The Growing Rejection Of Expertise In America

Jan 2016
51,655
47,880
Colorado
#1
As many of you know, this is an old theme with me. I have often had occasion to say that more and more, in America, the 'opinions' of Joe Sixpack, pontificating from his bar-stool down at the local corner tavern, are held to be just as valid, if not more so, than the carefully weighed judgments of accredited experts, with doctorates in their fields, who have spent decades engaged in intensive study of the issues at hand, generally with the most powerful tools that modern science and technology can provide.

I recently came across this article in the journal Foreign Affairs, while going through my piles of magazines, that makes many of the same points, in very eloquent fashion. On the cover of the March/April 2017 issue of that journal is the subtitle "How America Turned Against Experts", and when you turn to the article, the title is: "How America Lost Faith in Expertise, and Why That's a Giant Problem".

How America Lost Faith in Expertise

The article starts by making a rather hilarious point. After Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, Americans were polled about whether (or not) we should intervene militarily in Ukraine. Well, only one in six Americans could even identify Ukraine on a map. Not surprising to me. The median response was off by 1800 miles. But here's what is funny: The respondents favored intervention in direct proportion to their ignorance: "the people who thought Ukraine was located in Latin America or in Australia [LeRoy: LOLOLOLOL!!!] were the most enthusiastic about using military force there."

Another quote from the article: "Some of the smartest people on earth have a significant presence on the Internet. Some of the stupidest people, however, reside just one click away. The countless dumpsters of nonsense parked on the Internet are an expert's nightmare."

And this one made me laugh: "As the comedian John Oliver has pointed out, you don't need to gather opinions on a fact: 'You might as well have a poll asking, 'Which number is bigger, 15 or 5?' Or, 'Do owls exist?', or 'Are there hats?'"

The entire article is well worth reading, and it points out the extreme importance of experts and expertise to the maintenance of a republic in our complex modern world.
 
Mar 2012
55,301
36,843
New Hampshire
#2
As many of you know, this is an old theme with me. I have often had occasion to say that more and more, in America, the 'opinions' of Joe Sixpack, pontificating from his bar-stool down at the local corner tavern, are held to be just as valid, if not more so, than the carefully weighed judgments of accredited experts, with doctorates in their fields, who have spent decades engaged in intensive study of the issues at hand, generally with the most powerful tools that modern science and technology can provide.

I recently came across this article in the journal Foreign Affairs, while going through my piles of magazines, that makes many of the same points, in very eloquent fashion. On the cover of the March/April 2017 issue of that journal is the subtitle "How America Turned Against Experts", and when you turn to the article, the title is: "How America Lost Faith in Expertise, and Why That's a Giant Problem".

How America Lost Faith in Expertise

The article starts by making a rather hilarious point. After Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, Americans were polled about whether (or not) we should intervene militarily in Ukraine. Well, only one in six Americans could even identify Ukraine on a map. Not surprising to me. The median response was off by 1800 miles. But here's what is funny: The respondents favored intervention in direct proportion to their ignorance: "the people who thought Ukraine was located in Latin America or in Australia [LeRoy: LOLOLOLOL!!!] were the most enthusiastic about using military force there."

Another quote from the article: "Some of the smartest people on earth have a significant presence on the Internet. Some of the stupidest people, however, reside just one click away. The countless dumpsters of nonsense parked on the Internet are an expert's nightmare."

And this one made me laugh: "As the comedian John Oliver has pointed out, you don't need to gather opinions on a fact: 'You might as well have a poll asking, 'Which number is bigger, 15 or 5?' Or, 'Do owls exist?', or 'Are there hats?'"

The entire article is well worth reading, and it points out the extreme importance of experts and expertise to the maintenance of a republic in our complex modern world.
You know its funny, back in mid 2016 or so there were a few studies coming out that said people worldwide were fast losing faith in all aspects of their lives, religion, education, banking, business and medicine. Several of us here discussed the implications and pointed out that we would certainly then see Donald Trump elected and that it wouldnt be long until we saw worldwide epidemics that were preventable killing us. We were pretty much laughed at and called "nuts." But I still say if the very fabric that makes us think as we do and understand things as we do become not trustworthy, then all hell breaks lose. I still stand by that we are seeing this today not just politically but in everything including the measles outbreaks. I even saw an article recently that so many people fear their banks they are keeping any cash on them. We are going to become a mad society.

From the link:

"Trump’s victory is due to many factors, but his campaign messaging was undeniably in tune with a note of fundamental disillusionment that has been played by the American public for a decade. Starting around 2007, confidence in institutions cratered, due in no small part to the worldwide financial crisis. In 2006, 49 percent of Americans had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in banks. By the next year it was only 41 percent, and in 2016 that number is a mere 27 percent."

A 2015 Pew study found that only 19 percent of Americans trust the federal government always or most of the time. We as a country have less faith in the medical system than we once did — trust was at 80 percent in 1973, and in 2016 it is 39 percent.

Americans Don’t Trust Their Institutions Anymore
Trust Is Collapsing in America
 
Sep 2013
43,781
34,786
On a hill
#7
You know its funny, back in mid 2016 or so there were a few studies coming out that said people worldwide were fast losing faith in all aspects of their lives, religion, education, banking, business and medicine. Several of us here discussed the implications and pointed out that we would certainly then see Donald Trump elected and that it wouldnt be long until we saw worldwide epidemics that were preventable killing us. We were pretty much laughed at and called "nuts." But I still say if the very fabric that makes us think as we do and understand things as we do become not trustworthy, then all hell breaks lose. I still stand by that we are seeing this today not just politically but in everything including the measles outbreaks. I even saw an article recently that so many people fear their banks they are keeping any cash on them. We are going to become a mad society.

From the link:

"Trump’s victory is due to many factors, but his campaign messaging was undeniably in tune with a note of fundamental disillusionment that has been played by the American public for a decade. Starting around 2007, confidence in institutions cratered, due in no small part to the worldwide financial crisis. In 2006, 49 percent of Americans had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in banks. By the next year it was only 41 percent, and in 2016 that number is a mere 27 percent."

A 2015 Pew study found that only 19 percent of Americans trust the federal government always or most of the time. We as a country have less faith in the medical system than we once did — trust was at 80 percent in 1973, and in 2016 it is 39 percent.

Americans Don’t Trust Their Institutions Anymore
Trust Is Collapsing in America
The worst thing trump has done is to attack the fundamental integrity of our institutions to defend himself.
 
Sep 2013
43,781
34,786
On a hill
#9
Nothing as entertaining as a bunch of educated idiots telling everyone how their opinion is so much more important than ours.

I think they told us that Hilary was gonna win the last presidential election, too.

So, maybe they don't get EVERYTHING right...
We've been over that more then once, but i guess it just doesnt fit your schema.