Peer Review & The Continuous Formation Of The Expertocracy

Peer Review & The Continuous Formation Of The Expertocracy

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.

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.

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  1. DAA

    I am afraid to contradict you partially, but people like van der Leyen are monsters. They despise mankind and think (as you said) that they are above, but not in a way to induce the motherhood feelings to take care of us. They just wants us dead, out of their way. This video is from 2020, the “pandemic” is in my opinion still the most devilish of the late actions. This war may be and will be terrible. But the pandemic is followed everywhere, even in Russia and PRC. That means that something wrong happened. Was it a demonic possession of sorts? Experts are idiots in the present world, becausa an expert ought to know that we don’t know much and should tread carefully. So much certitude is sign that things are not going well. As for peer-review, what to do about it? We have the arxiv and similar. Why not just leave it at that?

  2. Alfred Naujocks

    I agree with DAA, above.
    Van der Lying is not an aristocrat.
    Would that she were.
    She is a monster, as DAA observes.
    Also, DAA articulates what I have been struggling to express:
    “So much certitude is sign that things are not going well.”
    There is a distressing lack of self-doubt.
    The level of certitude is what tipped me off in 2017 that Covid was BS.
    But it is now ubiquitous.
    The expertocracy is infallible.

  3. JohnM

    Wiki tells us….

    Heiko Echter von der Leyen (born 2 June 1955 in Hanover) is a German physician and member of the noble family von der Leyen.

    Von der Leyen is married to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

    Since December 2020, he is Medical Director of the US biotech company Orgenesis which is specialised in cell and gene therapies.[1]

  4. Milton Hathaway

    Ah, the “just do the right thing” fallacy. (Ok, it’s not really a fallacy, but I’m going to call it one for the purposes of the comment.)

    Humans don’t just “do the right thing”, in isolation or in a group, no matter how pure their intentions. People are ultimately motivated by self-interest. To direct that self-interest to benefit society, there must be accountability.

    Liberals want accountability to the expertocracy (i.e., themselves), and they want this accountability to control not only their end result goals, but to control the means to get there. (The reason they insist on controlling the means is that their end result goals are invariably crapola, and the smarter ones know it.)

    Conservatives want accountability to society as a whole, leaving the means, and usually even the goals, up to the individual. But conservatives seem to be particularly vulnerable to the “just do the right thing” fallacy as a prescription for societal shortcomings. You don’t see liberals participating much in this fallacy – for starters, they just don’t trust people to follow their bidding voluntarily.

    Which brings me to “tenure-track”. Isn’t this basically just a trade union for university faculty, and tenure just another term for seniority? Humans by nature loathe accountability, which is why they form unions, to remove themselves from the hassles of accountability while improving their lot in life at the expense of society, (Unions are a zero-sum game, unlike free-market entrepreneurism, where on average $100 of consumer value has to be created to accumulate $5 in personal wealth).

    We were on the right path – unions were dying. Why? Because they could no longer compete in the era of global commerce. But unions are coming roaring back, not in the private sector, where they still can’t compete, but in the public sector, where they don’t have to compete. Think government service employees unions and teachers unions. They have bought politicians who in return grant them monopolies, and contract secrecy to avoid upsetting the general public.

    How do conservatives fight back? The “just do the right thing” fallacy is getting us nowhere. There are some examples of some recent successes, however. An unexpected side effect of the pandemic panic reactions has been some significant gains in school voucher programs around the US. I’m not against teachers making more money, but it needs to be earned with an improvement in educational efficiency, which will require innovation. That innovation is likely to happen with school vouchers due to competition, but will never happen as long as teacher’s unions control the system. If I were a teacher in the current public-school system, I would find a job in a private school so I could participate in the coming innovation (but that might be just the engineer in me talking).

    Can recent school voucher success be ported to the university faculty tenure system, where the roots of many of our expertocracy problems seem to originate? It will take a highly motivated group of personally affected people to play the role parents are playing in the school voucher battle. It will take competition from a better system so that ‘consumers’ will take their business elsewhere, creating economic pressure for change.

    I repeat, the “just do the right thing” fallacy is getting us nowhere. Society doesn’t work that way, we need a better plan.


    van der Leyen— Noblesse oblige w/o the nobility.

    Almost four decade ago, I had barely finished my engineering PhD and got two papers, out of the blue, to “peer review”. I was obviously too wet behind the ears that I gave them my “true” review. Did not hear a peep after that for any papers to review. Many moon’s laters I realized that I was not a participant player.

    As an aside I got an MS in statistics on the way — guess that make me, at best a statistician to the starlets. Where are they? Wish I had Harvey in my corner then.

  6. Uncle Mike

    This deranged granny and her expertocrat buddies are careening Europe and the rest of us right into WWIII. Global warming hysteria => global thermonuclear war. Thermageddon anyone?

  7. C-Marie

    Notes that I took from newly elected Prime Minister Giorgia Molino’ speech at CPAC 2022 before she was elected Prime Minister.

    Following, are actual notes that I just took of her speech at CPAC 2022, and how some came away with such misunderstanding of what she said, makes me think they must have listened to a different speech or to someone else. Note: Actually listening to her, far outweighs online or elsewhere reports of what she spoke.

    Here are the points I took down from her speech.

    Belongs to Center Right Party.

    Family, Rights, Personal Freedom (my explanation: allowing “trans biological men and boys” to use girls’ restrooms even at school), sovereignty of country, prosperity, well-being, children’s education …. are being attacked ….

    To be Rebels is to be conservative …

    Fed up with the Left lecturing the Right …

    We on the Right know who we are and wha we stand for …

    Progressives all over the world, use mainstream media for their views …

    We are not RINOS … ( me: Republicans in name only) …

    We are proud of who we are ….

    Allowing in migrants illegally costs workers here legally, in taxes to support them …

    The Left tampering with books, comics, changing street names, trying to rewrite history. …

    We won’t surrender to this … Woke ideology, foundation of families, changing words…

    European Union issued document that says all reference to Christmas of every kind must be removed from official documents …

    People are starting to react against fake news media … politically correct dictatorships.

    The true America and Europee will wake up, awakening many more. They will try to take all away from us …. But they cannot take who we are away from us.

    Cherishing who we are …. knowing who we are …. is all we need to face the challenges to what we stand for …

    “Chesterton wrote: “Fires will be kindled to testify that two plus two makes four. Words will be drawn to show that leaves are green in summer.”

    We are in that time.

    We are ready for the battle!”

    God bless, C-Marie

  8. Johnno

    THE SCIENCE ™ is owned lock, stock and barrel, and we know the trademark holders! Here they are, admitting it! It’s theirs! You can’t have it!

    ‘We own the science’: UN rep. admits partnering with Big Tech to censor ‘distorted information’

    Those same guys also know how to do math and economics!

    Gov. Newsom To Lower Gas-Prices With Gas Tax-Hikes

    Aided and abetted but our most officially informed expurts – the press peanut gallery!

    “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”
    Habakkuk 1:5-6

  9. DAA

    Peer-review would be good if it were review by your peers. We have review by someone sharing in the bureaucratic nonsense and looking into your work in a cursory way. This is not amazing, after all we are all in the business of publishing or perishing – except those older than most, who got tenure or similar, but demand of others that they be the next Newton or Einstein. Even here no-one seems to care to separate the wheat from the chaff. We must, however, reflect a little. Not every time do we have the energy and skills to be always producing some “new” results. We cannot be always demanding quality and accountability under pain of killing the host (as though we were parasites). We must me humane in this matter. There are those who really can’t handle research. But then there are many different kinds of person, implying different kinds of researcher. We have to undo the hagiology of genius. We think that in order to be good we must copy those images of genius. Were they really like that? The rest is bollocks – we don’t evaluate to see if people work, they mostly do, we do that because we have to appear be doing that and make the people feel under pressure. There is absolutely no logic in this way of evaluating scientists. Unlike some here, I believe the guild system was much more humane. Unions seem to be like that, but most people go through life doing their jobs well, more or less, and do not wish to be in a fierce competition all the time. That has more to do with some characters who somehow desire to compensate for something they lack. Newton in science, Vice-Adm Nelson, some other so called geniuses were the result of some sort of compensation. Some say that in the History and Philosophy of Science age is beneficial, whereas in Theoretical Physics or Mathematics not so much. I believe that the work environment should be more balanced. Too many children in charge, too much idiotic competition. Do we evaluate engineers and MD that way? They don’t have to be geniuses to continue to practice. Why do we make academic scientists suffer? Some hatred against the contemplative life?

  10. Forbes

    One wag referred to the EU commission president as Ursula bin Laden. If the shoe fits…

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