Stephen Holmes gave a lecture on his new book- The Matador’s Cape: America’s Reckless Response to Terror –
at the Alumni House here at UC Berkeley. What caught my attention was that several times he mentioned the poor quality of human capacity for risk analysis. His talk was largely about the major political issue of our time – terrorism and our government’s response to it.
The subject of human analysis of risk was the key issue of research in an unrelated lecture which I attended yesterday presented by Carolyn Kousky. In this lecture he gave several examples of how difficult it was to maintain composure during stressful events especially where there was no clear source of the problem and no clear course of corrective action.
I usually write more on a speaker but in this case it is better to go get his book and read it carefully first. His thoughts are founded on a career in Constitutional Law and an analysis of terrorism and therefore are quite subtle.