We are also uniquely qualified to point to our obvious goodness in contrast with the clear evilness of others. And when we do so, we use the inclusive “we” although we clearly want to exempt ourselves from the collective “we” we so eagerly employ to point to the faults of others. We say “we” but we don’t want to be associated with those we accuse of being bad. The “we” we refer to when we point our finger at the collective we is directed away from us.
Consider the author of the tweet at the head of this post. He writes:
“The main reason why we are so bad in predictions is that we seek psychological comfort more than intellectual integrity.”
The writer uses the collective noun “we” but he simultaneously implies that he stands apart from the others whom accuses of being bad at predictions. We–not he–are imperfect and he’s so much cleverer than we.
That attitude is enough to turn one’s stomach. Or should I say, to turn our stomachs?
Which reminds me of a bit I heard years ago from an Irish friend. “The whole world is crazy except me and thee, and I’m not so sure about thee.” An internet search quotes Robert Owen: “All the world is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer.”
Yes indeed. I accuse us to be deluded — but of course because of my great insight about our delusions, I am clearly not part of the deluded collective. J’accuse.