The Importance of Intellectual Humility

A while back this guy who runs a political podcast added me on Facebook. He had seen some of my work and liked it.

He would post a lot on his Facebook wall, usually low-effort angry rants about the general public’s economic illiteracy.

Occasionally he’d bash Universal Basic Income (UBI). I’m a huge supporter of UBI, so of course I’d respond, respectfully countering any claims he made that I believed were erroneous or unsubstantiated.

I never got a real response. At best he’d respond with a low-effort comment along the lines of “you’re wrong.”

Today he posted this (I removed 4 lines for the sake of brevity):

“It’s amazing that people do not understand that a UBI is not revolutionary and represents the status quo.

It’s amazing that people do not realize we ALREADY HAVE a Basic Income or a BI in Social Security

It’s amazing that people do not realize.that a UBI is a Trojan Horse that Libertarians are begging for to eliminate the social safety nets and all government programs.

Its amazing to me that even after the years of showing empirically that these statements are true, they believe a candidate advancing a UBI is in anyway a progressive or good for people.

It is amazing to me that people do not realize the other function used by capital to advance a UBI is to subsidize shit wages and bad benefits packages, including days off. “

Crazy guy who runs a “progressive” podcast

Arrogant tone of this post aside, many of these statements are flat out incorrect. The few comments below were all just circle-jerking him. So of course I had to respond. I wrote a fairly long in-depth response countering each of the lines I disagreed with my reasoning.

His response? To paraphrase from memory (he deleted the comment), it was something like “You’re wrong. I know what I’m talking about. I work with REAL academics. Your assessment is shit.”. Then he deleted my comment and blocked me.

Funny, even your average right-wing troll is more articulate and commands more respect than this guy, who by the way is a grown man with children. Even sadder when you consider that we probably agree on 90% of the issues, so in the grand scheme of things we’re pretty much on the same team.

I respect anyone on the opposite end of the political spectrum who can actually articulate their views, present them respectfully, and maintain intellectual humility and humbleness over any thick, passionate, hard-headed crank with religious-adherence to his views who’d prefer to just post low-effort memes and shove his half-assed opinions down other peoples’ throats.

Politics needs less passion, more grounded level-headed reasoning and intellectual humility. Don’t publicly share your political opinions if you’re not able to make a coherent argument and willing to respectfully consider and counter any counter-argument. If your response to having your views challenged is anger, then chances are your views are more based in emotion than logic.

Most people make the error of jumping to conclusions and then trying to rationalize them via confirmation bias.

Do not do this. Accept that you don’t know everything, and that you are likely wrong on a lot of your beliefs. Keep an open mind and swallow your pride and ego. When presented with evidence that invalidates a belief, erase that belief and adopt the truth.

I hate talking about this wishy wash self-help sh*t, but this incident was a sad reminder that rational level-headed thinking is not as prevalent as it should be.

It’s not even just a matter of doing what’s right. Even if we simply want to advance our own agendas, one would do better to be respectful and rational than childish and hostile. Even if you’re actually right, nobody wants to support some repulsive nutjob.

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