This lady heads the Expertocracy in Europe. The formal name for her position is President of the European Commission.
Here our she-bear demonstrated how you, my dear unwashed reader, should wash your hands.
— euronews (@euronews) March 23, 2020
This is a fascinating, compelling cultural artifact, key to understanding the Expertocracy.
As somebody pointed out to me, the hilarious part is when she holds up her hands at the end to demonstrate they are poop free.
Ursula thinks you are an idiot. No, no. I do not mean this as a figure of speech. I mean it just as I wrote it: she thinks you are an idiot. This does not imply she hates you, or even dislikes you. She may care for you, or even love you. But she is treating you like a mother does an ignorant irresponsible child—perhaps her own, or perhaps the child she is sitting.
The reason she thinks you are too stupid to know how to wash your hands is slightly because she is a female at a grandmother’s age, and women can’t help themselves. She had many of her own children, and so is used to mothering. But it’s mostly because she thinks she is a member of a superior class, whose duty it is to care for the charges under her.
Strike that: not thinks: knows.
Our she-bear knows she is above us. And she is right about this. That is why, in another context where she was asked before the election what would happen in Italy if the right wing won, she said, “We will see. If things go in a difficult direction—I have spoken about Hungary and Poland—we have tools.”
Yes, they do have tools reduce the threat to their class if people vote the “wrong” way, as the people did. After all, an Expertocracy that calls itself a democracy, there is ever only one right way to vote. That’s because Experts have figured what is best scientifically. I mean this plainly. What that they have thought is so, is, to them, sufficient proof of the correctness of their judgement because they are Experts. The Expertocracy is a living, breathing, perpetual Appeal to Authority.
That people often vote the wrong way is proof, to them, of at least two things: that the people are ignorant and need looking after, perhaps lovingly, and that voting, while “sacred”, is dangerous, and so elections must be fortified, to save non-Experts from themselves.
I promised an explanation of how the Expertocracy continuously comes into being. Enter the Nature story (sent in by Anon) “Most US professors are trained at same few elite universities“.
The peer-reviewed paper —
Do I need to go farther? The answer is right there. If you see it, you see it. And you understand all.
If you do not see, I will tell you. Peer review. A mechanism that guarantees conformity and which confers authority. I do not mean that without peer review the Expertocracy would dissolve, or that peer review is all there is to it. But it is a good part of the culture that creates Experts at their birth, because it ensconces the professors who train nascent Experts.
Consider that there are always, in any human society, elite or prestigious organizations from which rulers emerge or in which rulers are found. This is the nature of man. It is not especially interesting that, as the article says, “just 20% of PhD-granting institutions in the United States supplied 80% of tenure-track faculty members to institutions across the country”. That would surely happen even without an Expertocracy.
It is that almost all people coming out of modern universities believe the same thing. And even that would not be a problem, except that much of what they believe is false, or absurd, or harmful, or outright ludicrous. And many even that could be tolerated, except the Expert’s diplomas produce in them Atomic Hubris.
Peer review is like voting in a democracy, no coincidence. Timorous editors send papers out to referees, who enforce Consensuses. These consensuses are not exactly static; they sway in the breeze, like all political ideas. Again, there are other forces beside peer review driving Expert creation. But peer review builds an inertia around the system.
There is a positive feedback to this. Experts beget more Experts. The more there are, the slower the changes in consensuses, which are solidified with peer review. The shocks required to change views necessarily become larger.
The argument for keeping peer review is that without it absolute gibberish would be published. As it is now? No, this is the false dichotomy, married to Publish or Perish, and under the pressure to win grants. There just is no need, at all, for peer review. (Or for the publishing industry as it is now, but let that pass.)
It is not just Science, or, rather, the hard sciences. It is everywhere in academia, and indeed even stronger outside the hard sciences where far less intelligence is required, and where susceptibility to silliness is greater.
Because would-be rulers and Experts are trained first in the academy, and their professors all come to believe the same narrow set of consensuses, in which they are more or less trapped, Experts emerge like cars off an assembly line. With a limited set of options.
They are all equipped with diplomas, which certify, to them, their superiority. And that’s how we end up with one of the most powerful women in Europe showing the uncredentialed how to wash their hands.
Buy my new book and learn to argue against the regime: Everything You Believe Is Wrong.