- As you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided, in 2020, to run for President.
(crowd cheering) - So, if the only people that run for office are the people that want to run for office, what does that say about the psychology of our government?
- I would do away with the education, the-- - [Man] Commerce?
- Sir, so you know who judges me?
- That society has.
- Not you.
- Forget about anything else.
- Not you.
- These allegations are false, and I need to go back to work.
- Question from the adoption amendment.
and I need to go back to work.
- [Representative] I ask for a recorded vote and I need to go back to work.
on the committee at large.
Mr. Speaker-- - Those in favor, say aye.
(clarinet oompah music) - According to a controversial study from the late '90s, politicians score higher than other professionals - According to a controversial study from the late '90s, on something called the NPI, or Narcissistic Personality Inventory, and the data appeared to show a spike in characteristics like superiority, arrogance, and the data appeared to show a spike and entitlement.
There was also research conducted in the courtroom setting that revealed that people who appear more confident, well, we tend to trust them more than their peers.
But it turns out that perceived confidence is often correlated with overconfidence, But it turns out that perceived confidence meaning that just because somebody says they're going to do something, doesn't mean they know how to do it.
they're going to do something, Any of this sounding familiar?
- Read my lips.
No new taxes.
Any of this sounding familiar?
- Our troops are coming home.
By the end of this year, our war in Afghanistan will finally come to an end.
By the end of this year, our war in Afghanistan (crowd cheering) - I ask Congress to give me authority for mandatory conservation.
- I have initiated a plan which will end this war in a way that will bring us closer to that great goal, - I have initiated a plan which will end this war the goal of a just and lasting peace.
- The thing you notice when you go through this data is that the very quality that get us to elect people into leadership roles are also responsible for their downfall.
Things like excessive risk-taking, overconfidence, a sense of entitlement, and narcissism.
This is probably even worse in politics.
a sense of entitlement, and narcissism.
Even when you tell people that too much confidence can be a bad thing, they think that you're crazy for saying this, but that's really what the evidence suggests.
- Now take a minute to let that soak in.
If they're right, confidence is actually - Now take a minute to let that soak in.
a terrible indicator of a person's abilities, and yet it's on of the main characteristics we're hard-wired to look for in political candidates.
This isn't lost on people in power.
There's plenty of evidence politicians use this hard-wiring to their advantage, There's plenty of evidence politicians use and they do it without remorse.
- The exception, of course, is that and they do it without remorse.
when you watch somebody play tennis, or watch somebody sing in a talent TV show like the X Factor, you can actually tell if they have talent.
When you watch somebody behave as a leader, you can't tell whether they know or not When you watch somebody behave as a leader, unless you are an expert yourself.
When you watch somebody behave as a leader, So it takes competence to spot incompetence, and when we don't have competence, So it takes competence to spot incompetence, we just focus on how confident people are.
- Maybe this is why several well-known psychologists have claimed that public figures ranging from Tony Blair to Lyndon Johnson are plausible psychopaths.
As researcher David Lykken put it, "Lyndon Johnson exemplified the syndrome.
He was relatively fearless, shameless, abusive of his wife and underlings, and willing to do or say almost anything required to attain his ends."
- I think in order to want to be the President of the most powerful country in the world and thinking that you're going to achieve it, you probably have to be pretty deluded about your talents or think very highly of yourself, right?
you probably have to be pretty deluded about your talents - You don't have any doubts that you're ready?
- You don't have any doubts that you're ready?
- Where do you get all this confidence?
- (laughs) My wife asks me that all the time.
- Now, I know we're focusing on the negative here, but bear with us because what we do know in our current system, a system in which people run themselves, there is a selection bias toward certain personality traits, and many of those traits are negative.
- If you're self-critical and you question yourself, and many of those traits are negative.
and you don't fully believe in yourself to the point of distorting reality, probably people don't vote you in and don't elect you into office.
- Now let's compare the way people run for office to, let's say, how our justice system works.
- Now let's compare the way people run for office - Not even the Commander in Chief is exempt from jury duty.
- Not even the Commander in Chief A large crowd gathered, hoping to catch a glimpse of former President Barack Obama as he walked through court in his hometown.
- [Female host] Former President George W. Bush as he walked through court in his hometown.
displayed his civic camaraderie in Dallas, as he walked through court in his hometown.
though he wasn't picked for the jury.
- When we're put on trial, we're supposed to be judged by our peers, or, you know, people like us, and those people are summoned to jury duty.
We're not self-selected for jury duty, we're summoned, and that hopefully means We're not self-selected for jury duty, that we're being judged by a cross-section of society and not just a jury of Lyndon Johnsons.
At this point, you can see what we're driving at.
If people were appointed for office by some random system, At this point, you can see what we're driving at.
sort of how like we pick people for jury duty, would our government behave more like a real person?
- It is a really good question.
I think if it's randomly, from the entire population, you're obviously including people I think if it's randomly, from the entire population, who are less skilled.
I think if it's randomly, from the entire population, In that sense, I think random selection would lead to, on average, worse results.
In that sense, I think random selection Having said that, if you picked blindly from people who are qualified, that are at least pre-vetted on basic personality characteristics like emotional stability, integrity, humility, and intelligence, then I think like emotional stability, integrity, it becomes an interesting experiment.
- Of course, this isn't as crazy as it seems.
it becomes an interesting experiment.
In ancient Greece, citizens were randomly selected to hold office under a system of direct democracy, in which every adult male citizen participated.
We realize at this point that we may be in science fiction land and in the upside-down, We realize at this point that we may be and you might be asking questions.
Well, who does the picking, and what happens if somebody's unable to serve?
But just humor it for a second.
if somebody's unable to serve?
Would our government's behavior shift?
if somebody's unable to serve?
Here's another thing to consider: The way that we campaign today, Here's another thing to consider: where a candidate stands up themselves and makes their own case, where a candidate stands up themselves it hasn't always been that way.
When Abraham Lincoln was running for President, it was sometimes seen as unseemly for a candidate to campaign directly and most of the work was done by surrogates.
The mindset then was a bit different, or at least there was the appearance of it being different, in that the candidate wasn't seeking power, but was being pushed forward by their peers.
in that the candidate wasn't seeking power, - I think a turning point for me is in the '60s, the big era of television stars, and JFK mostly beats Nixon in the first mass volume televised presidential debate, because Nixon looks uncomfortable and is sweaty.
And I think from that moment onward, that trend has only been amplified.
People quote Trump's ability to use Twitter as a decisive factor in the election, but before that we talked about how Obama used Facebook, and in the '80s we talked about how Reagan used television.
He was a commercial kind of advertising actor.
we talked about how Reagan used television.
- That's new Boraxo waterless hand cleaner.
And remember Boraxo powdered hand soap in the attractive new plastic container.
And remember Boraxo powdered hand soap - So I know people always get fixated And remember Boraxo powdered hand soap on the current President or the last 10 years, And remember Boraxo powdered hand soap but this is a trend that started in the '60s.
- So ultimately, here's our question: Would our government work better if people couldn't choose to run and were randomly selected, if people couldn't choose to run or would we start to see other bad traits like indecisiveness and lack of passion or would we start to see other bad traits replace the bad ones that we had before?
or would we start to see other bad traits - It's easy to blame the leaders, or would we start to see other bad traits but people make choices, organizations make choices, and you really need to educate voters or individuals so they understand that competence is not confidence.
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