Must-Read: The way I like to put it is that it looks to me like the last time Robert Lucas of University of Chicago did his homework was back in the fall of 1979. It was then that Paul Volcker shifted Federal Reserve policy and made disinflation job number one. Yet the models that tracked how expensive in terms of elevated unemployment and idle capacity that policy was were not the rational-expectations models of Chicago-Rochester-Minneapolis. They were, rather, the adaptive-expectations models of the Federal Reserve-MIT-Princeton. And Lucas's response was to put his fingers in his ears and say: "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"
We are thinking about this, again, now because Lucas's "methodological" commitment to modeling economies by assuming that businesses never have any idea that if they cut the quantity they produce they will be able to charge a higher price has annoyed Paul Romer--that Lucas and company are clinging to intellectually-destructive "Stigler conviction" rather than scientific "Feynman integrity".
In my view, having strong views and being an aggressive advocate for them is not a bad thing. Failing to understand that the point of the enterprise requires that you be willing to mark your beliefs to market is.
Apropos of all this, M.G. Ziegler:
Wrong Positions, Strongly Held: "It is often said that many of the best thinkers/doers/leaders in history have one thing in common...:
...strong positions... weakly held... feel strongly about the ‘right’ way... yet they’re malleable... if persuaded otherwise... a weird yet powerful trait. You need to... convince everyone... you believe 100 percent... while also having a history of changing the stance you’re so forcefully stating.... It’s a great trait... And it’s one that few people can pull off. Most people seem to be on the polar ends of it: they hold weak positions loosely, or they hold strong positions firmly. So, they can’t make up their minds or they never change their minds. Hard to know which is worse....
But there’s actually a type of person who is far worse than either of these. Someone who has the wrong position, strongly held.... The person who always very matter-of-factly states something, when they’re often talking out of their ass. They have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about, but because they’re saying it so forcefully, people believe them.... Who would spout bullshit as fact? Well, a lot of people, actually. But again, most of the time people tend to do this in a meek manner.... Bullshit sensors immediately go berserk. But the ‘wrong position, strongly held’ folks often evade these detectors.... Which is why this is so dangerous.
I would advise you the obvious: to avoid these people. But it’s so hard to know who they are--at least at first. It’s easier to trust no one. But again, human nature will get in the way here. So I guess the only thing to do is to always do your homework on something someone tells you. Hold their position, but hold it weakly.