continuation? There was once a time when participation in public debate, even in the pages of the local newspaper, required submission of a letter or an article, and that submission had to be written intelligently, pass editorial review, and stand with the authors name attached. And how do I know all this? The danger, as he puts it, is that a temptation exists in democratic societies to become caught up in resentful insistence on equality, which can turn into oppressive ignorance if left unchecked. They are instead rejecting anything that might stir a gnawing insecurity that their own opinion might not be worth all that much. So here, presented without modesty or political sensitivity, are some things to think about when engaging with experts in their area of specialization. It represents the full flowering of a therapeutic culture where self-esteem, not achievement, is the ultimate human value, and its making us all dumber by the day. As it turns out, theyre plenty controversial. Sadly, this would be a prime example of exactly what he is decrying.
Yes, its true that experts can make mistakes, as disasters from thalidomide to the Challenger explosion tragically remind. Experts: the servants, not masters, of a democracy. No, its worse than that: the perverse effect of the death of expertise is that without real experts, everyone is an expert on everything. Rather, what I fear has died is any acknowledgement of expertise as anything that should alter our thoughts or change the way we live. (Most people I encounter, for example, have no idea what a non-sequitur is, or when theyre using one; nor do they understand the difference between generalizations and stereotypes.) Most people are already huffy and offended before ever encountering the substance of the issue at essays about race in america hand. Lewis and the Snowden affair, denotes a system of government, not an actual state of equality. It assuredly does not mean that everyones opinion about anything is as good as anyone elses. And to refuse to acknowledge alternative views, no matter how fantastic or inane, is to be closed-minded. People with strong views on going to war in other countries can barely find their own nation on a map; people who want to punish Congress for this or that law cant name their own member of the House.