Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Hmm …

… Trump and the Failure of the Expert Class - WSJ.

… the most salient theme of the past five years was not any challenge to democracy. The great theme of the Trump years, the one historians will note a century from now, was the failure of America’s expert class. The people who were supposed to know what they were talking about, didn’t. 

See also:  The suicide of expertise: Glenn Reynolds.

It was the experts — characterized in terms of their self-image by David Halberstam in The Best and the Brightest  who brought us the twin debacles of the Vietnam War, which we lost, and the War On Poverty, where we spent trillions and certainly didn’t win. In both cases, confident assertions by highly credentialed authorities foundered upon reality, at a dramatic cost in blood and treasure. Mostly other people’s blood and treasure.

And these are not isolated failures. The history of government nutritional advice from the 1960s to the present is an appalling one: The advice of “experts” was frequently wrong, and sometimes bought-and-paid-for by special interests, but always delivered with an air of unchallengeable certainty.

As Richard Feynman once said,  "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts."

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