People are often wrong, and most of the time, I don’t hold being wrong against anyone. (I’m talking about being wrong about judgments of fact and predictions here, not “wrong” in the sense of sinning.) We all see the world imperfectly through different filters, so being wrong is just part of life. The important thing to me is that, if I’m wrong, I want to figure out why I was wrong so I can be right more often in the future. Was I missing information or did I have bad information? Was there something wrong with my logic? Did I let my emotions override my reason? I want to know, because I don’t like being wrong. When someone else is wrong, I assume he’s going through the same imperfect process, so I don’t assume he will always be wrong, and I certainly don’t assume he’s a bad person.
But once in a while someone is so breathtakingly wrong that I have to step back and say, “Okay, that guy has a ‘being wrong’ problem, and I need to make a note of that.” One unimportant example came on a sports radio show I listen to, where one day one of the hosts said that Philip Rivers is one of the top quarterbacks in the league, ranking him at #3, I think. That’s so stupid that I (and his co-host) thought he had to be joking, but he was serious. At that moment my mind stepped back and said, “Okay, never take judgments by this guy seriously again.” I assume he’s not actually in love with Rivers, and that Rivers’s agent isn’t paying him for that opinion, so all that’s left is that he has a major screw loose in his ability to judge players, at least. That doesn’t make him a bad person or mean he can’t do an entertaining radio show, and I’ve continued to listen. But I wouldn’t let him make personnel decisions for a peewee league team — or much of anything else, because I don’t know how many other reasoning processes might depend on that loose screw.
A similar thing happened this weekend over Trump’s locker room bragging, though this time there are hundreds of loose screws all wobbling in unison. Now, you can think Trump was wrong to say what he did, whether it was bragging or lies. You can think it should disqualify him in voters’ minds for the presidency. You can think he should drop out of the race, or that his party should kick him out. You would be wrong about most of those judgments in my opinion, but they’re judgments that a reasonable person with a grasp on reality could honestly come to, and I wouldn’t hold them against you.
But when you claim that locker-room bragging is the same thing as sexual assault, that’s when I again step back and say, “Okay, mental note: never take a word from this guy seriously again.” Because there are only a few reasons someone claiming to be a conservative, a Republican, or just a reasonable inhabitant of reality might say that:
- You’re already working for the other side anyway. Done with you.
- You’re virtue-signaling: saying what you think will make the right kind of people like you. Done with you.
- You know it’s bullshit, but you’re trying to maintain your sinecure as Righteous Conservative Blogger #2138 or whatever niche you’ve carved out of the punditry for yourself. Done with you.
- You’re actually deranged enough to believe bragging==assault. In that case, no one should ever listen to you about anything again. You should never be allowed near a jury or any position of leadership, and quite possibly should be kept away from sharp objects. Done with you squared.
So as you can see, the result regardless of what brought you to this state of unreality is the same: Done with you. Somewhere in my mind is an assortment of stuff that I think about you, and somewhere in that mess is a little meter that’s labeled “credibility”, and it just pegged to zero and got nailed there. It doesn’t matter if you’re right 90% of the time, or even if I’ve liked your opinions in the past. You’ve exposed yourself as someone whose opinions may not just be wrong at times, but can come completely detached from reality, so I have no more interest in them. Besides, Conservative Blogger #2139 is also out there writing, and just might not be deranged, so there’s no great loss.