The perfect president

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The results are in. Scott Adams might be a genius, but we can’t know for sure. Either way, lots and lots of people are, at best, unsatisfied, and at worse, straight up depressed by the election results. Donald Trump will be the new president of the United States of America.

I think that, no matter which side you are on, we all agree on one thing. Donald Trump is not perfect as a person, and he is not a perfect president. Roughly half of the country decided that Hillary Clinton was even less perfect, but I don’t think anyone thinks she’s perfect either.

My question now is: What would be your perfect president?

When I asked myself, my first instinct was to answer “myself”. Then, I realised that this was just my own “I am obviously smart” bias talking, because I would probably suck at being president. At least, I sucked when I played Democracy 3. The game is probably not that accurate, but I expect the real job to be harder, not easier, so I’d make a very bad president.

In that case, is there anyone alive that would be a perfect president according to my standards?

First of all, I would like someone who would not try to screw over the country for their personal gain. This means either electing someone with a proven track record of incredible integrity, electing someone who already has more money than they will ever want or need, or electing someone who isn’t smart enough to do anything shady without getting caught.

I would like to elect a smart person, because anyone dumb enough to fraud and get caught every single time should not run the country in my opinion. I want a smart president.

As the saying goes, power corrupts. Therefore it would be even better to have someone who both has the great integrity track record and enough money to remove any incentive to screw us over. Since we’re talking about a perfect presidential candidate, we’ll look for someone with both those traits.

Then, I want someone who looks towards the future. We no longer evolve on a biological level. Our survival rates are great, and we basically are the exact same biological specie as 100 000 years ago. In that case, I think it is incredibly important that we evolve on a psychological level. I do not want a creationist or luddite president, I want someone who believes in science and wants it to move forward. I don’t really care what his priorities are in that domain. He could want to focus on green energy, space travel, artificial intelligence, medical knowledge, robots, or whatever else he wants. I think that improving in any of these would lead to overall improvement everywhere indirectly.

I also want a president who is a realist. If the glass is half-empty, he can tell me it’s half-full. I think being an optimist is very important to fit in the previous criteria anyway. But if 100 people are thirsty, I don’t want him to say “it’s gonna be okay, the glass is half-full!”. I want him to admit that there is not enough water, and work towards getting more half-full glasses. This means that if a country attacks us, we try to make peace with them, but we also defend ourselves when it becomes necessary, and not one second later than that. If you kill your enemies, they don’t win. Maybe you don’t win either, because you became a murderer in the process, but the dead guy has definitely lost. You take the moral high ground whenever you can, and you do what you have to do the rest of the time. If a guy slaps you, you don’t shoot him. But if he has a gun and is trying to shoot you, and has already fired several shots and you’re injured, the time to negociate is over and you have to start shooting back.

I also want a president who would never shoot first. We should avoid wars whenever possible, and that means you don’t attack anyone who hasn’t attacked first. War sucks.

I don’t really care whether or not that person has any experience. No matter their experience, I want a president who will surround himself or herself with dozens of advisers who actually have experience. Nobody has enough experience to this job by themselves anyway, so I want a president who admits this and tries to get as much good advice as possible. So my president has to be self-aware and modest.

Then, I want a president who is not racist, sexist, homophobic, or really anything. Actually, I believe everyone is at least a little bit those things, thanks to pattern recognition and selective memory, so I’d like a president who is able to look past that. If you don’t like gay people, I guess that’s your right, but you’d better treat them as good as anyone else, or we’re going to have a problem. If my president is racist, sexist, homophobic, etc, then I want him or her to suck it up during the term and never act on it. Just think about the least-racist person you know, and imagine that I want our president to act this way towards minorities. I’m sure that person you now have in mind is at least a little racist, they’re just better than other people at ignoring their racist tendencies and acting fair anyway.

I honestly don’t care if the president is natural born, as long as they’re a citizen. I don’t want any random brazilian helicopter pilot to come visit our country here and run for president during their trip, but I wouldn’t mind that guy running for president if he has lived here for several years and obtained citizenship. Basically, if you’re allowed to vote, you should be allowed to run for president in my opinion. I also don’t care if they’re a woman, a minority, a muslim, an homosexual, and transexual, or whatever. If your entire reason to ask to be elected is being part of that group, then we might have a problem, but I really don’t mind being proud of being the first X president, as long your campaign is not focused on that and only that.


Credit: xkcd (Oct 2012)

And last but not least, I want a president who is able to think rationally in feelings-heavy situations. This means being able to discuss uncomfortable stuff when needed. This means that if we start talking about life, and someone mentions an objective truth that is crazy uncomfortable, I want my candidate to not complain about the idea that we’re discussing, and just argue their point if they have one. A good example would be the fact that when we are helping, and sometimes even forcing, the survival of everyone, including heavily handicapped people who would definitely not survive in the wild, then we are actively working against natural selection and this could end up weakening our specie in the long run. Then, ideally, my president would argue the fact that we are trying to distance ourselves from animals, and trying to be better than them, or whatever other better argument he/she could come up with. My president should be smarter than me, so I don’t know what their point would be. As long as it’s not along the lines of “get out you nazi lunatic!”, I can probably endorse it. A lot of people will simply start actively hating the person who mentioned that, without accepting that it’s true, instead of finding a counter-argument, and honestly I hate it. That might be just me, but I hate the idea of trying to live in an illusion and avoiding uncomfortable truths. I might be just cynical, but this is my definition of a perfect president.

Just to be clear. My perfect president would defend handicapped people in this situation. I just want him to do it with facts instead of feelings.

As you can see, neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton was my perfect candidate. I didn’t find any third-party who was perfect to me either. Lots of people will tell me that nobody’s perfect, but I beg to differ. I’m not asking for a perfect person. My definition of perfect is not perfect, and in 8 billion people I’m pretty sure a couple of them probably match my expectations. This year, I’ve had Elon Musk in mind. I don’t know him personally, but he looks like he could have all those things I want. The problem is that Musk is definitely not the kind of guy interested in running for president. He wants to spend every minute of his life working to save the world, so he probably doesn’t have time to campaign or even be president and sit through hundred of boring unproductive meetings. I have a feeling that anyone who actually fits my “perfect president” filter would probably think the same way. So I’ll probably have to settle for flawed people acting as flawed presidents for my entire life. (I don’t think Elon Musk is a perfect human being, he’s just the first one “good enough” that came ot my mind)

What would your perfect presidential candidate be like?

  • MUltan

    Then, I want a president who is not racist, sexist, homophobic, or
    really anything. Actually, I believe everyone is at least a little bit
    those things, thanks to pattern recognition and selective memory, so I’d
    like a president who is able to look past that. If you don’t like gay
    people, I guess that’s your right, but you’d better treat them as good
    as anyone else, or we’re going to have a problem.

    These norms are only 10 to 60 years old. Obama was against gay marriage, that’s how long that has been a norm, but it seems like every time a new frontier in “tolerance” opens up, it’s ret-conned that all goodthinkers always believed that. In fact, virtually every culture in every era would agree that all these “obvious truths” are not just wrong, but intolerable for any culture that wants to perpetuate itself, prefer the better to the worse and prevent mental and physical illness.

    Progress, or degeneracy? The latter. To survive as a nation, we must prefer the good to the bad, the smart to the stupid, the faithful to the promiscuous, the healthy to the diseased. Most of all, we must recognize that intelligence, beauty, disposition and all other qualities of persons and peoples, culture, indeed nationhood itself, are all primarily genetic in nature; none can be presumed to be equal in any quality. We are as we are because we are of our people. To be and to continue to be, we must be our people, not some other, and not intermingled with other peoples. That is what “nation” means.

    To be and to continue to be a nation we must deride the foolishness and fads and embrace the wisdom of all peoples in all ages and reject multiculturalism, reject inferior and inimical parasites and invaders, reject perversion and promiscuity. Or we will cease to exist as a nation, for us the ultimate loss, for the world a descent into a new dark age.

    • Kaito Kid

      Why would I care if those norms are old or recent?

      I agreed with the first part of your argument. Genetics have a lot to do with being smart or stupid, etc. I also think we should definitely give merit to the stronger individuals, and not settle for mediocrity in the name of equality.

      I disagree very much with your second part, and I DEFINITELY wouldn’t vote for you as a president. You seem to take for granted that other races are inferior or something, without providing any scientific evidence for that. In your mind, it seems that we must recognize superiority, and americans are superior. It’s easy to ask for a meritocracy when you wrongly think that you have all the merit.

      And EVEN if that were true, that the average american was smarter than the average foreigner, which I don’t think is true at all, not every american would be smarter than every foreigner, therefore it would STILL be incredibly stupid to “reject” everyone else because of it. No matter how the averages are distributed, we should still be looking to work with the best of every group, regardless of any group’s average, otherwise we are settling for mediocrity anyway.

      Equality and fairness are different things. We might not all be equal, but this is true inside a single country too. Everyone deserves a chance to prove that they are better than we thought. And if they succeed at it, and you reject them, then you’ve only proved that you were simply the dumb one in that situation

  • Kingfisher12

    Well, there’s no such thing as a perfect person, but you can certainly do better in terms of Presidents. I’d shoot for ideal qualities.

    President is a tough job, because it doesn’t actually have a well-defined scope. What is a President supposed to do with the 1,461 days of a term?

    The President’s job is to preside. I’ve worked with presidents of companies, organizations, churches and clubs. The job of a President of one of those isn’t much different than being President of a country – it’s just bigger.

    Take the President of a company. It’s important to see what is and is not his job.

    A president calls meetings – but he doesn’t (not always) set the agenda. He’ll say these people need to sit down together and solve this problem. He doesn’t tell them how to solve the problem. He’ll demand accountability from whomever he put in charge of that task.

    A president meets with other bigwigs – he’s the face of the company, and his bearing and dignity reflect the bearing and dignity of the company. How the president is perceived is how the company is perceived. The president’s job is to be dignified.

    A president resolves conflicts. He has to be sensitive to when some combination isn’t working out, and he has to direct his attention to maintain order and peace. Sometimes it means giving people a lecture, sometimes it means shuffling people around. But he has to do it with an eye for what’s best for the company.

    He has to do the jobs that no one else has the authority to do. The president shouldn’t be doing a job that someone else could and should be doing. Sometimes this isn’t about deciding, it’s about doing what must be done, and there literally is no-one else that can do it. Sometimes these jobs are written in to the constitution, but more often than not it’s something that there just isn’t any precedent for, like nuclear launches.

    So the ideal president is someone who is attentive but not obsessive, dignified but not haughty, sensitive but stern, and above all willing to shoulder whatever burden the nation sees fit to place on him.

    Trump’s got some big shoes to fill.