Now I observe that when we are met together in the assembly, and the matter in hand relates to building, the builders are summoned as advisers; … And if some person offers to give them advice who is not supposed by them to have any skill in the art, even though he be good-looking, and rich, and noble, they will not listen to him, but laugh … But when the question is an affair of state, then everybody is free to have a say–carpenter, tinker, … and no one reproaches him, as in the former case, with not having learned, and having no teacher, and yet giving advice; evidently because they are under the impression that this sort of knowledge cannot be taught….
Our human willingness to have confident opinions on topics where we are poorly informed seems to me a key problem in politics.
(Via Marginal Revolution)
Plato was a heavy dude. I can think of several areas where people consider themselves experts even though they know nothing about the subject, but politics is surely at the top of the list. And, I think the reverse is true as well. Politicians often make decisions about subjects and fields they know nothing about… funny ain’t it? If our doctor or mechanic made a wrong determination we would be pissed, but politicians and regular folks talking about politics make them all day long… I believe this is similar to men always thinking we know more about cars than women, as if cars were in our DNA and we didn’t actually need to know the facts.