Best to clear your mind and emotions of group loyalties and resentments and ask, if this belief gave me no pleasure of rebelling against some folks or identifying with others, if it was just me alone choosing, would my best evidence suggest that this belief is true? All else is the road to rationality ruin.
This made me think about a recent political issue — whether the government should somehow bail out the US automakers. On one hand, we have the evidence that these companies are lost causes and principled objection to using taxpayer dollars to bail out certain failing businesses. On the other hand, we have the possibility of massive job loss at car factories, dealerships, parts suppliers, and so on. What’s best for America? What’s best for me? I don’t really have any idea.
To accept that means accepting a certain level of uncertainty that I think most people are uncomfortable with. To be honest, I’m not entirely comfortable with it.
What I do know is that the political party I most closely identify is against letting these companies fail. Many of the bloggers I most often agree with think we should bail them out as well. I think that’s all most people need.
Most big problems are too complex for an individual to fully understand, and rarely can experts agree among themselves on the best solution. So rather than just admitting to themselves that they have no idea what we should do, most people prefer to succumb to their biases and accept the ideas put forward by the group or faction they’re loyal to.
Maybe that’s the ultimate human bias — the bias toward believing that we know what we’re talking about.