Friday, February 25, 2011

How Expert Are the Experts?

By Alan Caruba

We live in a society that apparently has experts on everything stacked ten deep. You cannot turn on the television without being introduced to experts of every description about everything.

That being the case, why is the nation on the brink of insolvency despite the fact that I can order a product, receive email confirmation, and a tracking notice of its shipment without once having to talk to a living person?

That, I submit, is pure genius, whereas creating programs for the wasteful redistribution of wealth, mine and yours, is my definition of really, really stupid.

Why stupid? Because communism and/or socialism, sooner or later always fails. Because banishing the ownership of private property—this is MY stuff, not yours—runs counter to everything we humans strive to achieve and because people don’t want to interact with the government in some fashion every damned day, unless it’s the postman.

As Thomas Paine put it, “that government is best which governs least”, calling it “a necessary evil.”

I got to wondering how many PhDs there are in the United States and, it only took a bit of Googling to conclude there is a huge glut of PhDs, not just here, but worldwide. Considering that it takes from 7.5 to 10 years to nail the diploma to the wall that is a lot of time acquiring something that often does not kick open the door to prosperity, although it does look good on their resumes.

Let us grant that we want our physicians, Doctors of Medicine, to have spent a good stretch of time learning how not to kill us in the process of curing us. Other fields critical to our well being include engineers who design bridges, buildings, and such. We want smart people to ensure that the vast preponderance of dumb people don’t kill us prematurely.

Anyone who has spent any time around PhDs or, in my case, answering their emails, soon concludes that many of them are just nitwits. The greatest drawback of being a PhD is, apparently, concluding that you are smarter than everyone else and then wanting to make that point on an hourly basis, particularly with strangers.

So, forgive me if I have grown old and skeptical listening to or reading PhDs and the views of “experts”, people who are supposed to know what they are talking about.

Permit me to cite just a few examples.

“So here is the Great Society. It’s the time—and it’s going to be soon—when nobody in this country is poor.” – Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965.

“You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.” Jim Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, firing Elvis Presley after one performance on September 25, 1954.

“Get your feet off my desk, get out of here, you stink, and we’re not going to buy your product.” – Joe Keenan, president of Atari, responding to Steve Job’s offer to sell him rights to the new personal computer he and Steve Wozniak had developed, 1976.

“There is not the slightest indication that (nuclear) energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” – Dr. Albert Einstein, 1932. (PS. He changed his mind).

Let me close this observation on expertise or the lack of it, by noting that all politicians lie. The best and most noble of them lie on occasion and the rest of them lie all the time. Our current President has managed to lie ceaselessly, with or without the aid of a TelePrompter. Other than the hardcore 25% of Liberals, most Americans have concluded that he is not to be trusted.

Likewise, far too many scientists have taken to lying a great deal as well and this has been particularly obvious as regards all those telling us that global warming is real, carbon dioxide is a lethal pollutant, and just about anything involving the use of a chemical is suicide.

In Proverbs it says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Let me amend that by suggesting that wisdom includes regarding all those experts on the television, radio and print media with a degree of skepticism. This is another way of saying take the time to do your own research. A republic such as ours requires people to seek the best answers to present problems.

The views of Liberals defy history, science, economics, and logic. They are wrong. Their experts are wrong. That is why we are struggling to put right, to eliminate, all their governmental “answers” to our present crisis.

© Alan Caruba, 2011


LarryOldtimer said...

Seeing that the "experts" are always wrong, and that PhDs in science don't know the fundamentals of chemistry and physics (we professional engineers sure do) and don't do even arithmetic calculations properly, I can not think of a reason to pay heed to anything the "experts" have to say about anything.

It is so obvious that there are far more PhDs than there is useful work for them to do, the "Idle hands are the Devil's workshop" adage comes to mind, and the same can be said of idle minds.

Anonymous said...

And this news, how. I remember using Doctoral Dissertations for research in grad level courses thirty-five years ago and wondering how these guys ever got a PhD. Maybe that's why I became an Electrician. Honest work and you know if the light comes on you knew what you were doing.

Alan Caruba said...

@Cecil: Loved your commentary. So true, so true.

@Larry: Right on target as always.

Lime Lite said...

Alan, speaking about politicians lying - Australia's PM has just been caught lying to the people. Before last year's election, she said that "there would be no carbon tax under the government I lead". Guess what? She has just announced that from 1 July 2012, Australia will get a carbon tax. The people are very angry at her back-flip - this at a time when the country has gone through so many natural disasters and are already struggling to pay off their own and the government debt incurred by the Labor government these past 3 years. Australia is in trouble, not only financially, but morally.

Anonymous said...

The MSM are well versed on the Argumentum ad Verecundiam (the appeal to authority)in many of their trashy revelations......
Dr Nicompoof, an expert in obscurity, confirmed today.......
Professor Oddsocks, an expert, said....
and so it goes on. So right, Alan.
The 'Absent Minded Professor' who wars odd socks and forgets to eat is an example of one who exibits spacial vacuity and has trouble figuring out a beer can ring-pull or wondering why there are three holes in a pair of undershorts when he has only two legs.

If ever I was to be isolated in a future New World community please let it be populated with my peer group of practical engineers and tradesmen, people who can think, and make, and do, and figure out a real world problem.

I know there are some really off-the-wall and brainy people out there who transcend our conception of 'cleverness' and impart real benefits to our world. However, MSM acclaimed experts (is Dr Mann et al an expert? - yes, in fiddling his data - some 'expert') chance.

I have forgotten how many times I have read in the MSM about 'experts'' pontificating on whether or not alcohol is beneficial - or that a bacon sandwhich is a nail in your coffin. Well, I enjoy my grog and eat mountains of bacon 'sarnies' - the experts can go and hibernate where the sun don't shine - except those who have proved their knowledge and expertise. Cheers.

Clive in the Philippines

Alan Caruba said...

@Clive: I take comfort in your comment which reflects the real world in which we live, not the fantasies served up by the media.

Alan Caruba said...

@Lime Life: I do hope Australians have access to a judicial system that can overturn the PM's mandate. A CO2 tax will utterly ruin the nation's economy.

Onizuka Wolfwood said...

Found your blog randomly and have to say wonderful stuff.

Onizuka Wolfwood said...

Great stuff. You have rightly said much of which I have been thinking and saying for a long time now.

Alan Caruba said...

@Onizuka: Thank you very much!