Wednesday 13 July 2022

The late and much missed classical liberal Peter Risdon, 6 years ago, on the cult of the experts



This expert cult is new, and a very bad thing. It's deeply anti-intellectual, seeking to create priesthoods who are custodians of knowledge denied to the rest. It's a shame Gove's anecdote about Einstein required the mention of Nazis because the point was Einstein's remark that if a view is right, it only needs one person to propose it.
Expertism tells people not to try to understand issues, not to look at arguments and data themselves, but rather to take the word of the clergy. It's the first resort of frauds, zealots and obsessives.
Coupled with the emphasis on 'qualitative' research, which has eliminated rigour and significance from a lot of public policy research, expertism is a very effective way of justifying the irrational and the unfounded.
It's a specialised form of the credentialism that insists firemen watch children drown in shallow water if they haven't the requisite Drowning Saving Certification.
It's a bad thing.

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