Here's the expanded quote:

Is it hard to make decisions as President? Not really. If you know what you believe, decisions come pretty easy. If you're one of these types of people that are always trying to figure out which way the wind is blowing, decision making can be difficult. But I find that -- I know who I am. I know what I believe in, and I know where I want to lead the country. And most of the decisions come pretty easily for me, to be frank with you.

When we take into account further context that this was spoken to children in elementary school, I think the only strained reading is the one which sees this quote as reasonable. Hey kids, the only thing you need to make good decisions is to know what you already believe in! Reasoning is so much easier when you write the bottom line first.


You are reading Bush as saying he won't update his priors on the evidence. But to me it is obvious that Bush is saying exactly what everybody says about themselves and about the people they support, which is that they won't shift with the political winds.

Here's an example of a person who follows Bush's advice. He is an atheist and a Darwinist. He enters a Christian Creationist community. Around him everyone is a Christian and a Creationist. They make fun of him for being a Darwinist. He has two options:

A) He can make life easy for himself by seeing which w... (read more)

2rhollerith_dot_com9yName an effective U.S. President who did not have great confidence in his ability to make decisions, though. Or name one who doubted his own goodness or questioned his basic beliefs or basic goals.

Arational quotes

by Dr_Manhattan 1 min read14th Apr 201153 comments


Jacobi, an eminent algebraist, was fond of saying: “Invert, always Invert

- Charlie Munger

So based on the above and the regular "rationality quotes" feature I figured why not try a thread for quotes that are not rational? Obviously we do not plain stupidity, but I think quotes that appeal on first listen would qualify. As a side benefit of analyzing specific errors this might serve as an inoculation from rhetoric.  

I am using "arational" rather than irrational to highlight this distinction.

PS. Please feel free to reply with meta comments on whether this is a valuable idea.