In defense of expertise

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Counterpoint. Last May I argued passionately that people should not surrender their judgements to experts (Google Plus, or my blog). Today I argue that sometimes it is better to let people who may know more set the tone of debates than to insist on a right to say foolish things personally.

Sadly this isn’t the result of a turnaround in world affairs, nor even of resurging rationality in my small part of the world. In fact, it is for the same reasons, seen a different way, as I proposed in my previous essay.

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The cult of expertise: surrendering freedom

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Every day we abstain from considering and making decisions that are rightly ours to consider and make.  We defer that engagement with our world to people considered more ‘expert’ in the apparently germane disciplines, but to the exclusion of all others.  And so we build the world around us as it is, with all the grandeur and the despair in it, as a deferred potential and responsibility.  Nevertheless, we build it in our own images, because we ourselves become a perpetually stalled potential when we choose this as a reflexive response to all contemplation and decisions about matters more complex than immediate self-gratification.

What is it that we really do when we abdicate our own authority and wisdom?  Do we actually comprehend what the consequences are, for ourselves and others, even when we think we don’t care enough to want to have a say?

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