Try Googling “The Dunning-Kruger President.” New York magazine, Salon, and Politico have recently published articles on that theme. They’re referring to Donald Trump and to the Dunning-Kruger effect, a psychological principle that is becoming a lot better known than it once was.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Those who have the slightest bit of experience think they know it all. That’s the peak at upper left. Then, with increasing experience, people realize how little they do know, how modest their skills are. Perceptions reach a minimum (center of chart), then slant upward again. Those at the level of genius recognize their talent, though tend to lack the supreme confidence of the ignoramus.
The chart is almost a emoticon: a smile turned smirk.
The Dunning-Kruger effect is not a pathological condition. It is the human condition. You may not harbor illusions about your ability to be Commander in Chief or devise a brilliant health-care plan. Yet in dozens of quieter ways, we all suffer from an incurable delusion of competence.