Smrt ekspertima - sloboda narodu!?


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Join date : 2015-08-30

Smrt ekspertima - sloboda narodu!?

Post by Anduril on Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:45 pm

Ne znam da li je ovaj tekst vec isao ali mislim da je problematika definitivno zasluzila posebnu temu.
Mislim da autor ovde ne ulazi dovoljno u mehanizam kako internet zapravo podriva eksperte i tzv. eksperte ali za pocetak je sasvim dobro stivo.
Mozda drustvenjaci mogu da kazu vise na temu, ali meni se cini, iz perspektive prirodnjaka, da su deo problema i problematicni kriterijumi koji vaze za eksperte iz raznih oblasti. Makroekonomija mi dodje kao najbolji primer gde po nekim univerzalnim naucnim principima cesto vlada totalno ideolosko ludilo umesto naucnog skepticizma - posebno kada je u pitanju javna komunikacija i serviranje prostih resenja. 

Monday, February 13, 2017
How America Lost Faith in Expertise
And Why That's a Giant Problem
Tom Nichols
TOM NICHOLS is Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College. He is the author of The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters [1] (Oxford University Press, 2017), from which this essay is adapted. Follow him on Twitter @RadioFreeTom. The views expressed here are his own.
In 2014, following the Russian invasion of Crimea, The Washington Post published [2] the results of a poll that asked Americans about whether the United States should intervene militarily in Ukraine. Only one in six could identify Ukraine [3] on a map; the median response was off by about 1,800 miles. But this lack of knowledge did not stop people from expressing pointed views. In fact, the respondents favored intervention in direct proportion to their ignorance. Put another way, the people who thought Ukraine was located in Latin America [4] or Australia [5] were the most enthusiastic about using military force there. 
The following year, Public Policy Polling asked [6] a broad sample of Democratic and Republican primary voters whether they would support bombing Agrabah. Nearly a third of Republican respondents said they would, versus 13 percent who opposed the idea. Democratic preferences were roughly reversed; 36 percent were opposed, and 19 percent were in favor. Agrabah doesn’t exist. It’s the fictional country in the 1992 Disney film Aladdin. Liberals crowed that the poll showed Republicans’ aggressive tendencies. Conservatives countered that it showed Democrats’ reflexive pacifism. Experts in national security couldn’t fail to notice that 43 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats polled had an actual, defined view on bombing a place in a cartoon. 
Increasingly, incidents like this are the norm rather than the exception. It’s not just that people don’t know a lot about science or politics or geography. They don’t, but that’s an old problem. The bigger concern today is that Americans have reached a point where ignorance—at least regarding what is generally considered established knowledge in public policy—is seen as an actual virtue. To reject the advice of experts is to assert autonomy, a way for Americans to demonstrate their independence from nefarious elites—and insulate their increasingly fragile egos from ever being told they’re wrong.
This isn’t the same thing as the traditional American distaste for intellectuals and know-it-alls. I’m a professor, and I get it: most people don’t like professors. And I’m used to people disagreeing with me on lots of things. Principled, informed arguments are a sign of intellectual health and vitality in a democracy. I’m worried because we no longer have those kinds of arguments, just angry shouting matches. 
When I started working in Washington in the 1980s, I quickly learned that random people I met would instruct me in what the government should do about any number of things, particularly my own specialties of arms control and foreign policy. At first I was surprised, but I came to realize that this was understandable and even to some extent desirable. We live in a democracy, and many people have strong opinions about public life. Over time, I found that other policy specialists had similar experiences, with laypeople subjecting them to lengthy disquisitions on taxes, budgets, immigration, the environment, and many other subjects. If you work on public policy, such interactions go with the job, and at their best, they help keep you intellectually honest.
In later years, however, I started hearing the same stories from doctors and lawyers and teachers and many other professionals. These were stories not about patients or clients or students raising informed questions but about them telling the professionals why their professional advice was actually misguided or even wrong. The idea that the expert was giving considered, experienced advice worth taking seriously was simply dismissed.
I fear we are moving beyond a natural skepticism regarding expert claims to the death of the ideal of expertise itself: a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laypeople, teachers and students, knowers and wonderers—in other words, between those with achievement in an area and those with none. By the death of expertise, I do not mean the death of actual expert abilities, the knowledge of specific things that sets some people apart from others in various areas. There will always be doctors and lawyers and engineers and other specialists. And most sane people go straight to them if they break a bone or get arrested or need to build a bridge. But that represents a kind of reliance on experts as technicians, the use of established knowledge as an off-the-shelf convenience as desired. “Stitch this cut in my leg, but don’t lecture me about my diet.” (More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight.) “Help me beat this tax problem, but don’t remind me that I should have a will.” (Roughly half of Americans with children haven’t written one.) “Keep my country safe, but don’t confuse me with details about national security tradeoffs.” (Most U.S. citizens have no clue what the government spends on the military or what its policies are on most security matters.)  

The larger discussions, from what constitutes a nutritious diet to what actions will best further U.S. interests, require conversations between ordinary citizens and experts. But increasingly, citizens don’t want to have those conversations. Rather, they want to weigh in and have their opinions treated with deep respect and their preferences honored not on the strength of their arguments or on the evidence they present but based on their feelings, emotions, and whatever stray information they may have picked up here or there along the way.  
This is a very bad thing. A modern society cannot function without a social division of labor. No one is an expert on everything. We prosper because we specialize, developing formal and informal mechanisms and practices that allow us to trust one another in those specializations and gain the collective benefit of our individual expertise. If that trust dissipates, eventually both democracy and expertise will be fatally corrupted, because neither democratic leaders nor their expert advisers want to tangle with an ignorant electorate. At that point, expertise will no longer serve the public interest; it will serve the interest of whatever clique is paying its bills or taking the popular temperature at any given moment. And such an outcome is already perilously near.  
Over a half century ago, the historian Richard Hofstadter wrote that “the complexity of modern life has steadily whittled away the functions the ordinary citizen can intelligently and comprehendingly perform for himself.”  
Hofstadter argued that this overwhelming complexity produced feelings of helplessness and anger among a citizenry that knew itself to be increasingly at the mercy of more sophisticated elites. “What used to be a jocular and usually benign ridicule of intellect and formal training has turned into a malign resentment of the intellectual in his capacity as expert,” he noted. “Once the intellectual was gently ridiculed because he was not needed; now he is fiercely resented because he is needed too much.”  
In 2015, the law professor Ilya Somin observed that the problem had persisted and even metastasized over time. The “size and complexity of government,” he wrote, have made it “more difficult for voters with limited knowledge to monitor and evaluate the government’s many activities. The result is a polity in which the people often cannot exercise their sovereignty responsibly and effectively.” Despite decades of advances in education, technology, and life opportunities, voters now are no better able to guide public policy than they were in Hofstadter’s day, and in many respects, they are even less capable of doing so.
The problem cannot be reduced to politics, class, or geography. Today, campaigns against established knowledge are often led by people who have all the tools they need to know better. For example, the anti-vaccine movement—one of the classic contemporary examples of this phenomenon—has gained its greatest reach among people such as the educated suburbanites in Marin County, outside San Francisco, where at the peak of the craze, in 2012, almost eight percent of parents requested a personal belief exemption from the obligation to vaccinate their children before enrolling them in school. These parents were not medical professionals, but they had just enough education to believe that they could challenge established medical science, and they felt empowered to do so—even at the cost of the health of their own and everybody else’s children.  
Experts can be defined loosely as people who have mastered the specialized skills and bodies of knowledge relevant to a particular occupation and who routinely rely on them in their daily work. Put another way, experts are the people who know considerably more about a given subject than the rest of us, and to whom we usually turn for education or advice on that topic. They don’t know everything, and they’re not always right, but they constitute an authoritative minority whose views on a topic are more likely to be right than those of the public at large. 
How do we identify who these experts are? In part, by formal training, education, and professional experience, applied over the course of a career. Teachers, nurses, and plumbers all have to acquire certification of some kind to exercise their skills, as a signal to others that their abilities have been reviewed by their peers and met a basic standard of competence. Credentialism can run amok, and guilds can use it cynically to generate revenue or protect their fiefdoms with unnecessary barriers to entry. But it can also reflect actual learning and professional competence, helping separate real experts from amateurs or charlatans. 
Beyond credentials lies talent, an immutable but real quality that creates differences in status even within expert communities. And beyond both lies a mindset, an acceptance of membership in a broader community of specialists devoted to ever-greater understanding of a particular subject. Experts agree to evaluation and correction by other experts. Every professional group and expert community has watchdogs, boards, accreditors, and certification authorities whose job is to police its own members and ensure that they are competent and live up to the standards of their own specialty.  
Experts are often wrong, and the good ones among them are the first to admit it—because their own professional disciplines are based not on some ideal of perfect knowledge and competence but on a constant process of identifying errors and correcting them, which ultimately drives intellectual progress. Yet these days, members of the public search for expert errors and revel in finding them—not to improve understanding but rather to give themselves license to disregard all expert advice they don’t like.  
Part of the problem is that some people think they’re experts when in fact they’re not. We’ve all been trapped at a party where one of the least informed people in the room holds court, confidently lecturing the other guests with a cascade of banalities and misinformation. This sort of experience isn’t just in your imagination. It’s real, and it’s called “the Dunning-Kruger effect,” after the research psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger. The essence of the effect is that the less skilled or competent you are, the more confident you are that you’re actually very good at what you do. The psychologists’ central finding: “Not only do [such people] reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it.” 
To some extent, this is true of everybody, in the same way that few people are willing to accept that they have a lousy sense of humor or a grating personality. As it turns out, most people rate themselves higher than others would regarding a variety of skills. (Think of the writer Garrison Keillor’s fictional town of Lake Wobegon, where “all the children are above average.”) But it turns out that less competent people overestimate themselves more than others do. As Dunning wrote in 2014,
The reason turns out to be the absence of a quality called “metacognition,” the ability to step back and see your own cognitive processes in perspective. Good singers know when they’ve hit a sour note, good directors know when a scene in a play isn’t working, and intellectually self-aware people know when they’re out of their depth. Their less successful counterparts can’t tell—which can lead to a lot of bad music, boring drama, and maddening conversations. Worse, it’s very hard to educate or inform people who, when in doubt, just make stuff up. The least competent people turn out to be the ones least likely to realize they are wrong and others are right, the most likely to respond to their own ignorance by trying to fake it, and the least able to learn anything.  
The problems for democracy posed by the least competent are serious. But even competent and highly intelligent people encounter problems in trying to comprehend complicated issues of public policy with which they are not professionally conversant. Most prominent of those problems is confirmation bias, the tendency to look for information that corroborates what we already believe. Scientists and researchers grapple with this all the time as a professional hazard, which is why, before presenting or publishing their work, they try to make sure their findings are robust and pass a reality check from qualified colleagues without a personal investment in the outcome of the project. This peer-review process is generally invisible to laypeople, however, because the checking and adjustments take place before the final product is released. 
Outside the academy, in contrast, arguments and debates usually have no external review or accountability at all. Facts come and go as people find convenient at the moment, making arguments unfalsifiable and intellectual progress impossible. And unfortunately, because common sense is not enough to understand or judge plausible alternative policy options, the gap between informed specialists and uninformed laypeople often gets filled with crude simplifications or conspiracy theories. 
Conspiracy theories are attractive to people who have a hard time making sense of a complicated world and little patience for boring, detailed explanations. They are also a way for people to give context and meaning to events that frighten them. Without a coherent explanation for why terrible things happen to innocent people, they would have to accept such occurrences as nothing more than the random cruelty of either an uncaring universe or an incomprehensible deity.  
And just as individuals facing grief and confusion look for meaning where none may exist, so, too, will entire societies gravitate toward outlandish theories when collectively subjected to a terrible national experience. Conspiracy theories and the awed reasoning behind them, as the Canadian writer Jonathan Kay has noted, become especially seductive “in any society that has suffered an epic, collectively felt trauma.” This is why they spiked in popularity after World War I, the Russian Revolution, the Kennedy assassination, the 9/11 attacks, and other major disasters—and are growing now in response to destabilizing contemporary trends, such as the economic and social dislocations of globalization and persistent terrorism. 

At their worst, conspiracy theories can produce a moral panic in which innocent people get hurt. But even when they seem trivial, their prevalence undermines the sort of reasoned interpersonal discourse on which liberal democracy depends. Why? Because by definition, conspiracy theories are unfalsifiable: experts who contradict them demonstrate that they, too, are part of the conspiracy.  
The addition of politics, finally, makes things even more complicated. Political beliefs among both laypeople and experts are subject to the same confirmation bias that plagues thinking about other issues. But misguided beliefs about politics and other subjective matters are even harder to shake, because political views are deeply rooted in a person’s self-image and most cherished beliefs. Put another way, what we believe says something important about how we see ourselves, making disconfirmation of such beliefs a wrenching process that our minds stubbornly resist. 
As a result, unable to see their own biases, most people simply drive one another crazy arguing rather than accept answers that contradict what they already think about the subject—and shoot the messenger, to boot. A 2015 study by scholars at Ohio State University, for example, tested the reactions of liberals and conservatives to certain kinds of news stories and found that both groups tended to discount scientific theories that contradicted their worldviews. Even more disturbing, the study found that when exposed to scientific research that challenged their views, both liberals and conservatives reacted by doubting the science rather than themselves. 
Ask an expert about the death of expertise, and you will probably get a rant about the influence of the Internet. People who once had to turn to specialists in any given field now plug search terms into a Web browser and get answers in seconds—so why should they rely on some remote clerisy of snooty eggheads? Information technology, however, is not the primary problem. The digital age has simply accelerated the collapse of communication between experts and laypeople by offering an apparent shortcut to erudition. It has allowed people to mimic intellectual accomplishment by indulging in an illusion of expertise provided by a limitless supply of facts.  
But facts are not the same as knowledge or ability—and on the Internet, they’re not even always facts. Of all the axiomatic “laws” that describe Internet usage, the most important may be the predigital insight of the science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon, whose eponymous rule states that “90 percent of everything is crap.” More than a billion websites now exist. The good news is that even if Sturgeon’s cynicism holds, that yields 100 million pretty good sites—including those of all the reputable publications of the world; the homepages of universities, think tanks, research institutions, and nongovernmental organizations; and vast numbers of other edifying sources of good information. 
The bad news, of course, is that to find any of this, you have to navigate through a blizzard of useless or misleading garbage posted by everyone from well-intentioned grandmothers to propagandists for the Islamic State (or ISIS). Some of the smartest people on earth have a significant presence on the Internet. Some of the stupidest people, however, reside just one click away. The countless dumpsters of nonsense parked on the Internet are an expert’s nightmare. Ordinary people who already had to make hard choices about where to get their information when there were a few dozen newspapers, magazines, and television channels now face endless webpages produced by anyone willing to pay for an online presence.  
Of course, this is no more and no less than an updated version of the basic paradox of the printing press. As the writer Nicholas Carr pointed out, the arrival of Gutenberg’s invention in the fifteenth century set off a “round of teeth gnashing” among early humanists, who worried that “printed books and broadsheets would undermine religious authority, demean the work of scholars and scribes, and spread sedition and debauchery.” The Internet is the printing press at the speed of fiber optics.  
The convenience of the Internet is a tremendous boon, but mostly for people already trained in research and who have some idea what they’re looking for. It does little good, unfortunately, for a student or an untrained layperson who has never been taught how to judge the provenance of information or the reputability of a writer.
Libraries, or at least their reference and academic sections, once served as a kind of first cut through the noise of the marketplace. The Internet, however, is less a library than a giant repository where anyone can dump anything. In practice, this means that a search for information will rely on algorithms usually developed by for-profit companies using opaque criteria. Actual research is hard and often boring. It requires the ability to find authentic information, sort through it, analyze it, and apply it. But why bother with all that tedious hoop jumping when the screen in front of us presents neat and pretty answers in seconds?  
Technological optimists will argue that these objections are just so much old-think, a relic of how things used to be done, and unnecessary now because people can tap directly into the so-called wisdom of crowds. It is true that the aggregated judgments of large groups of ordinary people sometimes produce better results than the judgments of any individual, even a specialist. This is because the aggregation process helps wash out a lot of random misperception, confirmation bias, and the like. Yet not everything is amenable to the vote of a crowd. Understanding how a virus is transmitted from one human being to another is not the same thing as guessing the number of jellybeans in a glass jar. And as the comedian John Oliver has pointed out, you don’t need to gather opinions on a fact: “You might as well have a poll asking, ‘Which number is bigger, 15 or 5?’ or ‘Do owls exist?’ or ‘Are there hats?’” 
Moreover, the whole point of the wisdom of crowds is that the members of the crowd supposedly bring to bear various independent opinions on any given topic. In fact, however, the Internet tends to generate communities of the like-minded, groups dedicated to confirming their own preexisting beliefs rather than challenging them. And social media only amplifies this echo chamber, miring millions of Americans in their own political and intellectual biases. 
Experts fail often, in various ways. The most innocent and most common are what we might think of as the ordinary failures of science. Individuals, or even entire professions, observe a phenomenon or examine a problem, come up with theories about it or solutions for it, and then test them. Sometimes they’re right, and sometimes they’re wrong, but most errors are eventually corrected. Intellectual progress includes a lot of blind alleys and wrong turns along the way.  
Other forms of expert failure are more worrisome. Experts can go wrong, for example, when they try to stretch their expertise from one area to another. This is less a failure of expertise than a sort of minor fraud—somebody claiming the general mantle of authority even though he or she is not a real expert in the specific area under discussion—and it is frequent and pernicious and can undermine the credibility of an entire field. (I recognize that I myself risk that transgression. But my observations and conclusions are informed not only by my experience of being an expert in my own area but also by the work of scholars who study the role of expertise in society and by discussions I have had with many other experts in a variety of fields.) And finally, there is the rarest but most dangerous category: outright deception and malfeasance, in which experts intentionally falsify their results or rent out their professional authority to the highest bidder.  
When they do fail, experts must own their mistakes, air them publicly, and show the steps they are taking to correct them. This happens less than it should in the world of public policy, because the standards for judging policy work tend to be more subjective and politicized than the academic norm. Still, for their own credibility, policy professionals should be more transparent, honest, and self-critical about their far-from-perfect track records. Laypeople, for their part, must educate themselves about the difference between errors and incompetence, corruption, or outright fraud and cut the professionals some slack regarding the former while insisting on punishment for the latter. As the philosopher Bertrand Russell once wrote, the proper attitude of a layperson toward experts should be a combination of skepticism and humility:  
As Russell noted, “These propositions may seem mild, yet, if accepted, they would absolutely revolutionize human life’’—because the results would challenge so much of what so many people feel most strongly.  
Government and expertise rely on each other, especially in a democracy. The technological and economic progress that ensures the well-being of a population requires a division of labor, which in turn leads to the creation of professions. Professionalism encourages experts to do their best to serve their clients, respect their own knowledge boundaries, and demand that their boundaries be respected by others, as part of an overall service to the ultimate client: society itself.  

Dictatorships, too, demand this same service of experts, but they extract it by threat and direct its use by command. This is why dictatorships are actually less efficient and less productive than democracies (despite some popular stereotypes to the contrary). In a democracy, the expert’s service to the public is part of the social contract. Citizens delegate the power of decision on myriad issues to elected representatives and their expert advisers, while experts, for their part, ask that their efforts be received in good faith by a public that has informed itself enough—a key requirement—to make reasoned judgments.  
This relationship between experts and citizens rests on a foundation of mutual respect and trust. When that foundation erodes, experts and laypeople become warring factions and democracy itself can become a casualty, decaying into mob rule or elitist technocracy. Living in a world awash in gadgets and once unimaginable conveniences and entertainments, Americans (and many other Westerners) have become almost childlike in their refusal to learn enough to govern themselves or to guide the policies that affect their lives. This is a collapse of functional citizenship, and it enables a cascade of other baleful consequences.  
In the absence of informed citizens, for example, more knowledgeable administrative and intellectual elites do in fact take over the daily direction of the state and society. The Austrian economist F. A. Hayek wrote in 1960, “The greatest danger to liberty today comes from the men who are most needed and most powerful in modern government, namely, the efficient expert administrators exclusively concerned with what they regard as the public good.”  
There is a great deal of truth in this. Unelected bureaucrats and policy specialists in many spheres exert tremendous influence on the daily lives of Americans. Today, however, this situation exists by default rather than design. And populism actually reinforces this elitism, because the celebration of ignorance cannot launch communications satellites, negotiate the rights of U.S. citizens overseas, or provide effective medications. Faced with a public that has no idea how most things work, experts disengage, choosing to speak mostly to one another.  
Meanwhile, Americans have developed increasingly unrealistic expectations of what their political and economic systems can provide, and this sense of entitlement fuels continual disappointment and anger. When people are told that ending poverty or preventing terrorism or stimulating economic growth is a lot harder than it looks, they roll their eyes. Unable to comprehend all the complexity around them, they choose instead to comprehend almost none of it and then sullenly blame elites for seizing control of their lives.  
Experts can only propose; elected leaders dispose. And politicians are very rarely experts on any of the innumerable subjects that come before them for a decision. By definition, nobody can be an expert on China policy and health care and climate change and immigration and taxation, all at the same time—which is why during, say, congressional hearings on a subject, actual experts are usually brought in to advise the elected laypeople charged with making authoritative decisions. 
In 1787, Benjamin Franklin was supposedly asked what would emerge from the Constitutional Convention being held in Philadelphia. “A republic,” Franklin answered, “if you can keep it.” Americans too easily forget that the form of government under which they live was not designed for mass decisions about complicated issues. Neither, of course, was it designed for rule by a tiny group of technocrats or experts. Rather, it was meant to be the vehicle by which an informed electorate could choose other people to represent them, come up to speed on important questions, and make decisions on the public’s behalf.  
The workings of such a representative democracy, however, are exponentially more difficult when the electorate is not competent to judge the matters at hand. Laypeople complain about the rule of experts and demand greater involvement in complicated national questions, but many of them express their anger and make these demands only after abdicating their own important role in the process: namely, to stay informed and politically literate enough to choose representatives who can act wisely on their behalf. As Somin has written, “When we elect government officials based on ignorance, they rule over not only those who voted for them but all of society. When we exercise power over other people, we have a moral obligation to do so in at least a reasonably informed way.” Like anti-vaccine parents, ignorant voters end up punishing society at large for their own mistakes.
Too few citizens today understand democracy to mean a condition of political equality in which all get the franchise and are equal in the eyes of the law. Rather, they think of it as a state of actual equality, in which every opinion is as good as any other, regardless of the logic or evidentiary base behind it. But that is not how a republic is meant to work, and the sooner American society establishes new ground rules for productive engagement between educated elites and the society around them, the better.  
Experts need to remember, always, that they are the servants of a democratic society and a republican government. Their citizen masters, however, must equip themselves not just with education but also with the kind of civic virtue that keeps them involved in the running of their own country. Laypeople cannot do without experts, and they must accept this reality without rancor. Experts, likewise, must accept that they get a hearing, not a veto, and that their advice will not always be taken. At this point, the bonds tying the system together are dangerously frayed. Unless some sort of trust and mutual respect can be restored, public discourse will be polluted by unearned respect for unfounded opinions. And in such an environment, anything and everything becomes possible, including the end of democracy and republican government itself.

Posts : 8866
Join date : 2015-11-22

Re: Smrt ekspertima - sloboda narodu!?

Post by Gargantua on Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:22 pm

ok, ja sam pratio nikolsa po tviteru i na blogu, znam kad je najavljivao da piše knjigu (na svom blogu), ima i da se skine pdf. ja sam čitao samo par isečaka, ali sam više čitao prikaze i kritike, od kojih izdvajam dva:

Skot Meklemi:

A survey of 7,000 freshmen at colleges and universities around the country found just 6 percent of them able to name the 13 colonies that founded the United States. Many students thought the first president was Abraham Lincoln, also known for “emaciating the slaves.” Par for the course these days, right?

It happens that the study in question was reported in The New York Times in 1943. The paper conducted the survey again during the Bicentennial, using more up-to-date methods, and found no improvement. “Two‐thirds [of students] do not have the foggiest notion of Jacksonian democracy,” one history professor told the Times in 1976. “Less than half even know that Woodrow Wilson was president during World War I.”

Reading the remark now, it’s shocking that he was shocked. After 40 years, our skins are thicker. (They have to be: asking the current resident of the White House about Jacksonian democracy would surely be taken as an invitation to reminisce about his “good friend,” Michael.)

The problem with narratives of decline is that they almost always imply, if not a golden age, then at least that things were once much better than they are now. The hard truth in this case is that they weren’t. On the average, the greatest generation didn’t know any more about why The Federalist Papers were written, much less what they said, than millennials do now. The important difference is that today students can reach into their pockets and, after some quick thumb typing and a minute or two of reading, know at least something on the topic.


Nichols knows better than to long for a better time before technology shattered our attention spans. He quotes Alexis de Tocqueville’s observation from 1835: “In most of the operations of the mind, each American appeals only to the individual effort of his own understanding.” This was basic to Jacksonian democracy’s operating system, in which citizens were, Tocqueville wrote, “constantly brought back to their own reason as the most obvious and proximate source of truth. It is not only confidence in this or that man which is destroyed, but the disposition to trust the authority of any man whatsoever.”

The difference between a self-reliant, rugged individualist and a full-throated, belligerent ignoramus, in other words, tends to be one of degree and not of kind.
(Often it’s a matter of when you run into him and under what circumstances.) Nichols devotes most of his book to identifying how 21st-century American life undermines confidence in expert knowledge and blurs the lines between fact and opinion. Like Christopher Hayes in The Twilight of the Elites, he acknowledges that real failures and abuses of power by military, medical, economic and political authorities account for a good deal of skepticism and cynicism toward claims of expertise.

Kent Anderson:

Because expertise cannot be asserted in the face of undisciplined emotions and binary thinking, the trend to treat students as customers and catering to these indulgences becomes stronger, further stifling expertise. Anyone can be emotional, so anyone can beat an expert by merely acting out. Nichols’ book details many academic careers and even university budgets undercut by this looming threat to civil discourse and expert education.

A recent post by Danah Boyd, who works at Microsoft Research studying data and society, asserts that training students in media literacy may itself be part of the problem, feeding a worldview filled with false equivalencies and moral relativism. Boyd talks about “the cultural context of information consumption that we’ve created over the last thirty years” and feels “[t]he problem on our hands is a lot bigger than most folks appreciate.”


People who use the Internet to look up fossil fuels come away with more confidence in their expertise about petroleum and dinosaurs. If such simple things can give you outsized confidence and make you feel like an expert in minutes, why give credence to actual experts? Aren’t their claims of expertise now seen as purely elitist, an attitude and a pose, not an actual fact? Look how much I know about dinosaurs after searching about fossil fuels, after just a few minutes online?

If I can hit a few keys and feel as fast as Usain Bolt, then how special is his elite ability and expert training, really?

Like anyone, Nichols finds it difficult to write about elites without stumbling into the noxious notion that anyone who says they know more about a subject is a snob, effete, or arrogant. After all, this is where the emotional attacks on elites usually start. But the goalposts have shifted against experts and expertise. As he writes:
. . . maybe we have become so inclined to celebrate the authenticity of all personal evidence that it is now elitist to believe in reason, expertise, and the lessons of history.

I agree with Nichols’ perspective on this entirely — the arrogance is actually coming from the uninformed and illogical, who have been elevated by lower barriers to entry, whether in media or higher education. There is a lack of humility and care as emotional gratification becomes the main driver of civic interactions. There is a comfort level — material wealth, social deference, media empowerment — that makes people seek more elusive emotional comforts. In these contexts, the emotional benefits of winning and feeling superior are the end points, outcompeting more admirable but less emotionally gratifying outcomes like understanding, sympathizing, or learning. And certainly, being wrong is beyond comprehension.

Nichols book is framed by academic navel gazing to some extent. He leaves out many other factors that are driving polarization in society, such as income inequality, gated communities, racial and geographic isolation, political corruption, media consolidation and politicization, and anti-immigrant attitudes. This is a book about intellectual elites written for intellectual elites.

It's a sin that somehow
Light is changing to shadow
And casting it's shroud
Over all we have known

Re: Smrt ekspertima - sloboda narodu!?

Post by Guest on Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:44 pm

problem je što među ekspertima ima dogme više nego među popovima, malo je naučnika, svi živi dokazuju zaključke, umesto da zaključuju na osnovu dokaza

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Re: Smrt ekspertima - sloboda narodu!?

Post by ontheotherhand on Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:47 pm

Eksperti služe kratokoročnim interesima (ideološkim i novčanim?), what else is new.

Evo ni prirodnjaci nisu pošteđeni toga.

Free-market academic research policies have unleashed medical quackery and scientific fraud, forcing consumers to pay premiums for discoveries we’ve already funded as taxpayers.

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Re: Smrt ekspertima - sloboda narodu!?

Post by Gargantua on Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:19 pm

iz zadnjeg foreign affairs-a

negde dotiče temu, ne direktno ali i nemam gde pametnije da okačim

The Liberal Order Is Rigged
Fix It Now or Watch It Wither

Jeff D. Colgan and Robert O. Keohane

Prior to 2016, debates about the global order mostly revolved
around its structure and the question of whether the United
States should actively lead it or should retrench, pulling back
from its alliances and other commitments. But during the past year
or two, it became clear that those debates had missed a key point:

today’s crucial foreign policy challenges arise less from problems between
countries than from domestic politics within them
. That is
one lesson of the sudden and surprising return of populism to Western
countries, a trend that found its most powerful expression last year
in the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the eu, or Brexit, and the
election of Donald Trump as U.S. president.

It can be hard to pin down the meaning of “populism,” but its crucial
identifying mark is the belief that each country has an authentic
“people” who are held back by the collusion of foreign forces and
self-serving elites at home. A populist leader claims to represent the
people and seeks to weaken or destroy institutions such as legislatures,
judiciaries, and the press and to cast off external restraints in
defense of national sovereignty. Populism comes in a range of ideological
flavors. Left-wing populists want to “soak the rich” in the name
of equality; right-wing populists want to remove constraints on wealth
in the name of growth. Populism is therefore defined not by a particular
view of economic distribution but by a faith in strong leaders and a
dislike of limits on sovereignty and of powerful institutions.

Such institutions are, of course, key features of the liberal order:
think of the un, the eu, the World Trade Organization (wto), and
major alliances such as nato. Through them, the Washington-led
order encourages multilateral cooperation on issues ranging from security
to trade to climate change. Since 1945, the order has helped
preserve peace among the great powers. In addition to the order’s
other accomplishments, the stability it provides has discouraged
countries such as Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea
from acquiring nuclear weapons.

This peace-building aspect of the liberal order has been an extraordinary
success. So, too, is the way in which the order has allowed
the developing world to advance, with billions of people rising
out of crippling poverty and new middle classes burgeoning all over the
world. But for all of the order’s success, its institutions have become
disconnected from publics in the very countries that created them.

Since the early 1980s, the effects of a neoliberal economic agenda have
eroded the social contract that had previously ensured crucial political
support for the order.
Many middle- and working-class voters in the
United Kingdom, the United States, and elsewhere have come to believe—
with a good deal of justification—that the system is rigged.

Those of us who have not only analyzed globalization and the liberal
order but also celebrated them share some responsibility for the rise
of populism
. We did not pay enough attention as capitalism hijacked
globalization. Economic elites designed international institutions to
serve their own interests and to create firmer links between themselves
and governments.
Ordinary people were left out. The time has come
to acknowledge this reality and push for policies that can save the
liberal order before it is too late.


In 2016, the two states that had done the most to construct the liberal
order—the United Kingdom and the United States—seemed to turn
their backs on it. In the former, the successful Brexit campaign focused
on restoring British sovereignty; in the latter, the Trump campaign
was explicitly nationalist in tone and content. Not surprisingly, this
has prompted strong reactions in places that continue to value the
liberal order, such as Germany: a poll published in February by the
German newspaper Die Welt found that only 22 percent of Germans
believe that the United States is a trustworthy ally, down from 59 percent
just three months earlier, prior to Trump’s victory—a whopping
37-point decrease.

The Brexit and Trump phenomena reflect a breakdown in the social
contract at the core of liberal democracy: those who do well in a marketbased
society promise to make sure that those disadvantaged by
market forces do not fall too far behind.
But fall behind they have.
Between 1974 and 2015, the real median household income for Americans without
high school diplomas fell by almost 20 percent. And even those with high
school diplomas, but without any college education, saw their real
median household income plummet by 24 percent. On the other hand,
those with college degrees saw their incomes and wealth
expand. Among those Americans, the real median household income
rose by 17 percent; those with graduate degrees did even better.

As political scientists such as Robert Putnam and Margaret Weir
have documented, such trends have led to different sets of Americans
living in separate worlds. The well-off do not live near the poor or
interact with them in public institutions as much as they used to.
This self-segregation has sapped a sense of solidarity from American
civic life: even as communications technology has connected people
as never before, different social classes have drifted further apart,
becoming almost alien to one another. And since cosmopolitan
elites were doing so well, many came to the conclusion—often without
realizing it—that solidarity just wasn’t that important for a wellfunctioning

Elites have taken advantage of the global liberal order—sometimes
inadvertently, sometimes intentionally—to capture most of the income
and wealth gains in recent decades, and they have not shared much with
the middle and lower classes.
Wealthier, better-educated Americans
have pushed for or accepted regressive tax policies, trade and investment
agreements that encouraged corporate outsourcing, and the underfunding
of public and higher education. The result of such policies
has been to undermine what the political scientist John Ruggie once
called “embedded liberalism”: a global order made up of free-market
societies that nevertheless preserved welfare states and labor-market
policies that allowed for the retraining of people whose skills became
obsolete, compensation for those who lost out from trade liberalization,
and validation of the self-worth of all citizens, even if they were not
highly productive in economic terms. Elites pushed for and supported
the first part of this vision—free markets, open borders, and multilateralism—
but in the 1970s and even more so in the 1980s, they began
to neglect the other part of the bargain: a robust safety net for those
who struggled. That imbalance undermined domestic support for free
trade, military alliances, and much else.

The bill for that broken social contract came due in 2016 on both
sides of the Atlantic. And yet even now, many observers downplay
the threat this political shift poses to the liberal order. Some argue
that the economic benefits of global integration are so overwhelming
that national governments will find their way back to liberalism, regardless
of campaign rhetoric and populist posturing. But the fact is that
politicians respond to electoral incentives even when those incentives
diverge considerably from their country’s long-term interests—and
in recent years, many voters have joined in the populist rejection of
globalization and the liberal order.

Moreover, business leaders and stock markets, which might have
been expected to serve as a brake on populist fervor, have instead
mostly rewarded proposals for lower taxes with no accompanying
reduction in government spending. This is shortsighted. Grabbing
even more of the benefits of globalization at the expense of the middle
and working classes might further undermine political support for the
integrated supply chains and immigration on which the U.S. economy
depends. This position is reminiscent of the way that eighteenthcentury
French aristocrats refused to pay taxes while indulging in
expensive foreign military adventures. They got away with it for many
years—until the French Revolution suddenly laid waste to their privilege.
Today’s elites risk making a similar mistake.


Some portion of the blame for the liberal order’s woes lies with its
advocates. Policymakers pursued a path of action favored by many
academics, including us: building international institutions to promote
cooperation. But they did so in a biased way—and, for the most part,
we underestimated the risk that posed.
Financial firms and major
corporations enjoyed privileged status within the order’s institutions,
which paid little attention to the interests of workers. Wto rules
emphasized openness and failed to encourage measures that would
cushion globalization’s effects on those disadvantaged by it, especially
workers in the traditional manufacturing sectors in developed countries.

Meanwhile, investment treaties signed in the 1990s featured provisions
that corporate lawyers exploited to favor big business at the expense of
consumers. And when China manipulated trade and currency arrangements
to the disadvantage of working-class Americans, Washington
decided that other issues in U.S.-Chinese relations were more important,
and did not respond strongly.

Working-class Americans didn’t necessarily understand the details of
global trade deals, but they saw elite Americans and people in China
and other developing countries becoming rapidly wealthier while
their own incomes stagnated or declined. It should not be surprising
that many of them agreed with Trump and with the Democratic presidential
primary contender Bernie Sanders that the game was rigged.

Much ink has been spilled on the domestic causes of the populist
revolt: racism, growing frustration with experts, dysfunctional economic
policies. But less attention has been paid to two contributing factors
that stemmed from the international order itself. The first was a
loss of national solidarity brought on by the end of the Cold War.

During that conflict, the perceived Soviet threat generated a strong
shared sense of attachment not only to Washington’s allies but also
to multilateral institutions. Social psychologists have demonstrated
the crucial importance of “othering” in identity formation, for individuals
and nations alike: a clear sense of who is not on your team
makes you feel closer to those who are. The fall of the Soviet Union
removed the main “other” from the American political imagination
and thereby reduced social cohesion in the United States.
The end
of the Cold War generated particular political difficulties for the
Republican Party, which had long been a bastion of anticommunism.
With the Soviets gone, Washington elites gradually replaced Communists
as the Republicans’ bogeymen. Trumpism is the logical extension
of that development.

In Europe, the end of the Cold War was consequential for a related
reason. During the Cold War, leaders in Western Europe constantly
sought to stave off the domestic appeal of communism and socialism.
After 1989, no longer facing that constraint, national governments
and officials in Brussels expanded the eu’s authority and scope, even
in the face of a series of national referendums that expressed opposi-
tion to that trend and should have served as warning signs of growing
working-class discontent. In eastern Europe, anti-Soviet othering was
strong during the 1980s and 1990s but appears to have faded as memories
of the Cold War have become more distant. Without the specter
of communist-style authoritarianism haunting their societies, eastern
Europeans have become more susceptible to populism and other
forms of illiberalism. In Europe, as in the United States, the disappearance
of the Soviets undermined social cohesion and a common
sense of purpose.

The second force stirring discontent with the liberal order can be
called “multilateral overreach.”
Interdependence requires countries
to curb their autonomy so that institutions such as the un and the
World Bank can facilitate cooperation and solve mutual problems. But
the natural tendency of institutions, their leaders, and the bureaucracies
that carry out their work is to expand their authority. Every time
they do so, they can point to some seemingly valid rationale. The
cumulative effect of such expansions of international authority, however,
is to excessively limit sovereignty and give people the sense that foreign
forces are controlling their lives. Since these multilateral institutions
are distant and undemocratic—despite their inclusive rhetoric—the
result is public alienation, as the political scientist Kathleen McNamara
has documented. That effect is compounded whenever multilateral
institutions reflect the interests of cosmopolitan elites at the expense
of others, as they often have.


Derigging the liberal order will require attention to substance but
also to perceptions.
The United States has made only feeble attempts
to sustain something like Ruggie’s embedded liberalism, and even
those attempts have largely failed. Germany, Denmark, and Sweden
have done better, although their systems are also under pressure.
Washington has a poor track record when it comes to building government
bureaucracies that reach deep into society, and the American
public is understandably suspicious of such efforts. So U.S. officials
will have to focus on reforms that do not require a lot of top-down

To that end, Washington should be guided by three principles.
First, global integration must be accompanied by a set of domestic
policies that will allow all economic and social classes to share the
gains from globalization in a way that is highly visible to voters. Second,
international cooperation must be balanced with national interests to
prevent overreach, especially when it comes to the use of military
force. Third, Washington should nurture a uniquely American social
identity and a national narrative
. That will require othering authoritarian
and illiberal countries. Fostering U.S. opposition to illiberalism
does not mean imposing democracy by force, but it does require more
than occasional diplomatic criticism of countries such as China or Saudi Arabia.
A willing president could, for instance, make it clear that although the United
States may have an interest in cooperating with nondemocratic countries,
it identifies only with liberal democracies and reserves its closest
relationships for them. Done properly, that sort of othering could help
clarify the American national identity and build solidarity. It might
at times constrain commercial relationships. However, a society is
more than just an economy, and the benefits of social cohesion would
justify a modest economic cost.

Developing policies that satisfy those principles will require innovation
and creativity. Some promising ideas include tax credits to businesses
that provide on-the-job training for dislocated workers and
earned-income tax credits for individuals. Progressives have pursued
such policies in the past but in recent times have retreated or compromised
for the sake of passing trade deals; they should renew their
commitment to such ideas. Officials should also require that any new
trade deals be accompanied by progressive domestic measures to assist
those who won’t benefit from the deals. At a minimum, Congress should
avoid regressive tax cuts. If, for example, the Trump administration
and its gop allies in Congress decide to impose a border adjustment
tax on imports, the revenue raised ought to benefit the working class.
One way to make that happen would be to directly redistribute the
revenue raised by the tax on a per capita basis, in the form of checks
to all households; that would spread the wealth and build political
support for the combination of economic openness and redistribution.
Another way to benefit the working class would be to stimulate job
creation by lowering employers’ payroll tax burden. Such ideas will
face an uphill battle in the current U.S. political environment, but it is
essential to develop plans now so that, when political opportunities
emerge, defenders of the liberal order will be ready.

The more difficult task will be developing a national narrative,
broadly backed by elites across the ideological spectrum, about “who
we are”—one built around opposition to authoritarianism and illiberalism.
The main obstacle will likely be the politics of immigration,
where the tension between cosmopolitanism and national solidarity
surfaces most clearly. Cosmopolitans argue (correctly) that immigrants
ultimately offer more benefits than costs and that nativist fears
about refugees are often based more on prejudice than fact. The
United States is a country of immigrants and continues to gain energy
and ideas from talented newcomers. Nonetheless, almost everyone
agrees that there is some limit to how rapidly a country can absorb
immigrants, and that implies a need for tough decisions about how
fast people can come in and how many resources should be devoted
to their integration. It is not bigotry to calibrate immigration levels
to the ability of immigrants to assimilate and to society’s ability to
adjust. Proponents of a global liberal order must find ways of seeking
greater national consensus on this issue. To be politically sustainable,
their ideas will have to respect the importance of national solidarity.

Like it or not, global populism has a clear, marketable ideology,
defined by toughness, nationalism, and nativism: “America first” is a
powerful slogan. To respond, proponents of an open liberal order must
offer a similarly clear, coherent alternative, and it must address, rather
than dismiss, the problems felt keenly by working classes. For Democrats,
“the party of jobs” would be a better brand than “the party of
increasing aggregate welfare while compensating the losers from trade.”

Without dramatic change to their messages and approach, established
political parties will fade away altogether. An outsider has already
captured the Republican Party; the Democrats are cornered on the
coasts. In Europe, the British Labour Party is imploding and the traditionally
dominant French parties are falling apart. To adapt, establishment
parties must begin to frame their ideas differently. As the
social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has argued, progressives must learn
to speak of honor, loyalty, and order in addition to equality and rights.
To derig the liberal order and stave off complete defeat at the
hands of populists, however, traditional parties must do more than
rebrand themselves and their ideas. They must develop substantive
policies that will make globalization serve the interests of middleand
working-class citizens. Absent such changes, the global liberal
order will wither away.

It's a sin that somehow
Light is changing to shadow
And casting it's shroud
Over all we have known

Re: Smrt ekspertima - sloboda narodu!?

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