"The Confidence Game" Author Questions: Donald Trump, Con Artist?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 19, 2016 4:36 PM GMT
    theantijock%20engage%20stalker%20reducti

    http://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/donald-trump-con-artist
    ...Suppose that Trump is a con artist—what, exactly, would that mean?...

    ...In writing “The Confidence Game,” I learned that a con artist, or “confidence man,” is a very specific type of person...

    ...A line, thin but perceptible, divides even egregious liars from confidence men...

    ...A grifter takes advantage of a person’s confidence for his own specific ends—ends that are often unknowable to the victim and unrelated to the business at hand. He willfully deceives a mark into handing over his trust under false pretenses. He has a plan. What ultimately sets con artists apart is their intent. To figure out if someone is a con artist, one needs to ask two questions. First, is their deception knowing, malicious, and directed, ultimately, toward their own personal gain? Second, is the con a means to an end unrelated to the substance of the scheme itself?

    For a con artist, no matter the chosen racket...the end goal is the same: personal profit. But the profit need not be financial. Often, it isn’t. Underlying almost any con is the desire for power—for control over other people’s lives....

    ...Con artists aren’t true believers; they are opportunists. Trump, as a con artist, would give up on politics the moment it stopped serving his purposes, moving on to the next thing that gave him the same level of attention and adulation. He might, for example, drift away from political life the same way he drifted away from “The Apprentice,” or from any of his business or real-estate ventures before that.

    We already see some evidence of that drift in the evolution, such as it is, of his political views...

    Another thing that differentiates con artists from ordinary liars is their nuanced and targeted use of flattery. Confidence men know that the best way to achieve their desires is to tell people what they want to hear rather than what is true....

    Con artists don’t sell reality; they sell an illusion that their victims already want to believe...

    Inasmuch as con artists are peddlers of hope who tell us what we want to hear, many politicians have taken a page from the grifter’s playbook. Still, there’s a difference between ordinary political flattery and political grifting. Again, the dividing line is that of intentionality. Does a politician believe, to some extent, in his promises—or are they incidental to an ultimate goal, which, in the case of the political confidence man, will have nothing whatsoever to do with politics? It’s not a case of misrepresenting one’s policies but of not actually having a policy. And, indeed, Trump’s promises are often deliberately vague. He meets demands for specifics with another tool from the con artist’s arsenal: emotion. People who are emotional are not logical. Appeal to them on the emotional level and you no longer need coherent arguments....

    ...the best evidence for Trump’s potential con artistry comes from the lawsuits against his defunct for-profit educational venture, Trump University...That suit accuses Trump of actual fraud, or, as the decision puts it, of the use of “deception, misrepresentation, concealment, suppression, false pretense, false promise or unconscionable contractual provisions” to “defraud.” If, in the end, the ruling goes against Trump, we will be able to say, definitively, that he is a con artist—that he deliberately engaged in deception, using a wholly incidental platform to attain ends of money and influence...

    This raises a depressing possibility. If Trump is indeed a con artist, and if he is, in the end, elected, we may end up not wanting to admit that we were scammed...


    0_b4a79_b91b4ddc_L.jpg
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 19, 2016 9:56 PM GMT
    Aren't they all con artists, sweetie?