Howard Schultz: Avatar of the Dunning-Kruger Effect

Last Sunday I visited my sister and brother-in-law in New Jersey.

Rob (my bro-in-law) asked me if I’d been following all things Trump. “It’s just about all I do,” I told him. What else is life right now?

Later, while I was sitting at the dining room table with my niece Becca, catching up on family stuff, Rob and my sister were listening to Howard Schultz’s “60 Minutes” interview.

At some point, my bro-in-law yelled, “He’s as bad as Trump!”

And today Paul Krugman stuffed Schultz into a (hazel)nutshell*:

Over the past few days we’ve been treated to the ludicrous yet potentially destructive spectacle of Howard Schultz, the Starbucks billionaire, insisting that he’s the president we need despite his demonstrable policy ignorance. Schultz obviously thinks he knows a lot of things that just aren’t so. Yet his delusions of knowledge aren’t that special. For the most part, they follow conventional centrist doctrine.

What does that remind you of? How about the Dunning-Kruger Effect? Here’s what I wrote about it a while ago:

The Dunning-Kruger Effect: the cognitive bias of illusory superiority.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect explains that many people are not merely ignorant: they are unaware of being ignorant. Their brains do not accept that they are uninformed.

In other words, they are too intellectually inadequate (to be euphemistic) to realize they’re intellectually inadequate. They don’t know that they don’t know and do not have the capacity to understand their inadequacy.

They think they know all there is to know.

Unlike a lot of us, who spend considerable time reading, absorbing information and double checking the information for accuracy, because we’re aware we don’t know everything.

We know what we don’t know.

Dunning-Kruger also makes it clear that we can’t convince people like this that they don’t know and should learn. Their brains are incapable of absorbing it. They are smug in their ignorance.

To me, this sounds like Howard Schultz.

*Just being cute: I’m sure Starbucks sells hazelnut coffee, a favorite flavor of my cousin who voted for Trump. Not saying it was a factor but…

I don’t get anything from Starbucks. My fresh roasted and ground coffee comes from Porto Rico. You can order from them and have it shipped.

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