Friday, February 22, 2013

How we live now: The rule of the inept experts

A couple of days ago I linked to this post by Photon Courier:

Jousting with Shadows

And, almost always, today’s “progressivism” is about the transfer of power from individuals to credentialed “experts” who will coerce or “nudge” people to do with those experts have decided would be best.
That quote is especially apt in light of Joe Biden’s latest buffoonery:

Joe Biden’s Felony Self-Defense Advice

Following Vice President advice to fire warning shots will likely get you arrested on felony charges. Firing randomly Biden didn’t even state the shots should be fired into a safe direction could get those charges upgraded to assault with a deadly weapon or possibly manslaughter if those shots fired into the air in the dark hits and kills an innocent victim like Rachel Yoder.

Vice President Biden has given defensive gun use advice that may put those who follow it behind bars with a felony conviction. Is he remotely competent to be driving national gun policy?
The distinctive feature of coercive “experts” like Joe Biden or Joe Salazar is that they are credentialed, not proficient. They assume the right to make decisions for others, but that assumption is based on “media consensus” and insider back-scratching. It is not, demonstrably in the case of Biden and Salazar, based on proven expertise or knowledge.

Ours is an age of Knowingness Rampant.

Knowingness, of course, is not knowledge--indeed, is the rebuttal of knowledge. Knowledge was what squares had, or thought they had, and they thought that it was the secret of life. Knowingness is a celebration of the conceit that what the squares knew, or thought they knew, was worthless.
Given his history, it is surprising that the administration allows Biden to speak in public. In a healthy polity, he would be kept under tight wrapsthe political equivalent of the crazy aunt in the attic.

From Mark Steyn in 2008:

By contrast, Biden was glib and fluent and in command of the facts if by "in command of the facts" you mean "talks complete blithering balderdash and hogwash."
Or this gem:
Is Joe Biden a psychopath?
Biden's bizarre question angers father of Navy SEAL who died in Benghazi attack
VP made inappropriate comment to Charles Woods, father of SEAL Tyrone
Or this:

Joe Biden’s big lie

One reason for Biden’s continued viability is the exercise of raw media power. David Warsh notes one role the prestige press plays:

Newspapers reward their culture heroes and presidential favorites, penalize those with whom they disagree, further the activities of which they approve and ignore those which they do not.
A decadent liberal media has to praise a liberal leader like Biden or else the whole rickety structure might collapse.

In a bizarre way, supporting Biden enhances the self-image of reporters and editors

The MSM puts great stock in the value of its insider status. They know things that we outsiders do not. That allows them to see context and nuance that the dirty masses are blind to. What the public might think is favoritism is just superior knowledge. Because they know that Joe Biden is smart and Sarah Palin is dumb, it is AOK for pundits to mock the latter while ignoring the missteps the of Veep.
A number of years ago, a Biden gaffe came up on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” (“Where the Liberal Establishment lets their hair down”). It was only a brief mention because, as serial fabricator Mike Barnicle announced, “We know his heart is in the right place so we give him a pass”.

The assorted deciders at the table murmured their agreement.

As I said, Knowingness Rampant.

This is a mindset we’ve seen before, Stephen Koch, in his book Double Lives* describes how Willi Munzenberg worked to manipulate opinion leaders and built Popular Front support for Stalin’s prison empire:

Munzenberg wanted to instill the feeling, like a truth of nature, that seriously to criticize or challenge Soviet policy was the unfailing mark of a bad, bigoted, and probably stupid person, while support was equally infallible proof of a forward-looking mind committed to all that was best for humanity and marked by an uplifting refinement of sensibility.


Munzenberg provided two generations of people on the left with what we might call the forum of righteousness. More than any other person of his era, he developed what may well be the leading moral illusion of the twentieth century: the notion that in the modern age the principal arena of the moral life, the true realm of good and evil, is politics. He was the unseen organizer of that variety of politics, indispensable to the adversary culture, which we might call Righteousness Politics. 'Innocents Clubs': The very phrase suggests how the political issues Munzenberg manipulated came for many to serve as a substitute for religious belief. He offered everyone, anyone, a role in the search for justice in our century. By defining guilt, he offered his followers innocence, and they seized upon it by the millions.

· We really have to get this book on Kindle so click on the link and request that the publisher consider a Kindle edition.


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