As I sat watching a news show yesterday discussing Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric, they showed the video of Donald Trump, during one of his rallies, making the following outrageous statement:
“I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.”
I am sure most people with even a minuscule level of common sense reacted the same way I did when I saw/heard it: “Oh my God, I can’t believe he said that!” Not only that he said he knows more, but he actually said “believe me.”
This statement from a man who has no real military experience, who was actually a draft dodger during the Vietnam War with five draft deferments. However, he does boast of going to a military-style boarding school as a boy.
Of course he contradicted himself at a later rally where he said that “as president he would give his top generals thirty days to present him with a plan to defeat the Islamic State terrorist group.” So, he is going to give the generals, which he knows more about ISIS than they, thirty days to come up with a plan? He just can’t keep up with all the lies he tells.
Why would Trump make this kind of absurd statement? Why would his supporters believe him?
The Dunning-Kruger Effect.
The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which low-ability individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as much higher than it really is. –Wikipedia
In the case of Donald Trump, he suffers from imagined superiority. He truly believes he knows more than anyone else and is more than willing to tell everyone. He knows his followers won’t question him, they will believe what they are told and will do whatever they are told to do. Typical sheep mentality.
In the case of some Trump supporters, they suffer from incompetence, but they are too incompetent to understand they are incompetent. Thus, they will believe anything Trump tells them.
Beyond the Dunning-Kruger Effect, I believe most Trump supporters also lack the intellectual curiosity to learn more. Their knowledge and opinions, if they have one, are solely based on what they see on television, social media and/or hear at a rally, from a friend, neighbor, or relative without ever seeing the big picture for themselves. They either lack the intellectual curiosity to find out for themselves, or they have become intellectually lazy.
Intellectual curiosity means you want to know more than the basics or sound-bites. It is the desire to invest some time and energy into learning more about the real issues and facts. Basically, it is the desire to learn more.
Now that Trump has been elected, his supporters may have an opportunity to understand how incompetent they were in believing everything he said he was going to accomplish. Once Trump learns that the government is not run like a company and actually learns the details of the policies he wants to repeal or change, he will be walking back all those lies (or as Newt Gingrich refers to as “campaign devices to win the election”).
Both Trump and his supporters may wish they had more intellectual curiosity before we got to this point.