Todd Hayden has written an article (“Admit You’re Wrong, Or Die“) in which he observes that people are less able to admit they’re wrong than they used to be.
What is this? I am a pretty old guy, and I do remember a time when people were more flexible. Sure, no one likes to admit they’re wrong, but they actually used to do that, at least occasionally.
He looks for reasons:
I will stick to the idea that much of this resistance to absorbing the evidential truth and changing minds accordingly has to do with a decades-long priming. People in general no longer know up from down—as they blindly navigate the bizarre-o streets of the 2000s. Not much that their senses pick up is automatically, as it used to be, identified accurately.
He blames technology:
Anything our senses are asked to evaluate as evidence is rejected as such, like in a magic show. Nothing can be trusted anymore, until some certain type of authority says it can be. There’s the catch.
He also, briefly and obliquely, touches on education:
If you have nearly no system of determining reality (your senses and common sense), and have never been taught to critically think so you can ascertain truth with a blindfold on, then you are going to be looking for someone to whisper in your ear to describe what it is you are looking at but cannot see. [My emphasis, PwG]
I am currently reading a book by Gary North, his last, called “The Biblical Structure of History”, in which he lays out that modern historians, not basing their study on the presupposition of a creator God, have no way of referencing their perception of the past to anything fixed. Therefore, their history becomes something totally random and relative.
This perception of history became dominant soon after the first world war. It has by now percolated throughout society. The result is that people no longer know what to believe, but still must make their way through society and life. And so they latch on to “some certain type of authority” who tells them what’s up and what’s down, what’s right and what’s wrong. No matter how much it contradicts their “common sense”. And they believe it, and act accordingly.