Some wisdom from Chris Freiman, reposted with his permission.

Somewhat related to my recent piece on motivated reasoning about deterrence.

I’ve noticed a bunch of suspiciously convenient asymmetries in influence lately. That is, people tend to believe that they are influential when that would produce the results they want and believe that they aren’t influential when influence would produce results they don’t want. Two examples:

1) People think the example they set by voting or eating vegan will cause a bunch of others to follow suit. But they don’t think the example they set by drinking or speeding will influence others.

2) Academics will respond to the accusation that they indoctrinate students by noting that they can’t even get students to read the syllabus. Fair enough, but if we can’t even get students to read the syllabus, it’s hard to see how higher education is going to help enrich and illuminate the lives of our students.