adams actually thinks. He can post just about anything and escape the criticism by claiming he is just stimulating discussion, and/or propping up the weak side in the debate. And I am free to think he is an idiot. Live and let live.
Romney is likely to continue the same drug policies as the Obama administration. But he’s enough of a chameleon and a pragmatist that one can’t be sure. And I’m fairly certain he’d want a second term. He might find it “economical” to use federal resources in other ways than attacking California voters. And he is vocal about promoting states’ rights, so he’s got political cover for ignoring dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal.
So while I don’t agree with Romney’s positions on most topics, I’m endorsing him for president starting today. I think we need to set a minimum standard for presidential behavior, and jailing American citizens for political gain simply has to be a firing offense no matter how awesome you might be in other ways.
Go read it yourself. Form your own opinion. Check out his updates where he gleefully highlights sites that have taken his post out of context.
I can understand Adams’ argument. I have serious problems with Obama’s policy on medical marijuana. It is one of the things that really disappoint me about his presidency, and one issue that is really his fault. He can’t blame this one on the obstructionist congress or anything else.
I have read Mr. Adams argument. I understand his argument. I even sympathize with his argument.
And in the world of reality, where the outcome of this years presidential election will have real world effects on just about every issue, this is perhaps the most idiotic justification I have ever seen for voting for Mitt Romney.
Ignoring all other issues, just focusing on medical marijuana and drug policy, it makes me want to slam my head off my keyboard. Yes, Obama said that his administration would honor state law and back off of medical marijuana providers. And yes, he lied, and yes, that is bad. But Romney is not just likely to continue the same drug policies, he is likely to be much, much worse. Sure, Romney probably would want a second term, but that doesn’t mean he’d “find it “economical” to use federal resources in other ways than attacking California voters.” If Romney wins this election he will still lose California by a healthy amount. And in 2016’s re-election bid, he will lose California again by a healthy amount. Sure he is a vocal proponent of state’s rights. Especially when it comes to restricting abortion access after he names a Supreme Court justice and Roe V. Wade falls. But Republican’s love of states rights for some reason crumbles when the issue is medical marijuana. Here is Jacob Sullum, a senior editor at Reason magazine discussing the subject at Creators.com:
The Republicans also look worse than the Democrats in congressional votes on this issue. It’s true that a conservative Republican congressman, Dana Rohrabacher of California, repeatedly has joined Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., in cosponsoring an appropriations bill amendment that would prohibit the DEA from spending money on busting medical marijuana patients and their caregivers. But Democrats have been far more likely than Republicans to back the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, which last week was supported by 66 percent of the Democrats who voted but opposed by 92 percent of the Republicans.
These partisan tendencies do not mean Democrats have greater respect for the division of powers between the federal government and the states. When it suits them, they’re happy to support federal involvement in policy areas the Constitution leaves to the states. It’s just that Democrats are, by and large, more comfortable with the therapeutic use of cannabis than Republicans are.
It’s hard to find a logical explanation for this split. Republicans, conservatives especially, are traditionally critical of overly cautious regulators who prevent people from using drugs that could relieve their suffering safely and effectively. They have a record of supporting the freedom to use herbal home remedies without unreasonable bureaucratic interference.
The prevailing Republican stance on medical marijuana, which is at odds with what most Americans tell pollsters they think about the issue, can be understood only in light of the connotation cannabis acquired as a result of its accidental association with the 1960s counterculture. In fighting a symbol of their opponents’ principles, conservatives have sacrificed their own.
Since Adams talks about California, let us see what the Drug Policy Forum of California (a group supporting reforming the drug laws) has to say in their election guide at drugsense.org:
To the disappointment of many former supporters, President Barack Obama has failed to honor his campaign pledge to respect state medical marijuana laws, instead leading a more sweeping federal crackdown against it than any of his predecessors. The administration has unleashed the Justice Department, Dept of Treasury, IRS, and DEA against leading California dispensaries, cutting off access to medicine for their customers, hobbling the industry economically, runnning rougshod over local regulations, and costing the state thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenues. On the other hand, his administration has allowed veterans to use medical marijuana and approved reduced sentences for crack cocaine.
For his part, Mitt Romney has expressed disdain for medical marijuana, saying that he will fight it “tooth and nail” and that supporters of legalization should vote for “the other guy.” Although Romney’s VP pick, Paul Ryan, briefly muttered a few platitudes about states’ rights, he quickly clarified that he opposes medical marijuana, too.
In the end, when it comes down to the two major candidates, Romney would most likely be worse than Obama, since he is a committed teetotaler and is supported by hard-core, law-and-order drug warriors, such as millionaire anti-pot zealots Mel and Betty Sembler, founders of STRAIGHT and Save Our Society from Drugs.
If you live in California and deeply care about this issue, then by all means cast a protest vote for one of the third party candidates who support drug reform. As the election guide says:
Given that California is certain to vote for Obama this year, a strong third-party protest vote is in order. Pot smokers and drug reformers can’t change the outcome in California, but they can send a message to Washington that current policies are unacceptable.
But supporting Romney because of Obama’s actions on medical marijuana is like replacing a guy who stepped on your foot with a guy who tells you he is going to shoot you in your foot because you are worried about the health of your foot. Here is Romney himself on marijuana:
Campaigning in New Hampshire during the GOP primary, Mitt Romney was asked on several occasions whether he supported medical marijuana. He became visibly frustrated.
“I have the same position this week I had last week when you asked the question,” he said, before arguing fairly loosely that medical marijuana should be banned because it might lead to broader marijuana legalization, which might in turn lead pot smokers to try hard drugs.
“The entryway into our drug culture for our young people is marijuana,” Romney said. “Marijuana is the starter drug. And the idea of medical marijuana is designed to help get marijuana out into the public marketplace and ultimately lead to the legalization of marijuana overall. And in my view, that’s the wrong way to go.”
Romney suggested his questioner approach Democrats instead and promised to fight legalization. “I know there are some on the Democratic side of the aisle that’d be happy to get in your campaign,” he said. “But I’m opposed to it, and if you elect me president, you’re not going to see legalized marijuana. I’m going to fight it tooth and nail.”
So Scott, I know that I’m not Gawker or Jezebel. I know that I’m a small no-name blog with limited readership, and I won’t find myself listed in your updates as you mock those who “take you out of context.” But your argument is an affront to rationality. Vote for Romney if you like. Endorse him if you wish. But don’t pretend you can rationally justify that endorsement using the issue of medical marijuana.