Dazzle camouflage was one of the more important inventions of the early twentieth century. At that time, boats were spotted using binoculars instead of radar. Inventors experimented with ways to make boats less visible.
In a seemingly great irony, one of the best ways to hide a boat from human eyes turns out to be not making it fade away, but making it noisy. Like the coloration of a calico cat, dazzle camouflage works by obscuring patterns behind distracting shapes. The eye cannot identify an object but sees the type of visual noise that resembles a complex background, so it fades into the background.
Donald Trump uses a dazzle camouflage method of obscuring his actions. He speaks to the talking points addressed by the Left, then makes them larger than life, and so what he says fades into the background. Simultaneously, he distracts them with some other outrage — even a misspelling in a Tweet — that keeps them looking in the wrong area.
For example, here is Trump baffling the opposition on the question of immigration:
The interviewer pressed him again on the scale of legal immigration, asking â€œ[are you] not looking to reduce the numbers?â€
â€œNo, no, no, no, we want people coming in legally. No, very strongly,â€ Trump replied, as two of his economic advisors sat beside him â€” top economic staffer Gary Cohn, and Steve Mnuchin, the Secretary of the Treasury.
Trump also backed proposals to keep importing temporary contract workers for the agricultural sector, even though the cheap labor will retard farmersâ€™ emerging interest in buying new machinery, such as robot apple-pickers and robot cow-milkers.”
The dazzle is Trump talking enthusiastically about immigration, which seizes the headlines, but then he qualifies his statements by making it clear that he is talking about temporary workers:
We also want farm workers to be able to come in. You know, weâ€™re going to have work visas for the farm workers. If you look, you know we have a lot of people coming through the border, theyâ€™re great people and they work on the farms and then they go back home.
In other words, instead of immigration we have a guest-worker program. He also has distracted from the underlying issue, which Leftist journalists who cannot balance checkbooks will not understand, which is that economic forces drive immigration through a push-pull scenario.
The push comes from their home countries, where too high of a population causes them to want to escape low wages; the pull occurs in the first world, where we offer free welfare, healthcare, housing and guaranteed jobs through affirmative action. No one can discriminate against the newcomers, so they get to be first in line everywhere. What a bargain! — for them only.
Trump instead seeks to recontextualize the issue. This is not about immigration, but having people come here temporarily to work, which leads to us identifying these people and setting up programs specifically for them, which opts them out of affirmative action and normal welfare benefits. At least, this is the direction in which he seems to be going.
Will he succeed? It is hard to tell because Team Trump operates behind two layers one one-way glass. The first is that they know the press is both hostile and entirely illiterate regarding the actual issues, so the hound-dogs of the media must be distracted and deflected. The second is that the voters know nothing of how things get done, so they must be baffled.
In addition, Team Trump is avoiding transparency because Team Obama left behind a group of hostile staffers who leak anything that is said to more than one person. As a result, Trump and his staff are doing their best to signal nothing in advance, which is freaking out the D.C. political establishment because now all decisions seem arbitrary and sudden.
Democracy sets up a situation where the voters become tyrants. They want appearance, not reality, which means that any realistic program will provoke their ire but they do not mind being lied to and deceived. Under those circumstances, the only way to win is to misdirect with dazzle camouflage while quietly changing the structure of American government in the background.