What happened to America’s elites? During the COVID-19 pandemic they have unleashed a torrent of authoritative pronouncements about the crisis that have too often proven to be incomplete or totally inaccurate. Victor Davis Hanson argues that the increasing specialization of intellectuals — along with a declining sense of humility — is making the expert class less and less reliable.

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  1. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    Thanks for this interview. I am often amazed at the specialists that the BBC interviews regarding some situation. They are the sports economist professor or the gender language in medicine or petroleum production think tank person, etc. Some specialization is bound to occur over time but a lot just seems unnecessary and, frankly, we may not be able to afford it – or them – in the post-Wuhan flu world. 

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  2. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Was it Churchill who said “Never before have so many known so much about so little” …

    Its amazing how these great scientific minds can be so absorbed into a tiny field that they know nothing outside of their fields. Even greats like Stephen Hawking – the undisputed heavy weight champion of astro-physics, thought that global warming was going to transform the Earth into Venus. Even the most hyperbolic of alarmists are not predicting that.

    I wonder if the universe has perfected the idiot, and rebranded them “Academic Experts”

     

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  3. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    The single biggest issue with today’s “elites” may be that, moreso than in the past, they seem to be self-appointed.

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  4. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    My late father taught mechanical engineering at a university for the second half of his career, in the 1970’s and 1980’s. He was so annoyed by the narrow focus of so many Ph.D. candidates that at their oral defense of their theses my father would ask the candidate some question based on first year physics (such as an F=ma type problem). He was horrified how many couldn’t handle the question. 

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  5. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    I am a patent lawyer (protecting inventions). Although most of the inventions I have helped to protect were created by experts, many of the most interesting inventions involved at least one collaborator who was outside the field of expertise. Typically that collaborator brought to the table a different perspective, or the possibility that a solution from a different field might be applied to the current problem. 

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  6. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    The Fed can’t guess the right interest rate. This is not debatable. 

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  7. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    That was excellent. 

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  8. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    @1:30  Homophobia?  Try xenophobia.

    The title and description of the podcast is about “elites.”  But the talk is about “experts.”  I would argue that “elites” and “experts” aren’t necessarily equivalent.

    Neil Ferguson has been wrong about many things over time, but it’s not fair to criticize his – or others’ – “if you do NOTHING” predictions as being wrong, if you DON’T do NOTHING.  One might as well claim that the “No Smoking, Turn Off Engine” signs at gas stations are unnecessary, because there aren’t a lot of fires caused by smoking or running engines.  Well, duh.

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  9. MISTER BITCOIN Inactive
    MISTER BITCOIN
    @MISTERBITCOIN

    kedavis (View Comment):

    @1:30 Homophobia? Try xenophobia.

    The title and description of the podcast is about “elites.” But the talk is about “experts.” I would argue that “elites” and “experts” aren’t necessarily equivalent.

    Neil Ferguson has been wrong about many things over time, but it’s not fair to criticize his – or others’ – “if you do NOTHING” predictions as being wrong, if you DON’T do NOTHING. One might as well claim that the “No Smoking, Turn Off Engine” signs at gas stations are unnecessary, because there aren’t a lot of fires caused by smoking or running engines. Well, duh.

    both lack humility

     

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