Thursday, November 10, 2022

Roger Kimball Thinks He Was Wrong: For Once, He's Right

Have you heard of Roger Kimball? Most haven't. I only have because I spend too much time following political links on the internet. Kimball writes about... I was going to say "politics," but he doesn't really know much about politics, so saying he writes about it would be giving him credit for something he doesn't really do. It would be more accurate to say Kimball writes about whatever it is that Kimball thinks. He does it a lot, and seems to have made some career success out of it. But that's what he does: he writes about what he thinks (he mostly seems to think he thinks about politics but, again, if you know anything about politics, you know Roger Kimball doesn't know anything about politics).

See, Roger Kimball is one of those guys who can write moderately well, choosing a his words from an erudite promptuary (see what I did there?). By doing so, and doing it a lot, he has also become one of those guys who can be had to tell from anyone who actually knows anything, unless you bother to look into him or give much thought to what he says. I mean, he says what it is he says about what he thinks with apparent authority (that promptuary serves him well (okay, "promptuary" is an archaic term for a warehouse)). Amazingly, with no credentials I can find, Kimball gets taken seriously in some circles that purport to care about evidence that one knows what one is talking about.

In early 2020, Kimball seemed to think a lot of us were overreacting to the pandemic. Writing about what he thought, he told us he thought it would all be over in a couple of weeks, four at the most. That's not what happened, but that's what he thought, so he told us (in, I think, a defunct website called "," which I can no longer find, nor can I find his essay saying the pandemic would be over in a month; guess Roger Kimball's words don't last very long).

This time, he chose to do something almost noble: Roger Kimball wrote that he thought he was wrong. Well, Roger Kimball is almost always wrong, but it's rare for anyone ever to admit they were wrong, so props to him for doing something almost noble. Here's what he said:

How did I get the midterms so wrong? I had assumed that with the president underwater, inflation raging, interest rates rises, thousands upon thousands of illegal immigrants pouring over our southern border and crime spiking that Republicans would have the advantage. How could it be otherwise?

Now, one can kind of forgive his error this time. All polls said a red blowout was on its way. I expected one, just like Roger did. We were both wrong (though I did predict, with some accuracy, the pro-choice outcome in Kentucky). But I can do math, while Roger can only write about what he thinks. He shouldn't be surprised that he was wrong, because he can't do math. He can't do much of anything except: 1) think; and 2) write about what he thinks.

I do wonder, when I read Kimball's writing about what he thinks, if he's playing us. That is, he does write well enough, and clearly with the goal of inflaming a certain community, that his lack of actual knowledge might not matter to his true purpose, which is inflaming a certain community. Inflammation keeps them coming back for more, after all (cf. Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, for examples from the left). And the beauty of such a con is that Kimball's community tends also not to know all that much, so his own general ignorance is probably not as apparent to them as it is to you and me.

So there it is: Roger Kimball admits he is wrong, and wants to know how that happened. Let me answer that one for you Roger. You were wrong because you sought to pretend you knew what you were talking about, but you were talking about something other than what you think, which means you didn't know anything about what you were talking about. Keep it in your wheelhouse, Roger. Talk about what you think, and you'll never be wrong again.

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