Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Obama and the First Logical Virtue

If there's a first logical virtue, it's something like: admit when you're wrong.

Bush, of course, couldn't do it. That failing was a part of the whole illogical, anti-rational package that was the Bush administration. Bush and Co. would occasionally say they'd committed some rhetorical error--not making themselves clear, not selling their ideas enough (as if...). Incidentally, these are the only kinds of errors my most clueless students will fess up to. "I understood, I guess I just didn't express myself clearly..." Often my response is: "No, you expressed yourself clearly, but what you expressed was incorrect."

That admitting error comes so easily for Obama is a very, very good sign. It's the sign of a virtuous mind. And incidentally, it's the sign of genuine, admirable confidence, not the loathsome confidence of a Dubya that oscillates between cockiness and panic.

More evidence that we picked a good one this time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another encouraging sign: in his interview with Anderson Cooper last night, he said that the quality he most admires about Lincoln that he'll try to emulate in the White House is that Lincoln was constantly learning while he was President. Lincoln didn't know much about the military, so he educated himself about military affairs during the Civil War. Another very good quality of mind, it seems to me, is admitting that you don't have all the answers and you're willing to learn. Bush also lacked this quality.

1:35 PM  

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