On ZombieHero’s blog, we’ve been discussing the appeal to authority/expert fallacy that was used by the left to describe Obama. Commenter yttik reminded me of an example that went something like “Obama is so intelligent that it’s like he’s playing 11 dimensional chess,” so the rest of us should just basically watch and admire because there’s no way our intellect could grasp what he’s trying to do.
I’m interested in finding concise and compelling sentences that might cause someone who holds this belief to question it.
Thomas Sowell says that the incorrect beliefs we hold tend to be those that we do not bear direct consequences for being wrong. For example, when I put my hand on a hot stove because I believe it won’t hurt I quickly learn that my belief is incorrect. The consequence for being wrong was direct and instantaneous.
However, if I believe that someone is so much more intelligent than I and that I should just trust his solutions for the economy and government, the feedback on whether I’m right is not as direct and instantaneous. It’s also prone to bias, rationalization and spin. “I inherited a really bad economy.”
When I got in trouble as a kid because I went along with what someone else was doing, my parents would ask, “If he jumped off a bridge would you too?”
Now I understand the brilliance of this question. It exposed the fallacy in my argument (“he was doing it too” was not a valid argument for bad behavior) and it created a strong visual in my mind for a direct and instantaneous feedback for allowing the bad behavior of someone else to have such influence my decision-making.
So, maybe that’s a first question to ask someone who trusts Obama because he’s intelligent.
Another possibility, since we now have some experience to deal with: “How has that been working out for us?”
Those are just starters. At some point, it might be helpful to go into roots of their faulty beliefs. I believe their are two faulty assumptions that form the basis of the belief that an intelligent person can work wonders with the economy.
The first is that intelligence of one person or a small group of people can do positive things with more centralized power on something as complex and dynamic as the economy. Believing this comes from a lack of appreciation of how the economy works.
The second faulty assumption is that what someone like Obama is doing is similar to what someone like Reagan did. It usually surfaces in a conversation as something like, “your guy had a shot, now let our guy try.” This assumption stems from a lack of appreciation for the limitations of politics, humans and government.
I’ll write more about those two faulty assumptions in the future.