Politics-is-Cloudlike

by F.

Sadly, we come to the end of Tetlock’s litany in Expert Political Judgment: the politics-is-hopelessly-cloudlike defense.

Specifically, predictions about any complex situation, such as are the norm in politics, are “best viewed as lighthearted diversions of no consequence because everyone knows, or should know,” that these phenomena are “more cloud-like than clocklike.” (134). One person’s crystal ball is no more accurate than another’s.

So if you make a prediction about a complex situation that turns out wrong, just say, “No one could have predicted accurately given the complexity of the situation.” And if someone else does get it right, they were, of course, “just lucky.” Work in the phrase “stochastic environment,” too, as in “No one could have made a bona fide prediction about such a stochastic environment. Come on!”

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