A certain amount of confidence is necessary to get anything done, but I’ve often observed that certainty can be a debilitating learning disability. You have to have some humility and doubt in order to entertain the possibility that your beliefs might be wrong and receive the information necessary to correct them.
There is an article about Tony Bennett in the Indianapolis Star having to do with allegations he misused state resources for political purposes. The particulars of the allegations are of the sort that are probably legitimate public policy concerns but which the parties level against each other frequently enough that it’s tough to get worked up about them. But what struck me was the e-mail from Bennett to his staff:
The email said: “Below is a link to Glenda’s forum in Bloomington. It is 1:35 minutes. I would ask that people watch this and scrub it for every inaccuracy and utterance of stupidity that comes out of her mouth.”
“Utterance of stupidity that comes out of her mouth” strikes me as beyond the pale.
Update: I had not read the original e-mail chain (pdf). Turns out, the sentence I highlighted has a spelling error. “Utterance of stupidity that comes put (sic) of her mouth.”