Belated realizations

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May 18, 2017 by AK

An interesting discussion at Crooked Timber of the mutual loathing between the self-serving experts and the havoc-wreaking masses. Some quotes from the opening post and the comment thread:

But that unwillingness to believe the experts, even when they’re right, isn’t based on nothing, but rather in the repeated overpromising of those who know best together with the failure of anything like the radiant future to arrive. (Chris Bertram)

The essential problem of post-1960s mass democratic politics: the populists are right, even when they’re obviously, substantively, wrong, because they speak a language that at least gestures as participation, plebiscitarianism, people-power, and all the rest, and that resonates. (Russel Arben Fox)

If the choice is between experts who take science into account but leave things out that everyone can see, and left-behind people full of hate, it’s not clear what we’re going to get. (Bianca Steele)

Responding to Chris Bertram’s words quoted above, with an emphasis on “even when they’re right”:

I think you are identifying one of the most vexing point of the current socio-political system: competent professional élites increasingly form their own coherent political force, which increasingly rules with its own self-interest in mind. For the rest of the population, voting thus becomes an exercise in choosing between competent representatives that will actively worsen their relative situation within society or incompetent ones that promise to break everything and will in all likelihood accomplish precisely that. (“Z”, Olivier Fouquet.)

Some of the commentary might seem like restating the obvious in elegant yet learned cadences. Some, but not all, by far.


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