Russ Roberts and Bill James


At the end, Bill James expresses sentiments that are essentially identical with mine.

Self-righteousness is the great problem that afflicts our political culture. And, the problem is that large numbers of people on both ends of the political spectrum are so convinced that they are correct and that failings to see their correctness are moral failings, that we have lost much of our ability to communicate from one end of the spectrum to the other. And, there’s no justification for it on either end. None of us understand the world. The world is vastly more complicated than the human mind. No one understands whether these policies are going to have the intended effects, or whether the unintended effects are going to be greater than the intended effects. No one knows the answers to those questions. And the people who are convinced that they know the answers to those questions are just wrong. And it’s become a huge concern, because people are so angry, based on their self-righteousness, that we are: anger repeatedly expressed–anger building on anger, building on anger eventually leads to violence. And we need to get people to back away from the conviction that they are right and see that they may be wrong not about something but about everything.

This entry was posted in Three-Axes Model. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Russ Roberts and Bill James

  1. Lord says:

    It is more a two sided problem. Those who are certain they know, and those who are just as certain they don’t. It is critical to test one’s beliefs, but know nothing ism is usually just another way to hold hidden beliefs and avoiding testing or defending them. Hidden assumptions are rife with error, and profession of ignorance is often as much a sign of arrogance as humility.

  2. Steve Brown says:

    As the scope of human relations that is subject to political determination increases, the likelihood that any given political question will encroach upon what various individuals and constituencies consider to be uncompromisable values also increases. The problem will not get better until and unless we recognize that political solutions(i.e. state _enforced_ solutions) are essentially the embodiment of intolerance, and that a truly tolerant society would seek to minimize that which is subject to political determination, only using the political process to address the greatest questions.

  3. Seth says:

    Heard that, too. That was good. It puzzles me how convinced some folks are that they’re correct about politics.

    If it’s about fixing a toilet they don’t mind admitting they don’t know.

    I wonder why. Is it skin in the game and the strength/clarity of feedbacks?

    I also think it’s amazing that people who tend to lean one way vs. the other is split so evenly.

  4. Roger Sweeny says:

    I can’t help buy think of my adolescence. It would kill me that girls were attracted to people I considered jerks but not to me. Many years later, someone said to me, “It’s not that girls are attracted to jerks; it’s that they’re attracted to people who confident–and at that age, most confident people are jerks.”

    All too often, people who are confident but wrong are more attractive than people who know their limitations.

  5. Richard Fulmer says:

    A person’s intolerance is typically proportional to his ignorance. Everything is simple until you know something about it.

  6. Ally says:

    This also brings to mind this recent blog post from Scott Alexander discussing what he refers to as ‘Conflict Theory’ versus ‘Mistake Theory’ mindsets:

    Also self-recommending.

Comments are closed.