It is my personal belief that part of the reason for why Donald Trump is unable to admit when he is wrong is that he has particular traits about him that make it difficult for him to do so, not just because there is a “free will” inside his head that could easily do otherwise but just decides to dig its heels in the sand because it enjoys being hardheaded.
Many people think that any given person, on any given issue, has the same ability to change their mind as anyone else. But what if the ability to change one’s mind is less up to our own free will, and somewhat determined by a combination of our genes, environment and chance?
If that’s the case, then it’s probably also the case that intellectual humility varies in the population just like any other trait — like conscientiousness, agreeableness or even height or weight. On one end, you have the most intellectually humble people who struggle the least with processing information that disconfirms their cherished beliefs, while on the other end, you have the least intellectually humble people, who would not change their mind even if the truth hit them in the face. Most humans probably sit somewhere in the middle, and we are all probably more predisposed to dogmatism on certain issues over others.
But since the United States president is responsible for the world’s most powerful military, and the ability to kill millions (if not billions) with our nuclear strike force, it is imperative that such an individual is one who is willing to back down when presented with viewpoints that disconfirm their beliefs — otherwise catastrophic, irreversible mistakes are more likely. For such a position, we should have higher standards than just that the person can “tell it like it is” or because they have “common sense” or because their particular form of chaotic leadership will randomly “shake things up” and transform America into greatness again (through random, uncareful policies that somehow randomly generate a predetermined outcome — don’t get me started)
Donald Trump does not seem to possess the ability to process complex information and to update his position when presented with new facts that disconfirm his worldview. Due to his position of power, this is dangerous for a country with the level of responsibility we hold in the world. Too much is at steak, and it is on every honest conservative and liberal to ensure that the Donald Trump presidency goes no further than a single term.