The Death of Expertise

Statler and Waldorf

You all think you’re right, but we know we’re right!

The recent media furore over sick child Charlie Gard was emblematic of one thing, the death of expertise. The desperate and easily-led parents argued with the Peadiatricians at the world-renowned Great Ormond Street Hospital that treatment for their terminally ill little boy should be extended. It duly went to court, the Doctors naturally won, being experts in the care of sick children, but a media storm was ignited by the usual subjects in the UK tabloid media. The extreme right wing NHS haters then fanned the flames and were buoyed by US Clown in Chief Donald Trump who tweeted that America would help.

Mike’s a thick as pigshit knuckledragger

America couldn’t, the kid’s still going to die and the parents have now ungraciously admitted defeat. It would have been a suitable example for “The Death of Expertise” by Tom Nicholls, an adjunct Professor of National Security Affairs at the US Naval War College.

A good read about standing up for civilization and fight back against the knuckledraggers
It’s mainly US-focused, but none the worse for that, and describes the “narcissistic and misguided intellectual egalitarianism” currently poisoning the polity, ultimately resulting in self-defeating disasters like Brexit and the Presidency of Donald Trump. The ground he covers isn’t exactly revelatory with the Dunning–Kruger effect, the internet/Facebook and ‘news as entertainment’ highlighted as causal factors. The chapter on higher education was interesting, and all in all, it is well-written and engaging.

I do think he’s left some things out though. In particular the spread of managerialism from the corporate sector to just about everywhere else, the standard pf public/state education, the decline of reading fiction, and the infantilization of popular culture, especially Hollywood.

Daily Mail readers comment on story about some new photos of Hitler that have recently been found. Sigh.

A population that doesn’t read stories, and can’t concentrate on a serious (non-action, non super-hero) film is unlikely to be able to show common-sense, and good judgement when faced with complex problems. It’s a depressing topic for sure, but not a depressing book.

Like Statler & Waldorf it’s sometimes nice to wallow in righteousness and it’s a theraputic response to the tidal wave of knuckledragging ignorance crashing over the Anglo-American world.

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