"Hindsight bias" and the Left
Ran across this today from the Washington_Post :
Antiwar liberals last week got to savor the four most satisfying words in
the English language: "I told you so."
This was after a declassified National Intelligence Estimate asserted that the war in Iraq was creating more terrorists than it was eliminating. For
millions of people who opposed President Bush's mission in Iraq from the start,
this was proof positive that they had been right all along. Yes, they told
themselves, we saw this disaster coming.
Only . . . that isn't quite true.
One of the most systematic errors in human perception is what
psychologists call hindsight bias -- the feeling, after an event happens, that
we knew all along it was going to happen. Across a wide spectrum of issues, from
politics to the vagaries of the stock market, experiments show that once people
know something, they readily believe they knew it all along.
It took me a while to find it again, but here's a case in point from the local Lefty rag, City_Pages :
I know this sounds like I'm being cynical, but this is my point, what's really
cynical, it seems to me, is this: Take a nation with the most hyperthyroid
self-concept in the history of the world; kick everybody's ass for 150 years;
help plant a bunch of people on the other side of the world in the middle of a
land where nobody likes them, because you feel bad you didn't do anything about
the Holocaust until it was too late, and then piss all over anyone in the Middle
East who complains about it; build a pair of ultrafucking tall
buildings in the most prominent city in the world, taller than almost like fucking anything, and do NOTHING to protect them from the air, in a world of billions of assholes; and then act surprised when something bad happens, like
"Oooh, you got chocolate in my peanut butter! You got peanut butter in my chocolate!" And then sell this fake surprise over the airwaves to a bunch of people who are so dead inside they can't cry until they watch 5,000 people die on TV. That's fucked up. That's cynical.
As with the "I told you so" anti-Iraq protesters, we could ask City Pages, "where was your reporting on the vulnerabilities of the World Trade Center to air attack in the years running up to 9/11?"
I believe Christopher_Hitchens has pointed out that Leftists themselves warned against invading Iraq, lest Saddam use his chemical and biological weapons. I can't currently find the link- it will have to wait for an Update.