… is from pages 119-120 of Thomas Sowell’s 2018 book Discrimination and Disparities (original emphasis):
Given how prone all human beings are to mistakes, in all kinds of institutions, one of the most important characteristics of any decision-making process is its ability to recognize and correct its own mistakes. Businesses that do not recognize their own mistakes, and change course in time, can face bankruptcy, even when they have been very successful in the past. Individuals suffering the painful consequences of their own bad decisions have often been forced to change course in order to avoid impending catastrophe, and in many cases have ended up with great personal fulfillment and insight going forward.
Various governmental institutions, however, have major built-in barriers to changing course in response to feedback. For an elected official to admit to having made a mistaken decision, from which millions of voters are suffering, is to face the prospect of the end of a whole career in disgrace.