It’s risky to reflexively attribute actual knowledge to persons who represent themselves as “authorities.” More Americans have been led badly astray by such “authorities” than have contracted the Wuhan Virus. Speaking of which, courtesy of Ragin’ Dave at Peace or Freedom, here’s a contemporary example:
Last month, when Texas Governor Greg Abbott axed the state’s mask mandate and other COVID-related restrictions on businesses and people, Dr. Anthony Fauci called it “risky” and “potentially dangerous.”
“When you pull back on all mitigation methods on all public health guidelines, that’s when you get into trouble and history has proven that,” Fauci told Chris Wallace of Fox News. “This isn’t just some kind of a theoretical, a point that I’m trying to make. It’s not theoretical. It actually happens.”
But, there’s been no surge. In fact, cases have continued to decline.
And Fauci, proven wrong, struggled to explain how Texas has defied his own predictions during an appearance on MSNBC on Tuesday, and tried to suggest that there might be a “lag.”
“It can be confusing because you may see a lag and a delay because often you have to wait a few weeks before you see the effect of what you’re doing right now,” Dr. Fauci claimed.
According to the CDC, COVID “symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.” It’s been 26 days since Texas reopened, which means that Fauci’s “lag” excuse doesn’t hold up.
At the very least, Texas’s experiences call Fauci’s assertion into question. While asymptomatic infection by the WuFlu is not unknown (note the periphrasis), we would reasonably expect it to be proportional to symptomatic and therefore diagnosed infections. This has not been the case.
Knowledge, or expertise if you prefer, should be attributed only to to those with a record of successful predictions:
Expertise in any of the realms of knowledge that don’t involve problem-solving – e.g., physics, chemistry, astronomy, et alii — is founded on prediction. To establish oneself as an expert requires a series of successful predictions: the use of the knowledge one has claimed to create a demonstrable connection:
- From a specified context;
- Affected by a specified stimulus;
- To a consequence that arrives at a specified time.
Once again, I have the pleasure of citing the late Sir Fred Hoyle’s novel The Black Cloud:
“It looks to me as if those perturbations of the rockets must have been deliberately engineered,” began Weichart.
“Why do you say that, Dave?” asked Marlowe.
“Well, the probability of three cities being hit by a hundred-odd rockets moving at random is obviously very small. Therefore I conclude that the rockets were not perturbed at random. I think they must have been deliberately guided to give direct hits.”
“There’s something of an objection to that,” argued McNeil. “If the rockets were deliberately guided, how is it that only three of ’em found their targets?”
“Maybe only three were guided, or maybe the guiding wasn’t all that good. I wouldn’t know.”
There was a derisive laugh from Alexandrov.
“Bloody argument,” he asserted.
“What d’you mean, ‘bloody’ argument?”
“Invent bloody argument, like this. Golfer hits ball. Ball lands on tuft of grass — so. Probability ball landed on tuft very small, very very small. Million other tufts for ball to land on. Probability very small, very, very very small. So golfer did not hit ball, ball deliberately guided onto tuft. Is bloody argument, yes? Like Weichart’s argument….Must say what damn target is before shoot, not after shoot. Put shirt on before, not after event.”
The prediction must come before the consequence to be predicted! Anyone can say “Just as I predicted!” after the event occurs. That doesn’t take knowledge, only a lot of gall.
From that standpoint, Fauci is the reverse of an expert. His predictions have almost all failed. At this point, he’s been wrong so many times that his usefulness as a source of knowledge and guidance has dropped to zero. In truth, that was the case well before today. But he appears to want to be considered an Authority Beyond Criticism:
There’s a reason why journalists should always keep their distance from priesthoods in any field. It’s particularly in the nature of insular communities of subject matter experts to coalesce around orthodoxies that blind the very people in the loop who should be the most knowledgeable.
“Experts” get things wrong for reasons that are innocent (they’ve all been taught the same incorrect thing in school) and less so (they have a financial or professional interest in denying the truth)….
“Authorities” by their nature are untrustworthy. Sometimes they have an interest in denying truths, and sometimes they actually try to define truth as being whatever they say it is. “Elevating authoritative content” over independent or less well-known sources is an algorithmic take on the journalistic obsession with credentialing that has been slowly destroying our business for decades.
It might not be perfectly obvious (a break from tradition here at Liberty’s Torch), but any man who bids for a high political office must present himself to the public as a sort of Anything Authority: i.e., one who “has the answers” to a wide range of questions concerning the issues most prominent in political discourse. As distasteful as it sounds, arrogance is therefore a qualification for office. He who lacks the glibness and certitude required will be dismissed by a large fraction of the voting public. Seldom does the less glib, less arrogant of two candidates prevail in an electoral showdown.
Be warned – and beware.