Quick: what do you think when someone tries to convince you of something by prefacing their remarks with the phase “Experts say”?
I think of that rude, two-word imperative of Germanic origin that ends in “You.”
As Laplace said in another context, it is par expériences nombreuses et funestes that I have this almost Pavlovian reaction.
The “experts,” alas, are not expert, i.e, “possessing a high degree of skill in or knowledge of” a certain subject.
For proof of my contention I offer the name of Anthony Fauci or the organization that glories in the acronym CDC, that is, the Centers for Disease Control. They are both a bit like Michael Avenatti, once championed everywhere as a genius and presidential material, but now universally exposed and discredited. Remember last year when the public health “experts” said that it was dangerous for people to gather in crowds, but entirely OK if the gathering was for the purpose of promoting Black Lives Matter? Fun times.
In the coming months, as the Democrats loosen the preposterous, virtue-signaling, counterproductive mask mandates, requirements to display your “vaccination status,” etc., just remember that it is not because “the science” has changed. The data never supported those draconian expedients. What’s changed are the polls, and the Dems are nervously eying the 2022 midterm elections. They are right to be nervous.
But I digress. The plague of experts we face is akin to the plague of locusts, vividly recounted in Book 10 of Exodus. “And the locusts went up over all the land… very grievous were they; For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened,” and so on. The key thing to appreciate, however, is the link between experts and another short word beginning with the letter “e,” “elites.”
Wouldn’t you know it, just as our so-called “experts” are not really expert, so our “elites” are not really elite, i.e, the best. What makes an elite — secretary of state Antony Blinken, say (please don’t giggle) — an elite? What does he have that you don’t? A close association with Harvard, of course, by which I do not mean the institution in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that goes by that name, but the state of mind that that super-rich, credentializing etrepôt epitomizes.
And here’s another key element in the identity kit of our non-elite elites: their deep involvement with experts who are not so much experts as alibis for policies they want to promulgate or attitudes they want to manage.
The most splendid example of this phenomenon that I have seen recently was offered by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, an entity that is as reliably soy as CNN, MSNBC or the BBC. Reflecting on the Freedom Convoy in Canada, the peaceful protest by truckers opposed government-imposed vaccine mandates, the CBC explained that the word “freedom” “has become common among far-right groups, experts say.” My emphasis but their malignancy.
The word has become common among far-right groups, experts say. https://t.co/JxpBN8gLGt
— CBC News (@CBCNews) February 14, 2022
The tweet links to an article in which we read that “freedom is a malleable term — one that’s open to interpretation.” Well, OK. But after a bit of throat-clearing we come to the nub of the argument. Freedom can mean this, it can mean that, experts say, but “It’s also a term that has thrived among far-right groups,” whose population, “a number of experts [say] is… growing in Canada.”
We then learn that the idea of freedom “can be used to reject equality.” Holy shibboleth, Batman, Equality! Burn your Tocqueville and bow down in the presence of that totem. “On the far right,” another expert assures us, individual freedom “is often translated into somebody who refuses to be bound by norms of equality, treating all people equally or norms to remedy inequality, whether that’s trying to remedy racial discrimination or gender discrimination. The word has been used by far-right groups as part of push-back against efforts to remedy inequality.”
Extra credit if you can parse that, its grammar, first of all, but also by showing how it could have been appropriated almost verbatim into George Orwell’s 1984 as an example of Newspeak.
Extra-extra credit if you noticed how the word “freedom” was transmuted into “individual freedom” and that the word “individual” was injected (I almost said “vaccinated”) as a pejorative term to be contrasted with the idea of group rights, “social interdependence,” or, to give it a traditional name, collectivism.
One of the interesting developments over the last several years is the extent to which totalitarian ideas that, until quite recently, would have been expressed only in veiled, euphemistic form are now out in the open. If you don’t wear a mask, refuse to be vaccinated, express unpopular ideas, dissent from this week’s reigning narrative, you should be locked up and terrorized. And of course, it is not just totalitarian ideas that are out in the open, spreading their wings. It is also totalitarian behavior, as we see on city streets wherever people congregate, peacefully, to demand their rights and the police apparatus of the state, egged on by disgusting media megaphones like the CBC, are out there in force in their fancy black SWAT gear to put those peons in their place.
Do I need to point out that this is unlikely to end well?