Personal Identity and Decisionmaking

In George Packer's scathing review of George W. Bush's memoir, there's this:

For Bush, making decisions is an identity question: Who am I? The answer turns Presidential decisions into foregone conclusions: I am someone who believes in the dignity of life, I am the protector of the American people, I am a loyal boss, I am a good man who cares about other people, I am the calcium in the backbone. This sense of conviction made Bush a better candidate than the two Democrats he was fortunate to have as opponents in his Presidential campaigns. But real decisions, which demand the weighing of compelling contrary arguments and often present a choice between bad options, were psychologically intolerable to the Decider. They confused the identity question.
I probably agree with the personal criticism of Bush, and I definitely agree that the identity question corrupts anyone's rational, honest analysis.
I am reminded of Paul Graham's brilliant essay Keep Your Identity Small.

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