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Old 11-02-2019, 06:44   #421
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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I've never heard of a dictator admitting they were wrong, about anything, ever.
I don't recall the last time I heard any politician admit they were wrong, though that may just reflect on my memory.

I can think of lots of admissions of past wrong decisions and policies politicians have had.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Clinton’s admitted they were wrong when they advocated that government should step up efforts to reduce illegal immigration in the 20th century.

Mrs. Clinton said she was wrong when she voted for the invasion of Iraq in 2002.

In fact CNN put together a list of admissions of wrong related to her failed presidential campaign:

https://www.cnn.com/2017/09/12/polit...kes/index.html

Without naming names, many of us here on CF could stand to learn from that last batch of “mistakes”.
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Old 11-02-2019, 09:34   #422
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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The best form of government is a benevolent dictator. The problem is they are really hard to find. And once identified they don’t stay benevolent for long.
Why is this this best form Dan? What makes this better than a functioning democracy, or for that matter, an actual communist country?

I suspect a true benevolent dictatorship (one with the wisdom of Solomon) is as possible as an actual communist government. In other words, they’re virtually impossible in the real world — great in theory, impossible, and lousy in practice.

The whole error admission thing is interesting… Seems to me admitting an error these days is always part of a political strategy to mitigate a problem. Usually it’s some sort of scandal or negative finding. Not actual admissions; really something else.

I speculate that in the past, when near purity was not the only standard we held people to, and no/fewer legal liabilities to face, there were more honest admissions of faults.

These days few institutions allow their people to be honestly contrite in the face of errors. The lawyers tell people never to admit to anything, and the court of public opinion teaches public officials they will be devoured by the mob if they do anything other than obfuscate and deny.

A fine example from today’s Canadian headlines:
Air Canada employee says staff trained to 'dupe' passengers at risk of being bumped from oversold flights
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Old 11-02-2019, 09:53   #423
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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I can think of lots of admissions of past wrong decisions and policies politicians have had...
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... The whole error admission thing is interesting… Seems to me admitting an error these days is always part of a political strategy to mitigate a problem. Usually it’s some sort of scandal or negative finding. Not actual admissions; really something else ...
I think that many of the admissions we see are regarding a minor “failure”, not about fundamental “mistakes”.
"Making a mistake" is not the same thing as "failing."
A failure is the result of a wrong action, whereas a mistake usually is the wrong action.
So, when you make a mistake, you can learn from it and fix it, whereas you can only learn from a failure.
According to a New York Times op-ed by Paul Krugman, we as a nation are suffering from an “epidemic of infallibility”: No one, president or not, wants to admit to wrongdoing, at least not publicly.
“... Many Americans no longer seem to understand what a leader is supposed to sound like, mistaking bombast and belligerence for real toughness...”
Morehttps://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/20/o...n&pgtype=Blogs

“In politics ... never retreat, never retract ... never admit a mistake.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

“My style is to stay on the offensive: to take risks, to recover very fast when you make a mistake, but to keep moving forward.” ~ Newt Gingrich

"One has to actually BE wrong, to justify admitting it" ~ Gord May
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:32   #424
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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Why is this this best form Dan? What makes this better than a functioning democracy, or for that matter, an actual communist country?

I suspect a true benevolent dictatorship (one with the wisdom of Solomon) is as possible as an actual communist government. In other words, they’re virtually impossible in the real world — great in theory, impossible, and lousy in practice.

The whole error admission thing is interesting… Seems to me admitting an error these days is always part of a political strategy to mitigate a problem. Usually it’s some sort of scandal or negative finding. Not actual admissions; really something else.

I speculate that in the past, when near purity was not the only standard we held people to, and no/fewer legal liabilities to face, there were more honest admissions of faults.

These days few institutions allow their people to be honestly contrite in the face of errors. The lawyers tell people never to admit to anything, and the court of public opinion teaches public officials they will be devoured by the mob if they do anything other than obfuscate and deny.

A fine example from today’s Canadian headlines:
Air Canada employee says staff trained to 'dupe' passengers at risk of being bumped from oversold flights
Or the proof of auto insurance in my glove compartment that explicitly warns: "In the event of an accident, don't admit fault."

I think the age old adage about "power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely" should be well-heeded. I don't think human beings are capable of handling unchecked power. A dictatorship or other form of totalitarian govt inevitably results in corruption and repression, whether under the guise of fascism or communism. An exception may exist when there is tribal loyalty or some form of societal hegemony which binds the citizenry together along familial lines rather than mere ideological ones (King Solomon).
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:44   #425
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

Instead of lying to people about oversold flights, why not just sell the ticket as "standby status"?


I almost never fly, but that's how it used to be. No more??
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:58   #426
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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I haven't quite finished the thing but I had to throw it in here. Kind of fascinating.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine...factor/580465/
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It is fascinating, and there are strong parallels with a lot of current research in psychology. Jon Haidt (who is both a credible researcher and a good communicator) has spent a lot of time researching and writing about this subject.

He, and many others, have been working with a theory of a five-tier moral landscape for humans. Each of these tiers is really a spectrum. They are:

1) Care/harm
2) Fairness/cheating
3) Loyalty/betrayal
4) Authority/subversion
5) Sanctity/degradation

(and they are working on adding a sixth factor: Liberty/oppression)

What the research suggests is that liberal-minded people score high on first two factors, but lower on the other three. Conservative folks tend to score more evenly across all five.

In the case of the disgust reaction LE’s paper is referencing, this is part of the sanctity-degradation spectrum. Again, conservatives rank this higher than liberals.

For those not wanting to slog through the many papers and books on the subject, Haidt provides a nice TED talk. It’s about 20 minutes long, but you can jump to around 5:15 to get into the meat of the matter.

https://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_h...ge=en#t-303398
I think the important lesson here is how complex the reasons are for political divides, and how much beyond mere policy differences or tribal-like loyalties explain why people may be more liberal or conservative, or somewhere along the spectrum. It could very well be that some of it is innate, with even a deeply imbedded psychological if not biological component.

Unfortunately, studies like this are often misused by partisans to demonize their opponents in the most simplistic and divisive of ways. Instead, it should inform that we should all be more forgiving & tolerant of different perspectives, particularly when end goals are shared. Unfortunately, I'm no longer sure that we always have those same end goals in common.
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:23   #427
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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"One has to actually BE wrong, to justify admitting it" ~ Gord May
Great line Gord, but a person would be dangerously wrong to say that to his wife!
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:23   #428
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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I think that many of the admissions we see are regarding a minor “failure”, not about fundamental “mistakes”.
"Making a mistake" is not the same thing as "failing."
A failure is the result of a wrong action, whereas a mistake usually is the wrong action.
So, when you make a mistake, you can learn from it and fix it, whereas you can only learn from a failure. ...
Interesting distinction Gord. I haven’t read the Krugman piece, but I always like to remember that failure is always an option in most things that I do. I often recite this mantra when discussion my choices around cruising. I’ve had pushback from some though. For some in our societies, even the idea of admitting failure is possible seems anathema.

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Or the proof of auto insurance in my glove compartment that explicitly warns: "In the event of an accident, don't admit fault."
Yup. It’s now part of our culture: Never admit a mistake. Never say you were wrong. Ties in nicely to the theme of this thread.

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I think the age old adage about "power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely" should be well-heeded. I don't think human beings are capable of handling unchecked power. A dictatorship or other form of totalitarian govt inevitably results in corruption and repression, whether under the guise of fascism or communism.
Exactly. To be human is to be susceptible to these kinds of failings. It may, as you say, be possible to have a truly benevolent dictator in a small, directly connected, community. Probably somewhere in that 150-person number which we seem genetically predisposed to relate to. Beyond that, forget it. It always leads to some sort of totalitarian ruler.

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Instead of lying to people about oversold flights, why not just sell the ticket as "standby status”? I almost never fly, but that's how it used to be. No more??
Apparently it is common practice now to “over-sell” seats on the plane. It’s based on statistical evidence regarding the odds of no-shows. I understand this, but it still boggles my mind that a company can “sell” something that they don’t actually have. They are selling me a seat on a particular plane, but in reality they don’t necessarily they have this thing to sell. How is this even legal?
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:25   #429
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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Unfortunately, the latter approach has rather ironically become more a feature of the 'Progressive Left' than what some might call the 'Fascist Right.' Justifiably or not, the criticism directed towards a relatively small subset of university students has been extended to more 'classical' liberals and, by extension, the Democratic Party as a whole. Some of this is unduly hyped by conservative media no doubt, but some of it is well justified by the failure of mainstream liberals to speak out against it. And of course some Dems bring it on themselves by their outright advocacy for silencing or even prosecuting those with contrary opinions on contentious issues like AGW. And then there's the constant shaming, stereotyping, and claims to moral superiority that seem so vacuous, alienating and counter-productive. But liberals certainly have no monopoly on that one.
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I think you’re right about a certain aspect of the extreme left. But they are certainly not the “progressive left.” They represent a new breed; the Regressive Left if you will. Some far right voices attempt to make the connection between the antics of these regressive, and actual progressives. We should all push back on this equally regressive narrative.
Yes, we all should, but thus far the pushback seems to be mainly coming from conservatives, and not more mainstream liberals, especially those in leadership positions. Much of this is simply to preserve their own political power, but that is putting personal advancement above what's best for society as a whole. And I don't think I can agree that it's confined to the "Regressive Left" when it was a consortium of state Attorney General's, for e.g., who threatened criminal prosecution of organizations & individuals who are well-known skeptics of AGW. But maybe even more insidious, there is an ever louder chorus of anger, demonization, intolerance, and conformity of thought in more mainstream Democratic circles which is troubling. From identity politics to #MeToo to Open Borders to Trump Derangement Syndrome, the Progressive platforms seem dangerously focused on issues that not only divide, but offer little opportunity for compromise. I don't think this necessarily bodes well for Republicans either, since there's plenty of divisiveness coming from some quarters there too, but at least they are having healthy debates amongst themselves and pushing back on each other, and on Trump.

In any event, I hope you're right and we will start hearing more voices of moderation on both sides, but I'm not hearing it as of yet. It also begs the question whether, between the so-called Regressive Left & Progressive Left, if the "Classical Left" has now become extinct?
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:33   #430
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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"One has to actually BE wrong, to justify admitting it" ~ Gord May
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Great line Gord, but a person would be dangerously wrong to say that to his wife!
Yes, a wise man once said that it's always better for a man to apologize to his wife when she's wrong.
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:36   #431
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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I think the age old adage about "power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely" should be well-heeded. I don't think human beings are capable of handling unchecked power. A dictatorship or other form of totalitarian govt inevitably results in corruption and repression, whether under the guise of fascism or communism. An exception may exist when there is tribal loyalty or some form of societal hegemony which binds the citizenry together along familial lines rather than mere ideological ones (King Solomon).
Where I have trouble agreeing with this is the fact that a huge portion of the world "believe" in some form of benevolent dictator that they call thier God. (or Son thereof).

The irony is that in "believing" they will with utmost humility explain that proof is unnecessary.

So children in Sunday school learn that if you simply believe... you can never be wrong.
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:50   #432
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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Where I have trouble agreeing with this is the fact that a huge portion of the world "believe" in some form of benevolent dictator that they call thier God. (or Son thereof).

The irony is that in "believing" they will with utmost humility explain that proof is unnecessary.

So children in Sunday school learn that if you simply believe... you can never be wrong.
That's a good point. My comment is from the perspective of a citizen of a Western secular democracy, and so I am naturally biased against other forms of govt which are more authoritarian, whether dictatorial powers are derived from brute force and/or claims to divinity. Perhaps one example from the part of the world you reside is Pres. Duterte. As much as he is justifiably scorned in the West, I'm sure there are many who worship him for his (brutal) stand against a serious societal ill, namely the scourge of illegal drugs. More humility could serve all of us well when judging how other nations wind up with the the types of govt. they have.
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Old 11-02-2019, 12:13   #433
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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Apparently it is common practice now to “over-sell” seats on the plane. It’s based on statistical evidence regarding the odds of no-shows. I understand this, but it still boggles my mind that a company can “sell” something that they don’t actually have. They are selling me a seat on a particular plane, but in reality they don’t necessarily they have this thing to sell. How is this even legal?

Agreed. It used to be you would buy a ticket for a flight and "stand by" waiting to see if you could get on when someone else didn't show.
The ticket was sold at a discount and you hoped the flight didn't completely fill.

Apparently nowadays, the airlines figured out they could sell all the tickets at full price by lying to people instead.



Sorry for thread drift.
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Old 11-02-2019, 12:18   #434
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

If you have 'GTE' [for "gate"], instead of a seat number, on your boarding pass, it means you don't have a seat. The reason you don't have an assigned seat is because the flight was oversold.
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Old 11-02-2019, 12:46   #435
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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Yes, we all should, but thus far the pushback seems to be mainly coming from conservatives, and not more mainstream liberals, especially those in leadership positions. Much of this is simply to preserve their own political power, but that is putting personal advancement above what's best for society as a whole. And I don't think I can agree that it's confined to the "Regressive Left" when it was a consortium of state Attorney General's, for e.g., who threatened criminal prosecution of organizations & individuals who are well-known skeptics of AGW. But maybe even more insidious, there is an ever louder chorus of anger, demonization, intolerance, and conformity of thought in more mainstream Democratic circles which is troubling. From identity politics to #MeToo to Open Borders to Trump Derangement Syndrome, the Progressive platforms seem dangerously focused on issues that not only divide, but offer little opportunity for compromise. I don't think this necessarily bodes well for Republicans either, since there's plenty of divisiveness coming from some quarters there too, but at least they are having healthy debates amongst themselves and pushing back on each other, and on Trump.
Hmmm, I guess what we perceive once again depends on our own particular perspective (bias). What I see is a political right that has become far more extreme in its actions and beliefs. I link it back to the Tea Party, but it appears to be growing with the current Republican leadership. There appears to be very few voices of moderation on the right (from my perspective). The few that do speak up all mostly do so only when they risk nothing (like Congress people who are no longer running).

I do agree the voices of moderation on the left could and should be stronger in their push back against this Regressive Left. There are some, mostly in academia, but certainly not enough. We seem to be locked into a mass movement of pursuing impossible purity. Most people seem afraid to speak up out of fear of them too being labels racist, or mysoginist, or just plain “privileged.”

But I see the same blindness and unwillingness to act on the right. So I view this as part of a broader political malaise that seems to be infecting everyone. It’s not good.

I’m not familiar with the threat to criminally prosecute AGW deniers. This doesn’t sound like anything a reasonable prosecutor would consider — on what grounds? I can see going after industries which knowingly promulgate false information, as we did with tobacco companies, but surely denialism itself is easily protected under free speech laws.
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