Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Expertise And The Mask Debacle

If you want to understand why conservatives are more skeptical of expertise than you are, the mask debacle should be of interest to you.
   This is one I fell for, though there was unease in the back of my mind that I should have taken more seriously. It was JQ who pointed out to me that this argument was contradictory: if masks don't work, then health-care professionals don't need them. Pretty embarrassing that I missed that one. (Again, there's a way to resolve the contradiction, but I've discussed that before.)
What matters here is this: this sort of thing isn't that unusual. There are all sorts of pronouncemnts and dictates by experts that are unproven or even patently false. Yet we're expected to accept them uncritically.
The second factor is: most relevant areas of alleged expertise that intersect with politics lean progressive, and many such pronouncements and dictates lean left. Once you start seeing this, you start seeing that "expertise" is largely just a stalking-hourse for progressive offensives in the culture war.
The problem is not so much that conservatives are excessively skeptical of "expertise"--it's probably that you are insufficiently skeptical of expertise. Probably because you are antecedently favorably inclined toward the unsupported pronouncements of experts.
If you are, for some reason, wedded to the idea that experts should be heeded, then you should fight against bogus and politically-biased experts and their pronouncements. Because so long as there's so damn much of that out there, conservatives are going to continue to be--justifiably--skeptical.


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