Monday, March 19, 2012

This guy gave me things to think about


I read a post by rdbrewer over at The Ace Of Spades blog.  These are some excerpts from his excellent article.  You can read the rest here.

Recall the Dunning-Kruger effect. In short, a person’s incompetence inhibits their ability to recognize his or her incompetence. The people who think they are the smartest are the dumbest, essentially, because they are blind to their stupidity. The people who think they know better know the least. And isn't it interesting that they are almost always the first to hurl the insult "you're stupid"?

Anyway, I was reading about the police busting OWS people and closing Zuccotti Park today, and it occurred to me that there is a variation on the Dunning-Kruger effect that has to do with other forms of self-awareness. Several examples:
  • Doesn't it follow that the people who regard themselves as the most open-minded are in fact the most close minded? Their errant self-view causes them to be blind to how close-minded they are. Progressives in many institutions like academia, for example, talk endlessly about diversity while at the same time denying, marginalizing, and shutting-up voices on the right. Conservative professors don't get tenure. Conservative voices on campus are shouted down and silenced by left wing perma-children. A more specific example: Andrew Breitbart was often called a fag by the most wonderful people in the world.
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  • Doesn't it follow that the people who think they're making the world a nicer place are the ones who are making it worse? They have a blind spot for their own bad behavior. A specific example: Al Gore and energy usage. Gore wants to make the world a better place by decreasing reliance on fossil fuels. (Assume for a moment he actually believes his bullshit. I don't think he does.) While having a bigger carbon footprint than anyone else on the planet, with the exception of the president... who at least has an excuse.
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  • Doesn't it follow that the people who think they are the best suited to lead others would often be the least suitable/capable to do so? Here's a quick example: One of the creepiest people I ever knew sought out positions of authority on ethical panels. He had to be one of the least ethical, least well-suited people to serve in such a position, but he thought he was fantastic, and very well-suited to judge the behavior of others. A friend quipped, to paraphrase, "The type of people who seek out positions of authority like this are usually the people you would least want to serve in those positions." We agreed that it's almost as if we should automatically eliminate anyone who volunteers for a such positions and recruit from those who do not.
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  • Doesn't it follow that the people who are the most selfish would believe themselves to be the most selfless? They want people to give more, to pay more taxes... so they themselves can have a bigger slice of the pie. Their self-view disables their ability to reality-test. Ever hear of a progressive avoiding a tax dodge? Related, doesn't it follow that the people most interested in redistribution of wealth would give the least? I recall reading an article about ten years ago that surveyed charity giving on a state-by-state per capita basis. Or maybe it was as a percentage of income. Anyway, the "flyover states" were the most giving. The least? Massachusetts. Followed by the usual suspects. 

1 comment:

WOMBAT said...

Everybody has asked the question. . ."What shall we do with the Negro?" I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature's plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!

--Frederick Douglass

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