A skeptic wrote a taking-stock how-can-we-improve post soliciting suggestions on how to make a better skeptical “movement.” Suggestions and advice came in. One piece of advice was:
Treat your allies better than you treat your opposition. This doesn’t mean anyone who claims to be on your side gets a blank check. It does mean you should keep their intentions and goals in mind when someone is imperfect.
I laughed and laughed and laughed. Then I laughed some more.
Update Ok I thought it was obvious what was so funny but it’s not; sorry.
Reasonable people – which self-proclaimed skeptics are a subset of – are not supposed to treat allies well and the opposition badly. That’s neither ethical nor epistemically sensible.
(Actual war is the exception here, but then that’s what makes war such a shitty thing, isn’t it.)
Saying you should “keep their intentions and goals in mind when someone is imperfect” about “your side” only is simply to embrace the fundamental attribution error in a permanent bear-hug. It’s groupthink elevated to a principle. It’s cognitive dissonance treated as a tool rather than a distortion.