Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Social Media Trumpsters

In my last posting I proposed the term "trumpster" as a less vulgar alternative to "bullshitter". I argued that a trumpster is a type of parasite that infects others with false beliefs to get them to behave in ways that thwart the ends of those infected, causing them to behave instead in ways that serve the interests of the trumpster.

A more common version of the trumpster is common on social media.

Remember, a trumpster is similar to, but not exactly like, the liar. The liar is a parasite who infects others with beliefs he knows to be false. The trumpster, in contrast, does not care whether his claims are true or false. He only cares whether they are useful. He may even believe them - but he does not believe them on the basis of evidence. He believes them on the basis of convenience. If convenience should change a day or two later, so will the beliefs of the trumpster, and so will the beliefs that he tries to inflict on others.

On social media, we see these same type of people spreading lies and information to their "friends".

When a trumpster finds something that he likes on social media, he shares it. He spreads it far and wide. In true trumpster fashion, he does not care whether it is true or false. He only cares whether it serves his interests. If it does, then it must be shared. If not, then it must be condemned.

To the degree that people are rational and know what is good for them, they will realize that they need to take action to reduce the total number of trumpsters in the communities in which they life.

Recall that the problem with false beliefs is that they cause people to act in ways that set back their own interests. I illustrated this with consideration of a person who is thirsty who wants a drink of water. The person with the false belief that a glass contains clean water when, in fact, it contains poison risks setting back her interests in continued life when, what all she wants is to quench her thirst. To prevent from making these types of mistakes we all need true beliefs - we all need a better understanding of how the world actually works. Trumpsters, instead of filling society with true beliefs and accurate understanding of how the world works, fill people with false beliefs so that they will act in ways that thwart their own interests, but fulfill the interests of the trumpster.

On social media, they spread these false beliefs and misunderstandings by spreading memes they find useful.

So, we all have reason to condemn these creatures. We all have reason to use our tools of condemnation and contempt to try to reduce the overall number of trumpsters in our community - as a way of reducing the total number of false beliefs and misunderstandings of the workings of the world that cause us so many problems.

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