USA 2024 Elections Thread
grarpamp at gmail.com
Mon Nov 28 23:52:18 PST 2022
Similar to Democrats newfound corrupt woke racist agenda...
Are Progressive "Experts" Fallible? Yes, But Don't Tell Them That
It can be argued that the world has reached the sorry state it’s in
today largely because academics, politicians, “distinguished experts,”
and “recognized authorities” did not have the humility to admit their
own mistakes or to at least recognize the limits of their knowledge.
Of course, this is far from a new affliction in societies and
political systems. Hubris was among the most terrible sins that the
ancient Greeks warned against, and there have been too many
narcissists in positions of power to count since the emergence of the
first organized societies.
People who believe they know best, not just for themselves, but
everyone else too, are naturally attracted to roles that would allow
them to impose their will, their morality, and their values on their
However, one also can argue that the problem is much more prevalent
today than at any other time in our history. The modern news
landscape, both mainstream and social media, the supercharged
propaganda machines of all developed nations, and our public education
system, ensure that dangerous figures will hardly be challenged by
anyone once presented to the public as de facto, “recognized,” and
“widely accepted” authorities. This is also true of politicians, but
things are infinitely more perilous when it comes to science. The
average citizen can more easily question a political stance directly,
whereas it can be impossible to judge the merits of a scientific one
without detailed and specific knowledge.
Therefore, it is much easier to “sell” any academic, from professors
to junior researchers, as an “authority,” one that must be obeyed and
never questioned. They can freely give us all advice on how to live
our lives, and they can even dictate policy, despite the fact that
usually that kind of thing tends to have side effects in areas they
have absolutely no clue about. Once placed on their pedestals, they
become “anointed.” They don’t even have to share their qualifications,
their accomplishments, or any testimonies from their peers.
Their professional records are irrelevant; well, their failures, at
any rate. After all, how could you, average Joe, even begin to use
your untrained, unspecialized brain to judge the particulars of their
CVs or their research? After all, what do you know about climatology,
about infectious diseases, or about macroeconomics? Isn’t it hubris on
your part to dismiss the decades of dedication and work that someone
else invested in a single subject and to believe that you know better?
These would be fair arguments if we lived in an unbiased world where
open debate and independent thinking were actually encouraged. In that
world, multiple experts would engage in public exchanges and challenge
each other by presenting relevant, contradictory findings and evidence
for different theories. And every viewpoint would be explored and
scrutinized, in a grand competition of ideas. Those hypotheses and
models that matched real-life observations and had more accurate
predictive value would be promoted to theories, and only then could we
base our policy making upon them. But just as easily, old ideas would
be consigned to the ash heap of history once better ideas came along.
This is the scientific method, the product of reason; everything else
we see today is the product of a cult mentality.
And it yields the results one would expect: catastrophically wrong
“theories” with devastating consequences for entire nations, even the
entire world. We’re seeing much of this play out in real time today.
The demented fanaticism of the West and its leaders’ monomaniacal
obsession with the “green” agenda have led to an energy crisis like no
other. In Europe, guided by “expert advice,” the policies of the last
decade and the premature transition away from fossil fuels have left
most countries almost entirely dependent on imports. Skyrocketing
electricity bills have already crippled countless households and this
self-inflicted crisis even has the potential to cost actual lives this
Another area where this phenomenon is painfully obvious is the “dismal
science.” The field of economics has arguably produced some of the
most dangerous “authorities” the world has ever seen. Once placed in a
position of power, in a central bank or in a finance ministry, for
instance, the chaos they can wreak is frightening and truly lasting.
This is because the general public really has no understanding of even
the most basic economic principles and no grasp of monetary history,
and it is justifiably intimidated by the jargon used. This is why
central bankers can deflect the blame so easily each time their
policies go awry and why “respected economists” can sell nonsensical
but popular ideas as “fact,” just as we saw with “modern monetary
A rare exception can be found in Austrian economics. Economists of
this school understand very well that the economy is an extremely
complex, living organism and that there is no such thing as a homo
economicus or a perfectly rational actor that behaves exactly as a
model predicts. No, there are no such creatures, we only have humans
to work with, for better or for worse. As Walter E. Block put it in a
I think the steadfast refusal of Austrians to engage in economic
predictions is consonant with our limited powers. We can explain
economic reality and understand quite a bit of it, but unless “all
else is constant” which it never is, we cannot predict, at least not
qua economists. Intellectual modesty is of great value. Do I predict
that one day mainstream economists will come to see the error of their
ways in this regard? I hope so, but, as an Austrian economist, I make
no predictions either way.
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