As Paul Waldman writes, it is almost inevitable that some person who is angered by what is happening in the middle east will be inspired by ISIS/ISIL or whatever the terror group du jour is, to get a gun and shoot up a crowd somewhere in the US. Then instead of treating it as just another mass shooting of the kind that has become routine, the terrorist connection will cause everyone to flip out and hide under their beds and demand that the government do something so that they can come out.
Fox News viewers are among those already primed to react hysterically. They believe that terrorists already have sleeper cells in the US that are at this very moment planning to murder us in our beds, and they are already taking steps to protect themselves from the coming showdown.
How can people be so stupid? John Cleese provides a succinct explanation.
The Dunning-Kruger effect describes a cognitive bias in which people perform poorly on a task, but lack the meta-cognitive capacity to properly evaluate their performance. As a result, such people remain unaware of their incompetence and accordingly fail to take any self-improvement measures that might rid them of their incompetence.
Dunning and Kruger often refer to a “double curse” when interpreting their findings: People fail to grasp their own incompetence, precisely because they are so incompetent. And since overcoming their incompetence would first require the ability to distinguish competence from incompetence, people get stuck in a vicious cycle.
I don’t really care if people hide in their basements surrounded by guns and with a three-month supply of food and water. What worries me is that in order to pacify these panic-stricken people the government will over-react and do something even more stupid or use the event as an excuse to entrench the national security apparatus even deeper.