People Have Greater Value than Facts

By Robb
Monday, Oct 23rd, 2023

Stephen J. Dubner (Photo Credit: Audrey Bernstein)

On a recent Freakonomics podcast episode (one of my favorites), Stephen Dubner interviewed Melissa Kearney, who wrote a book called, “The Two-Parent Privilege.” I haven’t read it, but it sounds interesting. I have also never heard of her, but she seems like a reasonable person.

In the podcast, she said something that struck me. In speaking about the issue of single-parent households, she said:

I think it should be eminently plausible for us to be both empathetic to the parties involved and still honest about the data and evidence.

Wait. Does she not realize that’s not how things are done these days? If you want to make a point, you villainize, yell louder, get on TV. There’s no need for “data and evidence,” much less trying to understand someone else’s point of view. If they don’t agree with you, they must be wrong. That’s how some people do it anyway.

Obviously, I’m being a bit facetious here. And of course, not all people are that way.

In this case, Melissa Kearney is right on. We can get the facts (which is Wilson Lumber Core Value number three) and think logically about them, but then keep in mind that people are always involved, and people have value. In fact, people have greater value than facts.

If I am right, and you are wrong, you are still a person who has value.

Same goes the other way.

Yes, our third Core Value, Get the Facts, is important. But it is also important to remember to Treat Others the Way We Want to be Treated, which is also a Wilson Lumber Core Value, purposefully and significantly situated right before Get the Facts.

Kearney’s statement challenged me, so I hope if this did not come across like preaching. If I am preaching to anyone it’s to me. Obviously, I needed to hear it. That’s what I like about podcasts. They challenge me to grow, which is another Wilson Lumber Core Value but a discussion for another time.

Do you have any favorite podcasts? If so, which ones and why? I’d love to get your recommendations.

Want a free book? Fill out the form below with your podcast recs and we'll pick one or two people from all entries to receive a free copy of the book "Freakonomics" by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Open to U.S. residents only.

What are your favorite podcasts?

Please enter your full name.

Please enter your email so we can get in touch.

Please enter your comments.