Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Quickies: In Which Direction To Look Next Time

     Do you remember how every talking head with access to a microphone declared with total, unshakeable certainty, that Donald Trump could not win the 2016 presidential election? That he would never be the president? Do you remember major figures in high office, including Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama guaranteeing that there will never, ever be a President Trump? Do you remember how the media ridiculed the few who disagreed, including the endlessly courageous Ann Coulter?

     If you don’t remember, YouTube has lots of video reminders available.

     Do you remember how those selfsame deriders of the Trump candidacy went on to predict disasters, catastrophes tantamount to Armageddon, because Donald Trump had defeated their anointed, pre-certified First Woman President In American History? Do you remember them aghast at how “the best qualified person to be president in history” had lost to the unqualified upstart Trump? Do you remember them nattering about how “much of the country is crying...terrified...fearful for their children’s future?”

     YouTube has lots of reminders of those pronouncements, too.

     This is hubris: the deeply held conviction that one cannot be wrong, that those who disagree cannot be right, that one occupies an elevated plane of knowledge and insight that others cannot reach. This is what comes of “believing your own bullshit,” a sin that Barack Obama admitted to. The Punditocracy adopted that sin long before Obama did – and they simply cannot stand to have reality rubbed in their faces. So they deny it, they scream “fraud,” “cheating,” “collusion,” “racism,” “sexism,” “homophobia,” “xenophobia,” and every other imprecation in the book, and do their damnedest to terrify everyone who'll still listen to them.

     “Defeat is education,” Louis Nizer has said. Being proved wrong is education. It disorients. The more conclusively wrong one is shown to be, the more disorienting it is...also, the more therapeutic. At least it can be therapeutic, if one prefers consciousness to catatonia.

     But for being proved wrong to be healthful, one must admit to having been proved wrong and ask the relevant questions: “What did I miss? What evidence did I disregard or under-weight? What flaw in my reasoning led me astray?”

     Who, among the uncounted talking heads who were certain that: 1) Trump would never be president, and: 2) that his presidency would be disastrous for the United States, has asked those questions and answered them honestly, without allowing his prejudices to seize upon evasions or excuses?

     I suppose what I’m asking is whether there are any honest partisans in the media. Are there? Have any of the opinion-mongers I’ve described above displayed even a glimmer of increased knowledge or deepened understanding? Because if there are any such, it would be worthwhile to pay attention to them. They might be the ones who are right the next time around.

     Think about it.

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