Sunday, August 28, 2016

Herbert Stein on our Politics (in 1989)

“But it is the talk, and not only from the Right but also from the Left, and not only from the politicians but also from the ‘intellectuals,’ that is most distressing. People routinely say with apparent certainty serious things that are if not patently false at least highly uncertain. And there is no debate, no confrontation of facts or analysis. The things people say are not meant to be measured on the scale of truth. They are only the signs by which one indicates which team one belongs to, like the identification ‘friend-or-foe’ signals that warplanes emit. Perhaps this low quality of the discussion does not hurt, but it is surely ‘unlovely,’ in Herbert Simon’s favorite word of disapproval.”

Herbert Stein, April 1989 from On the Other Hand

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