March 1, 2013

"One of the key differences between mistakes that we make in our own lives and mistakes made by governments is that bad consequences force us to correct our own mistakes."

"But government officials cannot admit to making a mistake without jeopardizing their whole careers."
Can you imagine a President of the United States saying to the mothers of America, "I am sorry your sons were killed in a war I never should have gotten us into"?

40 comments:

bagoh20 said...

I don't need them to apologize. Just stop screwing up so often, and if you can't stop choosing badly, then stop choosing.

edutcher said...

It's never their fault.

They're always right (just ask them).

And apologies are for wusses.

Say, "We screwed up, our fault, nobody else's", and then fix it.

Don't talk about it, do it.

Notice when it came time to implement the surge in Iraq, that's pretty much what happened?

Pogo said...

Sowell has a keen mind.

But it really is too late. The slow decay of Eurosocialism awaits.

Even illegal immigrants and gay marriage won't save us.

Bruce Hayden said...

Another difference - when it is your own decision and it affects your own life, you have a much bigger incentive to get it right. When it comes to bureaucrats, their primary inventive is their own lives and self-interest, and that means that they are likely to make suboptimal decisions for you if that would conflict with their own self-interest (e.g. they would have to work harder, would get paid less, etc.)

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

Exactly. The man nailed it, as usual.

JAL said...

Cass Sunstein was absent from this discussison I take it?

He who wants the infallible all seeing all knowing geovernment to make our choices for our own good?

Sam L. said...

We the people don't really matter to bureaucrats and government officials.

They DON'T feel our pain.

BaltoHvar said...

The wise dispatch of the burden of responsibility lifts the mind, body and spirit.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

Bagoh20 said I don't need them to apologize. Just stop screwing up so often, and if you can't stop choosing badly, then stop choosing.

Hammond says: If ya don't like what they do with the power, then don't let them have it.

Methadras said...

I have yet to see a democrat or a leftist of any kind or stripe ever admit they are wrong. Here or anywhere else in power.

Robert Cook said...

Methadras, are you forgetting George Bush is a Republican?

Robert Cook said...

Methadras, are you forgetting George Bush is a Republican?

m stone said...

Apologizing is asking forgiveness, which is a restoring process for both parties. It is biblical and essential. The consequences are destructive. Even though the country can absorb the damage, an individual bears the individual burden---far greater on his or her shoulders.

The consequences can even destroy a person's health. Arthritis is sometimes linked to unforgivenness.

m stone said...

7:2* post: the consequences of unforgivenness, that is

BaltoHvar said...

Methadras - I think I could have trusted President Truman to rise to this level of humility.

And I think LBJ's "resignation" was a de-facto admission to a great extent.

But they were decades ago; a different time and a different Democrat.

Michael said...

The other problem is that people and companies can persist in folly until they go broke. The Government can persist until everyone goes broke.

Cedarford said...

LBJ's speech in which he said it was best for his fellow Amuuurricans not to run again was a de facto admission he had fucked up on Vietnam.
Reagan was quick to call being snookered into taking sides in Lebanon in 1983, setting the Marines up for a mass killing - was his screwup.

More recent Presidents though have found it more and more difficult to admit error.
Clinton, before he had his head handed to him by voters in 1994. But to this day unable to admit he had a big part in the decline of America through leveraged home financing, globalization, and free trade with China.
Obama on Benghazi and a dozen other major fuckups so far.
Dubya, for blowing near 2 trillion and 45,000 casualties in his neocon-led wars of adventure and nation-building. Unable to admit that, unable to admit his fiscal recklessness and new unfunded entitlements paved the road Obama walks on.

Kirk Parker said...

JAL,

"Cass Sunstein ... who wants the infallible all seeing all knowing government to make our choices for our own good"

You so totally misunderstand. He just wants to "nudge" us. As long as we make the right decisions, we can do whatever we want.

Methadras said...

Robert Cook said...

Methadras, are you forgetting George Bush is a Republican?


Shut the fuck up you sub-human traitorous piece of garbage.

http://www.villagevoice.com/2005-12-13/news/bush-admits-he-was-wrong/

However, I don't believe he was wrong at all. Al-Tuwaitha is evidence of that and from my time there as well and what I saw:

http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/op-eds/what-we-found-al-tuwaitha

So you can go die in a fucking fire.

Methadras said...

BaltoHvar said...

Methadras - I think I could have trusted President Truman to rise to this level of humility.

And I think LBJ's "resignation" was a de-facto admission to a great extent.

But they were decades ago; a different time and a different Democrat.


You couldn't resurrect LBJ enough times for me to kill him all over again for what he foisted on the American public with his war on poverty. That motherfucker has cost us trillions and earned us nothing in return. I hope he is rotting in hell.

Levi Starks said...

I think Truman was a republican in the same way Lincoln was a democrat

Achilles said...

Median income for Americans has suffered it's largest drop since they started keeping track in 1959. 4 years into the Obama administration the left still blames Bush. Consumer spending increased though so good news right? Oh it is up because heating oil and gas prices are exploding. Well that is Bush's fault too. Somehow. Just ask the Obama fanboys here. Nothing to do with blocking exploration on federal lands or blocking the keystone XL pipeline. It wasn't Fannie or Freddie that caused the mortgage crash. It was Bush. See how that works? And repeat it when someone brings up something inconvenient like and actual policy failure. Say it with me: BUUUSSSHHH!!1eleventy1! 4 years retards it has been over four years.

These figures obviously show that we need more government programs. The government will apply capital way more efficiently than those stupid rich people. Obama is way smarter than all of them. See how well his first four years have gone? More people on social security disability and food stamps than new jobs created? Fairness! And most important if a government program fails it just needed more money.

BDNYC said...

There are two main objections to the "nudge" crap. First, as Sowell explains, government cannot be trusted to be grt things done and its intentions are oftentimes far from noble. Second, and this is what I always fall back on, is the moral hazard that might develop if you protect people from themselves. They will abandon their judgment and await proper instruction from government to find their way.

Personally, I'd rather assume adults are adults and can be made to suffer the consequences of bad decisions and reap the rewards of good decisions. Stupid people will suffer, but in the long run that helps us all.

Paul said...

I can see why so many politicians don't admit a mistake. It's the way they feel, even if in really we all know they are not perfect.

Nothing is perfect. No decision is made that will not have at least SOME negative consequences.

So one question.. when will America admit they made a mistake voting for Obama... TWICE.

Because the consequences of those votes have been VERY negative! It's a freeking Greak Tragidy!

The Godfather said...

Sowell is right, as usual.

However, it is not impossible for a democratic polity to exist in which a leader can apologize and survive. During WWI, Churchill came up with the idea for the Dardenelles campaign, which ended in the disaster of Gallipoli. He resigned, and took a commission as a Major in an infantry regiment in France. His political career resumed, after an appropriate period of regret.

In that society and time, it was accepted that a leader could screw up and suffer the consequences, but not be cast into the outer darkness. In our society today, the perception is that if you admit to the screw up, or are definitively determined to have screwed up, you are finished. Clinton survived impeachment, and disbarment, and is now regarded by half the country as the model of a modern president, but he never apologized.

Lawyer Mom said...

Never mind apologies. How about accountability? Net sequester, we're spending $15B MORE in 2013. Why didn't the Martians didn't invade us last year, when we were so much weaker!?

Any notion of efficiency is ludicrous when the US gov't. is the only customer, when the US gov't. takes over and pays for important services like airport "security." Don't like the nuclear porn booths or crotch grabs? Too bad, little cow -- mosey on back into the corral because we've got the cattle prod.

Instead of efficiency, we're taxed to death and utterly abused until we'll persuaded that we need more of both. And both, we will get, good and hard.

Remember: No pains, no tax gains.

http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2013/03/01/free_lunch_for_the_middle_class_now_causing_pain_100168.html

phx said...

Personally I think a lot of people never correct their mistakes regardless of the bad consequences.

phx said...

Plenty of people don't admit their mistakes. Ordinary people make mistakes, don't admit them and don't correct them.

You have to admit this.

bagoh20 said...

In my experience and business, admitting mistakes is much more successful than not. Just admit it, learn from it, and do better. Repeat for one lifetime. The alternative really sucks. Not in all things, and politics is a glaring example of where it is the opposite, with pretending success being as good as the real thing. It's a contest of liars, for the most part. But, if your success depends on actually producing, and innovating and beating competitors doing the same, then you have no alternative than to acknowledge failure as fast as possible, and change direction or tactics. I wouldn't want to play any other game myself.

bagoh20 said...

I would say the majority of my decisions before the age of 30 were mistakes, and my survival mostly luck. After that, I started batting better than even, which is just enough to get what you want eventually.

bagoh20 said...

The major challenge of a modern politician is finding and hiring well educated people who's primary skill and responsibility is effectively lying about your accomplishments and failures, as well as your competition's. If you pick the best liars, that means you are successful. What could go wrong with such a system?

The media and even the voters play along by accepting and rewarding lies based on how well they are executed, rather than on their truth. Even when the lies are known, it can still work wonderfully if most people say "yea, but he did it so well."

Saint Croix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saint Croix said...

Can you imagine a President of the United States saying to the mothers of America, "I am sorry your sons were killed in a war I never should have gotten us into"?

It's like imagining a Supreme Court who admits that they accidentally killed some babies.

"A decision to overrule Roe’s essential holding under the existing circumstances would address error, if error there was, at the cost of both profound and unnecessary damage to the Court."

Jim in St Louis said...

Ah, but the liberal mind says that the concept 'man' is pure and perfect and capable of such achievement, alas if only the 'man' was not surrounded by corrupting influences.

These influences are institutions that warp man, they twist him. So we must reform these institutions. Institutions such as; Family,(too patriarchal),
Law (too plutocratic),
Justice (too racist,
Marriage (too narrow).

If only (thinks the liberal) we could reform these, then all mankind would be happy.


Rusty said...


You couldn't resurrect LBJ enough times for me to kill him all over again for what he foisted on the American public with his war on poverty. That motherfucker has cost us trillions and earned us nothing in return. I hope he is rotting in hell.


Him and Robert Mcnamara

Rusty said...

phx said...
Plenty of people don't admit their mistakes. Ordinary people make mistakes, don't admit them and don't correct them.

Under what context are you making this bold assertion, Mr. single guy?

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JAL said...

Personally I think a lot of people never correct their mistakes regardless of the bad consequences.

That's what Darwin Awards are for.

harrogate said...

"Can you imagine a President of the United States saying to the mothers of America, "I am sorry your sons were killed in a war I never should have gotten us into"?"

No, no I can't. And neither can anyone else. This point catches a glimmer of the innate immorality of the office.

pj (lowercase) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.