Tuesday, April 25, 2023

#115 / Experts


As I have observed, more than once, Hannah Arendt is not a fan of government by "experts." Click right here if you would like to review one of my recent postings on this topic. The picture above, incidentally, is accompanied, online, by the following headline: "A Team of Experts, Ready to Scale." That headline, and the website to which it is attached, highlights the fact that an inordinate and inappropriate reliance on "experts" is not confined to the governmental sector (though that is what Arendt was focused on).
A lot of right-wing resentment of "big government," and the "deep state," is fed by a belief that governmental agencies, of various kinds, are inappropriately trying to assert their power over individuals by claiming an "expertise" that is unjustified. Arendt is no "right-winger," but as noted, she is no fan of "experts," either. 
I thought to comment on this topic because I recently received one of the daily bulletins sent out by email by a now-retired local attorney, Jeff Bosshard, who is promoting an online version of what KSCO Radio used to provide for my hometown community - a "right-wing" view of issues of public interest and importance. You can see Jeff's denunciation of "experts," below. 
I think Jeff is a little "over the top," since he is attacking not only the idea of government by "experts," but, the way I read it, the whole idea of self-government. He thinks our lives should be "governed" by an "invisible hand," which operates by letting everyone act individually. Still, while I don't agree with Jeff Bosshard's view of our political world, I don't want to be put into the position of saying that we should turn our key public policy decisions over to "the experts," either. I don't buy the argument that "the experts" know what is good for us better than we do, ourselves, which is one thing that Bosshard is protesting. I am with Arendt in how to set the balance right, which means that if we want to have our government respect and reflect our own decisions (as opposed to the recommendations of the so-called "experts," those "consultants" who claim to know more than we do), we need to be much more personally involved in politics and government ourselves. 

We do "Live In A Political World," and it is we ourselves, not the "experts," who need to decide what the shape and substance of that world should be.

The Signs of the Times
Jeff Bosshard
“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” – Thomas Sowell

None of us needs any so-called “experts” to guide us in our daily lives – not just our health or economic life but all aspects of human life. We should therefore reject anyone’s notion that we need to follow or obey them. In my whole life I never ate detergent or put glue in my hair: I just knew better than to do such things. On the other hand, I did drink water from a garden hose and rode in the back of pickup trucks without any harm to myself. Today finds me so done with the so-called experts, as all of us have a well-developed sense of direction keeping us out of harm's way. I am sticking to my trusty old reliance on my “gut feelings” that have guided me through most of my life. For lack of a better word, some of us call this phenomenon of listening to ourselves “intuition”. But whatever you call it, to me as an adult in charge of my own life it is just constant answers to prayer. It comes to our thoughts as messages from the Great Mind that created us, when we first turn away from untrustworthy external sources. Guidance is given continually and freely, but you have to be tuned into it.

We also have accessible group guidance, noted by French economist Frédéric Bastiat as he perched himself on the top of the Eiffel Tower, looked down at the people scurrying around far down below him, and marveled at the fact that Paris got fed without any central direction at all. This was free enterprise at work; you can’t see it but you can discern its effects. It is the “invisible hand” which Scottish economist Adam Smith set forth in his seminal work “The Wealth of Nations” published in 1776, which along with “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine formed the socio-economic bases for our War for Independence. That led to our creation of the United States of America, and soon enough powered its emergence as the pre-eminent force for economic growth and well-being in the world. That made America the leader of the free world.

Think about it; we all marvel at the teamwork of the championship sports teams, and the beauty of music played by an orchestra. But these all have a coach or a conductor. Compare all of them to the teamwork made at least potentially possible by the invisible hand: all 8 billion of us cooperating, producing goods and services, and thus fighting poverty. When the human race bans protectionism and regulation, the invisible hand will take over without any central direction at all. If that isn’t a miracle, then nothing is. What Adam Smith considered the invisible hand was God’s hand.

The first so-called expert from which I have long ago turned is Dr. Anthony Fauci. Despite his best efforts to steer us in another false direction, 66 percent of Americans now lean toward a lab origin of the COVID-19 virus. A whopping 86 percent of republicans believe that the pandemic started in a Chinese laboratory and even a majority (54 percent) of democrats agree. They agree with me. His campaign against the lab leak theory and the attendant media blackout on the issue notwithstanding, the overwhelming evidence pointing to a lab leak has been apparent for some time. The fact that a highly unusual coronavirus with engineered-looking features appeared on the doorstep of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the world’s premier laboratory for coronavirus engineering, has always been a dead giveaway.

Remember, this is the “expert” who first told us that masks would not work to prevent the spread. Then he wanted to order us to wear masks and keep our distance. Then we must vaccinate. Finally, his advice was to shut down the entire country – businesses, churches, schools, whatever. The result was the shattering of our economy. We should also remember that, before his advice proved ill-founded, we made him a temporary cult hero. We know that the course of the pandemic would likely have been very different, had Fauci not covered up its origin. His self-serving incentive to cover up the origin had a tremendous impact on the nation and on the world. Sweden bucked the trend and did not go down the fateful lockdown path. Public health officials there allowed life to continue as normal.

The outcome for Sweden has been very positive. It had the lowest excess death over the past three years of any country in Europe. Having kept schools and the economy open, Sweden also avoided the collateral damage we see everywhere else. I personally also chose to go my own way – thank God – and was spared much of the disaster that we as a whole country felt. When I was told to stay home, I went to work, or hiking in the park. When the parks were closed, I walked on the beach. When the beaches were closed, I walked on the (mostly deserted) public roads.
For like reasons, I certainly do not accept the mouthings of other “experts”, such as those telling us that people-caused carbon emissions are causing “climate change” toward life-ending global warming. Less than 50 years ago they were preparing us for another Ice Age – which of course never came. Do you see my point? Do you see how a God with sufficient intelligence to “invent us” would never allow someone’s bad advice (so called “orders”) to lead us to fail.

Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” is certainly the most marvelous concept in all of economics. The claim that “competition tends to bring about a better product” is profound, and is part and parcel of the invisible hand. It explains, for example, the inefficiency of the post office and the department of motor vehicles, which are directed by humans. The reason we have pretty good fast food, contrarily, is due to competition. McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and all the other participants in this industry, are continually trying to figure out better ways to satisfy customers, whether it’s by shortening lines and thus wait times, or introducing newer and better products, or providing scrupulously clean restrooms. Why? Because they are profit seekers – self-motivated to provide what you want, or need. The only way they can make the profit they want is by providing good products and services you want. So they do – and they do it better than any expert, or five year plan from a central government, or decree of crowned head or elected leader.

You need not have expert advice on where to go to school, what to study, what career to follow, where to live, who to marry (or whether to marry at all), or any other important decision in life. We do not need to listen to Dr. Fauci, Al Gore, or Little Greta. After all, that invisible hand is there for you. It would be available to the people who call themselves experts, too, if only they would listen to it. But the scientists will mostly agree with whoever pays them. And none of them pay a price for being wrong. We shun their meddling with our direct line to the “right way.”

P.S. It should be very clear that politicians are not experts, and we certainly should not follow their self-centered advice. That includes former President Donald Trump advising us to protest his looming arrest. We all remember where that led on January 6, 2021.

"The Signs of the Times"
P O Box 606, Freedom, CA 95019
Phone: (831) 818-9806

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1 comment:

  1. and then we have the the governments good intent with Social Security, or printing of money to cover our debt. This comes from the good intent of people in or out of government. Good Intents is relative to self interest or not.


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