3 Requirements to be a “Progressive”

As I have said, “progressives” are bereft of a sense of irony and hypocrisy. The three requirements to be a modern “progressive” are more in evidence today than ever:

  1. Selective memory/political amnesia
  2. Cognitive dissonance
  3. Confirmation bias

Not really a recipe for a way to “progress”, is it?

Also in evidence, the Dunning-Kruger Effect:

Developed by psychologists and researchers Justin Kruger and David Dunning, the aptly named Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which an unskilled person makes poor decisions and reaches erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence is of such as scale that it eliminates the ability for them to realize their own mistakes. The unskilled therefore suffer from an illusion of superiority, rating their ability as above average, far higher than it actually is. It also explains why, in the face of clear evidence that their decisions are wrong, they plod ahead while proclaiming their superiority. A common statement when challenged is, “I can’t explain it to you because you just wouldn’t understand”, and the implication is that you just aren’t smart enough to challenge them. People exhibiting the Dunning-Kruger effect are often highly self-confident, some to the point of boorish behavior, and often exhibit an “absolutist” attitude toward their actions…even in the face of clear failure.

The converse action is that while the unskilled overrate their abilities, the highly skilled underrate their abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority. In this illusion of inferiority, actual competence may weaken self-confidence. Even highly competent individuals falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding and because of force of will or positions of power, they subjugate their correct choices to the incorrect.  The error in calibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others. This cognitive error leads to thought processes that support elitism, i.e. “that guy went to Harvard Law, he must be smarter than I am”, when the actual case is just the opposi

All of us have seen it and similar, less scientifically based notions have been expressed since time immemorial. Dunning and Kruger themselves quote Charles Darwin, “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” and Bertrand Russell (a British philosopher, logician, essayist and social critic best known for his work in mathematical logic and analytic philosophy), “One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.” W.B. Yeats put it concisely thus: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.”

The Dunning–Kruger effect is not narrowly constrained to high-order cognitive skills, much less their application in the political realm during a particular era (what Russell was talking about), nor is it specifically limited to the observation that ignorance of a topic is conducive to overconfident assertions about it (which the Darwin quote implies).Dunning and Kruger cite a study where it was found that 94% of college professors rank their work as “above average” relative to their peers, underscoring that the highly intelligent and informed are hardly exempt.Anyone who understands how to take an average knows that there is no possibility that 94% of the numbers can be above the average.

A good portion of the above was taken from Wikipedia but you can find more about the Dunning-Kruger Effect at Psychology Today.

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31 thoughts on “3 Requirements to be a “Progressive”

  1. Pingback: Catoptrophobia « The Rio Norte Line

  2. Pingback: Catoptrophobia « The Rio Norte Line

    • Gee thanks, I’ll happily annotate but that still doesn’t change the validity of the research – I should have caught the error and it is regrettable but the fact that Obama has a Nobel Peace prize indicates that getting a Nobel doesn’t guarantee credibility either…

      May I assume that you are of the “progressive” ilk? My first clue is that you couldn’t resist using the term “idiot” in noting the mistake. Perhaps this post is applicable.

  3. Pingback: Three Requirements to be a “Progressive” « b5blue's Liberal Reformation Blog

  4. It would appear that your commenter ( Conan the Grammattican ) was anxious to prove the accuracy of your post . This he accomplished quite ably .

    • crazycrawfish; Sean and Rush hate themselves? Of course I see your sarcasm. But what is your point? Are you so thick that you ‘think’ *ALL* people who may be satisfied with their self-assessments (of being correct) are actually wrong… and also less intelligent than they’ve ‘reasoned’?? Do you stereotype? If so, are you an equal opportunity bigot?

  5. A few days late (and a few trillion dollars short) I’ll add some insights to this great piece and discussion. The additions aren’t mine but Thomas Sowell’s (from The Vision of the Anointed, p.8): “A very distinct pattern has emerged repeatedly when policies favored by the anointed [progressives] turn out to fail. This pattern typically has four stages: 1. The ‘crisis’…whose negative aspects the anointed propose to eliminate….Sometimes the situation described has already been getting better for years. Stage 2. The ‘solution’: Policies to end the crisis, advocated by the anointed, who say these policies will lead to beneficial result A. Critics say these policies will lead to detrimental result Z. The anointed dismiss these latter claims as absurd and simplistic, if not dishonest. Stage 3. The results: The policies are instituted and lead to detrimental result Z. Stage 4 The response: Those who attribute detrimental result Z to the policies are dismissed as simplistic for ignoring the complexities involved, as ‘many factors’ went into determining the outcome. The burden of proof is put on the critics to demonstrate to a certainty that these policies alone were the only probably cause of the worsening that occurred. No burden of proof whatever is put on those who had so confidently predicted improvement. Indeed it is often asserted that things would have been even worse, were it not for the wonderful programs that mitigated the inevitable damage from other factors.” He then gives three great, well documented examples of The War on Poverty, Sex Education, and Criminal Justice.

    • @dave – thanks for the comment – I may steal that from you for a post – fully credited of course – We also have Milton Friedman’s full “Free to Choose” video series linked in the masthead, if you are so inclined.

  6. “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” Which is why those on the right are so humble, and such fans of Darwin!

    • I think it means exactly what I think it means. Thanks for the clip, it is a great explanation. The contemporary “progressives” have melded so much together to hide what they truly think. I understand the true meaning of liberalism – I am a classic liberal – but the modern proto-communists have taken the name “liberal” and twisted it.

  7. @Utah,
    Please excuse for the misunderstanding, I am sure you know what “progressive” means, I just copy and paste it.

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