Jul 26, 2023·edited Jul 26, 2023Liked by polimath

When necessary corrections are prevented they ultimately occur but with more force. As Herb Stein observed, "if it can’t go on forever it will stop." Also called Stein's Law. I think we have to hold on to a commitment to the facts, dialogue, and discussion.

"Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it."

Thomas Jefferson in his First Inaugural Address (March 4, 1801)

Keep the faith. You may feel like a voice crying out in the wilderness but you are expressing the hopes and fears of many.

Expand full comment
Jul 28, 2023Liked by polimath

I came across a thought-provoking document by Peter Block called "Civic Engagement and the

Restoration of Community" at


here are two sections that I found particularly relevant to some of your concerns or perhaps our shared goal of civil discourse and dialog.


Dissent is the cousin of diversity; the respect for a wide range of beliefs. This begins by allowing people the space to say "no". If we cannot say "no" then our "yes" has no meaning. Each needs the chance to express their doubts and reservations, without having to justify them, or move quickly into problem solving. “No” is the beginning of the conversation for commitment. Doubt and "no" is a symbolic expression of people finding their space and role in the strategy. It is when we fully understand what people do not want that choice becomes possible. The leadership task is to surface doubts and dissent without having an answer to every question.

The Conversation for Commitment

Commitment is a promise made with no expectation of return. It is the willingness to make a promise independent of either approval or reciprocity from other people. The distinction is between a promise made for its own sake and a barter agreement. Barter is an exchange of agreements that are contingent on the actions of another. I will do this if you will do that. This means that we hold an out for ourselves dependent on whether other people fulfill their part of the bargain. This reciprocity works as an element of commerce. It falls short of the level of commitment that creates a new future.

Expand full comment

It seems to me that one of the biggest obstacles to truth is the absolute refusal by just about every institution and public figure, left, right, and center, to apologize when they are found to be in error. It didn't start with Trump, but he took it to a whole new level. Now it's everywhere. It's one thing to not apologize when you did nothing wrong or to refuse to give in to an insincere mob who won't accept your apology anyway. But when "impartial" institutions refuse to acknowledge mistakes or revisit a subject when new evidence arises, reasoning with them is like trying to convince an angry toddler that they have their shoes on the wrong feet.

Expand full comment