Occam’s Razor and the Phenomenon of Trump Loyalism in 2023

Gary L Deel
6 min readJun 12

by Dr. Gary L. Deel, Ph.D., J.D.

Occam’s razor is a philosophical problem-solving principle which recommends searching for explanations constructed with the smallest possible set of elements. This principle is also known as the law of parsimony.

The principle is often expressed in the Latin phrase, “entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem”, which means “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity”. In other words, when faced with two or more competing hypotheses that explain a given set of facts, the one that is the simplest and requires the fewest assumptions should be adopted, as it is usually most likely to be correct.

Occam’s Razor is useful for many if not most problem-solving contexts in our everyday lives.

For example, if a doctor is trying to diagnose a patient with a fever, they should first consider the most likely explanation, which is that the patient has a cold. If the patient’s symptoms do not improve after a few days, the doctor might then consider more complex explanations, such as the possibility that the patient has the flu or another illness.

But the doctor probably should not assume, all things being equal, that the fever is from neorickettsia sennetsu, a bacterial infection which has afflicted less than 100 people over the last 50 years — and only in the regions of Japan and Malaysia. Again, the circumstances and statistical likelihood do not make this kind of diagnosis a good bet.

As another example, if you hear a strange noise in your house at night, it could be a burglar or a murderer coming to get you. Or even a ghost if you believe in that sort of thing. But it could also just be your pet moving around, or the wind, or your house foundation settling. Again, Occam’s razor would suggest that the simpler explanations should be your default theories.

While these example might make good intuitive sense in the abstract, it’s interesting to observe that many people don’t apply the same problem solving logic when it comes to politics — and particularly when it comes to divisive political figure Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has been a public figure for decades in America. But in 2016, he entered politics with his…

Gary L Deel

Dr. Gary Deel is a consultant, an attorney, an executive leader, an author, a podcast host, and a professor for several different universities.