Posted by: CJ | August 26, 2010

Wisdom of Conservative Lawyers

I apparently found a conservative lawyer worth listening to: Orin Kerr.

On confirmation bias,

One of the consequences of confirmation bias is that we are overly impressed by ideas that we happen to share. It’s a natural instinct, if not watched carefully. If you read something that reflects or resonates with your own views, you’ll agree with it. Upon agreeing with it, you’ll think it is highly persuasive. And if it’s highly persuasive, it’s probably brilliant. You see this often in the blogosphere when bloggers link to someone’s “superb” and “extremely insightful” post. You click on the link, and you’re underwhelmed by the post. But you realize it is strikingly similar to what the original linker thinks about the topic. It’s possible to take our blinders off, or, more realistically, to minimize them. But it often requires some work, and the amount of work that different people give varies considerably.

and the opposition

I explained before why brilliant people agree with me. I want to talk about the other side of the picture. I’ve come to the realization that people who disagree with me are just arguing in bad faith. How do I know? Well, when I get into an argument, no one who disagrees with me ever says anything I find persuasive. They never even come close. It seems to me that if a person who disagrees with me were smart and acted in good faith, surely he would say something that persuaded me (even if only a little). But since that never happens, people who disagree with me must be either stupid or acting in bad faith. I’m a generous person, so I won’t assume the other guy is stupid. And that leads me to conclude, reluctantly, that people who disagree with me are arguing in bad faith.

Wise words.

And also a fascinating, if abstract, discussion of the differences between different theories of constitutional law.


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