Two quotes from recent EconTalk podcast episodes that remind me of this post of mine (Do your homework) about how the Rock the Vote culture has encouraged people to think less and act more.
Bill James (Mr. Moneyball) speaking:
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.
You know, these–we take 18-year-old kids, we put them in Ivy League universities, and we tell them to criticize the system and to act as political activists. And I look at that and I think, ‘God, you kids, you don’t know anything. You’ve never had a job. You’ve never taken care of anyone, including yourself. You can’t organize your own household. You’ve never read anything. You don’t know how to write. You don’t know how to think. But, it’s okay: Your professors can tell you that, now you are in a position to criticize the foundations of Western civilization. It’s like–it’s horrifying.