Who Said: "Never Trust Experts?"
but if experts descended from their pedestal
I’m reading two writers attacking experts today.
There’s Newt Gingrich writing about “The Collapse of Credentialism” as in COVID and lockdowns and vaccines and in DEI and Claudine Gay, the scion of the Haitian Concrete Industrial Complex. (That’s short for daddy is a VP of a Haitian concrete outfit. It’s a joke, son.) Newt says
Indeed, today people tend to trust higher education less than ever. They put less stock in credentials.
Then there’s Curtis Yarvin who writes in “You will probably die of a cold” that the glory days of Science are over. He says that the COVID virus was a consequence of scientists (not to say Dr. Fauci) doing useless research and desperately lusting after consequence. Trouble is, that sometimes means doing something really dangerous, as in manufactured viruses.
In this case, the useless research was also insanely dangerous. For every case like this, there are ten thousand cases of useless research which is utterly harmless—except that it consumes the lives and talents of some of the best people in the world.
Just like anyone that wants to be “relevant.”
And then there is climate change where we are told the believe the scientists because anyone that doesn’t is a “climate denier.” Never mind that the scientists all know that if they don’t play the game to get government research funding they don’t have a career.
This is nothing new. It was Brit Prime Minister Lord Salisbury that wrote in 1877:
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you never should trust experts. If you believe the doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe.
And Lord Salisbury didn’t trust the foreign-policy experts at the Foreign Office and ran foreign policy out of his back pocket.
You know, of course, that the Prussians invented the research university? It wasn’t because they were devoted to knowledge. They did it back in the day when the French were running all over Germany, because Napoleon. They decided that science would make Germany strong and stop the French marching all over Germany every century or so. They wanted the power that science would bring them. Trouble is that the university and Bismarck made Germany so powerful that everybody ganged up on Germany and destroyed it worse than in the Thirty Years War and the Napoleonic War. Yes, the Germans were experts in philosophy, physics, chemistry, military strategy. A couple of Germans invented socialism. But what good did it do them?
Back to the administrative state. That is supposed to be all about staffing the government with experts, who are so much better than the hacks of the “spoils system.” Thank goodness Ten Percent for the Big Guy went out in the Pendleton Act of 1883.
Seriously, we humans are obviously easily taught to put our trust in experts, whether the High Priest that knows the mind of God, the philosopher that shows us the light of reason, the scientist that knows the origin of the universe, the politician that promises to end injustice.
Maybe experts need to be brought down a peg or two. But how? and what would we humans do if we decided not to trust experts?