A very common type of Trump supporter…

I know it is common to mock Trump supporters as being very wealthy people (e. g. CEOs) interested in getting their “low tax and deregulation” wish list fulfilled or as very dumb, poor people voting against their own interests. I’ve written about those two types of supporters.

But there is another large class of Trump supporters: people who, while not unusually educated, are not poor either. One might think of a factory foreman or perhaps a senior enlisted person in the military.

They are somewhat wealthier than the average American and, realistically, a bit above average in IQ. I was reminded of this type of Trump supporter when I read a comment on a physics professor’s Facebook page:

Rory, I’m a graduate Engineer. I was an Electronic Technician for years before I became an Engineer. I encountered this academic blindness on my first day of “Theory of Electrical Design.” My University professor began the class teaching that Electricity flowed from Positive to Negative because all things must flow “downhill.” I laughed. I had learned that electrons are responsible for electricity and, being negatively charged, they always flow from Negative to Positive AND I had built and repaired many a radio, radar and computer SUCCESSFULLY using this methodology. However, my Professor could/would not accept that fact! He had only heard his theoretical approach (I call it the “hole” theory) and I had to accept his POV in order to pass his class. He had never operated on any electronic devices and did not CARE how things worked in the real world (where I earned my living). It was difficult for him to see anything except theory and he was blind to any other POV. I, on the other hand, once I saw that if I reversed all my polarity signs, I could make the Math work for the sake of a passing the exam. I have other examples of Academic blindness insisting that Reality must change for the sake of their personally proven theory.

This is where you and I are. I have outer world experience in what works. You are an academic professional. You’ve lived inside this academic ‘bubble’ so long, you think I’M mad. The others following your page who delight in slander, emotional name calling, and illogical phraseology because they do not understand me, are different than you or I. There is no hope for them. But I extend this essay in the hope you might see some possibility of value to another view of reality. You see, from where I sit, it is not my view that contradicts the way Reality works, it is yours. And what, may I point out, is one definition of “Mental Illness” but a mental attitude that shuts out reality? With hopes we can exchange some meaningful dialogue, I offer you my Best wishes, Jon

Now, the person who wrote this probably has a somewhat above average IQ, though well below that of the physics professor he was addressing (who is a national class level researcher).

Now here is what is going on: when one teaches, say, circuit analysis to those who do not have a college mathematics and physics background, one must simplify. And at least in the Navy (and perhaps in other places), they are taught an “electron current” theory of electricity. This is more intuitive for them; they can visualize (so they think) little electrons (thought of as, well, small particles) flowing from one place to another.

Because using this convention and simplification allowed for this person to do electronic work, well, that must be “real world”.

In fact, current was defined before electrons were, and the standard electrodynamic theory has current “flowing” in the other direction. That is the universal definition among scientists and engineers and, at the university level and above, that is what *should* be taught.

But oh no…this individual, while not dumb, was terribly ignorant of “what was out there” and not curious enough to learn.

And what of the basic science behind the electronic components that he was able to tinker with during his “technician” days? Did that just appear from a burning bush? Nah, to this obstinate fool, well, that is some “no common sense professor” with his nose too deeply in the book to appreciate REAL WORLD stuff.

Anyhow, there are a lot of Trump supporters like this one. The conclusions that they have reached in their respective limited spheres and limited experiences override expert opinion, especially if that expert opinion is counter-intuitive to them.

Workout notes: 58:36 for a 5 mile walk on the treadmill; it felt fine.


March 20, 2017 - Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political, walking


  1. It is some kind of psychological problem, and I can’t guess at the origin. Basically, the situation seems to be that they can’t stand the thought of being a learner, because that implies they don’t already know everything. I have encountered a number of people like that on FB, and they are all conservatives and all Trump supporters and all Fox News fans. As for current, physicists have defined the direction of the current and the current density (which is a vector, while current is not) to point in the direction of the electric field in the conductor. As for what is actually “moving” in the conductor, nothing is. The “active” electrons are bound in the solid, in the conduction band, and their probability distributions, which have a weird shape, extend throughout the metal. In quantum physics, there is really no such concept as “motion.” A particle with a definite momentum would have a probability distribution independent of time, and extending over all space. Nothing would be “going anywhere.”

    Comment by Rory Coker | March 21, 2017 | Reply

    • Yes, but the idea of those little “electron particles flowing”, while incorrect, is a model that they “think” that they understand…sort of like the solar system model of the atom. They have no idea that this is a heuristic that helps them do electronics and not an accurate description of what is going on.

      Comment by blueollie | March 21, 2017 | Reply

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