It's time to address an epidemic in the United States. It's one that could be deadly, particularly to liberty.
It's an epidemic of Dunning-Kruger. It's why ignorant people are so certain that they're right.
What's that, you ask?
The Dunning Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which individuals, who are unskilled at a particular task, believe themselves to possess above-average ability in performing the task. On the other hand, as individuals become more skilled in a particular task, they may mistakenly believe that they possess below-average ability in performing those tasks because they may assume that all others possess equal or greater ability. In other words, "the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others." (source)
And haven't we all seen that lately? Let's look at a recent example right here in the good ole USA.
Those who haven't lived like the rest of us are the ones shouting the loudest.
Let's start with the current gun control debate.
We have high school kids who think they are experts on policy, firearms, and the Constitution, smugly telling us how clueless they believe we are.
We have movie stars who make millions from movies where they shoot people and who are protected by armed security guards, telling us that we law-abiding citizens who have guns are vicariously responsible for every school shooting that has ever happened.
We have wealthy city dwellers who live in buildings with doormen telling the rest of us that we're nuts for wanting to protect ourselves.
And all of these people who want to loudly tell the rest of us how to live our lives have one thing in common: they are completely out of touch with the real world.
When you live in your guarded castles, you don't have to worry about defending yourself from a rapist who might break in through your bedroom window. When you're a kid, you can't fathom the vast responsibility one feels as a parent to protect one's children from home invaders or kidnappers. When you haven't yet gone out there and lived your life with jobs and crime and financial instability, you have no idea what it's really like for the average American.
And yet, these out-of-touch people are the ones screaming the loudest that only they know what is right for America.
And that's where the Dunning-Kruger effect comes into play.
Back in 1999, social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University performed tests on some subjects and discovered that in many cases, the lower the performance of a subject, the higher their confidence was that they had done well. They published their findings in a paper entitled, "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments."