[Cannot be sung to the tune of “Baubles, Bangles, and Beads.” Don’t even try. Please!]
There have been times when, after watching supposedly intelligent people swallow utter bilge in Great-Lakes quantities, I have asked myself “Which of us is crazy? Are we living in Andrew Klavan’s Empire of Lies for real?” The answer always comes back in the words of Henry David Thoreau:
Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one.
…to which one may add, for reinforcement, the words of the Twentieth Century’s foremost prognosticator of totalitarianism, George Orwell:
Sanity is not statistical.
But the suspicion returns at odd intervals, possibly because here in New York, the putative majority not only slurp down the nonsense, bucket after bucket, but insist that you must do so as well.
It can be disheartening. But no one said life is supposed to be all unicorns and rainbows.
I happen to be a Catholic. Though I have reservations about certain Church doctrines, I take Church teaching seriously. I’ve lost count of the number of people who, upon learning of my attachment to the Church, look at me as if they were about to ask whether I’m the real Fran Porretto or an incredible simulation. Apparently, the vogue is to regard religious belief as a variety of insanity.
I happen to be an amateur of economics. I admire the work of the Austrian School, and the fiscal analyses of Milton Friedman. I was once “persuaded” not to go to graduate school in economics…by other graduate students in the department who told me that “you won’t fit in here.” You see, Austrian / Friedmanite concepts were anathema to them, and they disliked the idea that a “heretic” – that being their characterization of anyone who rejects Keynesian monetary theory – might pollute their numbers.
I happen to be a fan of the NHL’s New York Rangers. Yet here on Long Island…no, never mind. I shan’t go on in that vein. Besides, it looks as if the Blueshirts are in the middle of another half-century Stanley Cup drought, so why press the issue?
I’m a skeptic by innate inclination, reinforced by long experience. At this point in my life, I find the habit of skepticism inescapable. However, in an Era of Credulity, the skeptic is profoundly out of step. Being out of step is a lonely condition. Skeptics tend not to cluster. Besides, the pressure to conform can make a skeptic do all sorts of unlikely and strenuous things. Ask Frank Chodorov.
But every now and then I give thanks for my skepticism. I include it among my less-well-understood blessings. All it takes is a fresh glimpse of the lunacies of “experts.”
The little piece just below this one is what got me thinking along the lines above. Despite his incredible record of error and outright deceit, Anthony Fauci is regarded by millions as authoritative on this COVID-19 business. That’s very much in Fauci’s interest, of course. It’s also the will of the Usurper Regime, which seeks to imprison Us the People in masks and isolation, and to addict us to regular injections of “vaccine,” by using Fauci’s “expert” status as a bludgeon.
It may strike the intelligent Gentle Reader as a goes-without-saying deal that printing more and more paper notes and calling them “money” does not create wealth or make anyone better off. Nevertheless many people – probably millions and possibly a majority – accept the representations of John Yarmuth (D-KY) about the boundlessness of the federal government’s purse. Why? Because he’s an “expert.” The Regime has put him forward as such because his utterances support their agenda. Many private persons want to believe he’s correct, because some of the money he wants to fling around might land in their backyards.
Finally for today’s parade of “experts,” many people accept the proclamations of militant atheist Richard Dawkins. Some prefer his conjectures because if he’s right, then will be no eternal consequences for a life of viciousness or dissolution, but others accept them because he’s been nominated an “expert.” Dawkins’ expertise, such as it is, is in evolutionary biology, a field from which even the possibility of experimentation is excluded. How did he become an “expert” in theistic analysis?
If these be representatives of today’s “expert class,” may God save us all. Don’t bother sending me an application for membership.
This is merely a brief illustration of an important front in the battle over our language, which is itself a battle over the scope of human consciousness.
Time was, an expert was a man with a record for being right about developments in some field of study. If you trusted him, it was because you knew of his record and felt that it established him as a man who understood something about cause and effect. Other, self-nominated “experts” who disagreed with him could be ignored. After all, their records for prediction were far poorer, so why listen to them?
It was possible to be deceived even then, of course. Many “experts” claimed to have predicted all manner of developments…but when you looked at their assertions in detail, you couldn’t find any evidence that their “predictions” had come before the events they claimed to have “predicted.” Anyone can “predict” something that’s already happened.
(We also had “predictors” such as Jeane Dixon and The Amazing Criswell. They graced the pages of the tabloids usually found at supermarket checkout stations. But while they were occasionally entertaining, they’re not a significant part of this tale.)
Today’s “expert” is one who has either donned the mantle for himself, or has been awarded it by a government or a government-sponsored body. His record, as often as not, is shrouded in mystery. Sometimes it’s been deliberately obscured by his backers, to protect his reputation for “expertise.” Nevertheless, for his usefulness in promoting some falsehood, he is coronated and held up to the masses as The Authority on the field in which he’s an “expert.” He issues proclamations that sound like imperial ukases. The media, which have a powerful interest in “experts” – they’re great at filling the pages and the air time – almost always collaborate with these poseurs. They insist that their audience sing hosannas to the “expert,” for if the media have accepted him, surely their readers and viewers must! If, a long time afterward, the “expert’s” duplicity can no longer be concealed or denied, their backers and pet media merely move on in silence.
People who are taken in by this sort of “expert” are in the same boat as the victims of con men. The frauds are identical in all important respects. The co-opting of the term expert by institutions with massive megaphones is at the heart of the evil.
There are some things that cannot be said too often. One of my favorites is this exhortation from Siddhartha Gautama, better known to us of today as the Buddha:
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.
Eschew the rantings of “experts.” Treat their mock-authoritative pronouncements with a healthy dose of skepticism. Let’s make “common sense” common once more.