by Jacob Davies
This is why I read Matthew Yglesias, even though he was wrong about the Iraq war:
I was 21 years old and kind of a jerk. Being for the war was a way to simultaneously be a free-thinking dissident in the context of a college campus and also be on the side of the country’s power elite. My observation is that this kind of fake-dissident posture is one that always has a lot of appeal to people. The point is that this wasn’t really a series of erroneous judgments about Iraq, it was a series of erroneous judgments about how to think about the world and who deserves to be taken seriously and under which circumstances.
Compare and contrast to Megan McArdle:
The people who were right can (and will) rewrite their memories of what they believed to show themselves in the most attractive light; they will come to honestly believe that they were more prescient than they were. This is not some attack on people who were against the war: I was wrong, they were right... They will also quite possibly simply be wrong about how they got it right; correct analysis often operates at a subconscious as well as a conscious level.
Unlike the people who were right, there is a central fact stopping [those who were wrong] from flattering themselves too much: things are blowing up in Iraq and people are dying. Thus they will have to look for some coherent explanation. To be sure, many of those explanations are wan and self-serving--"I trusted too much." But others of them aren't. And the honest ones are vastly more interesting than listening to a parade of people say "Well, obviously, I'm a genius, and also, not mean."