Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Making Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. That's a given. We run out of time, or are a little careless, or our reach exceeds our grasp and we try to discuss things we don't know much about. What matters is how we handle our mistakes. We can simply say we were wrong, correct the error and learn from our mistakes. Or we can desperately spin to maintain a fake aura of elite superiority and spend the rest of our lives sniping at our enemies, who had the nerve to point out our errors.

Performance Metrics

Greg Mankiw explains one of his:

Similarly, when I write a column for the New York Times, I am not good at predicting how much it will get people talking. As a result, I monitor the subsequent blogosphere commentary to judge if the article is a snore (like most things that get published) or if it is commanding attention. At the very least, I expect my articles to be noteworthy enough that within a few days Brad DeLong will call me a moronic hypocrite. I hope my articles incite some wider commentary as well, but I never know in advance
Personally, I don't despair if it takes Brad more than a few days to unleash the vitriol. I know that eventually, he'll get around to it.

Brad DeLong corrects one of Megan McArdle's many, many errors and gets on her You Are Dead To Me list for life, evidently. It's going to be a long, long list.

If you can't admit fault you can't correct faults and will continue to make errors. Fortunately for McArdle, being wrong is not detriment to success, as long as your errors benefit the people paying you.


Kathy said...

Being wrong is what she is paid to Be.

But I don't think she actually knows that she's a paid shill.

She believes she's an infinitely superior thinker, so brilliant most of us ordinary dullards simply cannot understand the depth and subtlety of what she's saying: thus we "nit-pick" and "criticize" that which we can't comprehend. These are the well known trials & tribulations of all geniuses, and she should accept them with grace & good humor, but-

Susan of Texas said...

I think you're right, but way deep down she has to know better. It's why criticism bothers her so much.

I hate to be wrong--it's embarrassing and a real blow to the ego--but it's going to happen unless I never try to learn something new and only repeat what others say. That seems a lot worse than having to admit error every so often.

atat said...

And she actually linked to the Brad DeLong thing? So, somehow, she thinks that she came out ahead on that one? Or is it that Brad was less than polite, so she automatically won the debate, even though she was clearly wrong?

Susan of Texas said...

I think it means that no matter how knowledgable or correct someone is, you can ignore what they say if they don't agree with you. Reality might have a liberal bias but America is conservative and therefore reality doesn't count.


Anonymous said...

So is this the blog equivalent of "I know you are but what am I?"? Because this just seems so Junior High to me.

there's really one solution for McMeggers - pony up and get your own damned economics degree. Might want to invest in a new calculator though.


Susan of Texas said...

An economics degree would be totally unnecessary because her gut tells her what to do, and if she fails she will learn from the experience and therefore be smarter than someone who got it right the first time.

Also, nobody can know anything ever.