Following on from Michael Gove saying:
“People in this country have had enough of experts,”
Elites used to possess outsized influence and authority, Edelman notes, but now they only have a monopoly on authority. Influence largely rests with the broader population. People trust their peers much more than they trust their political leaders or news organizations.
“We have a reversal of traditional influence. It is going not top-down, but sideways.”
I think that’s true. The less I trust “authorities” and “experts”, the more I trust ordinary people. I also pay much more attention these days to commenters on my blog, and to other bloggers, than I do to renowned pundits.
On the same topic, TV science pundit Brian Cox:
his famous perma-grin faltered only when the subject of public cynicism towards professional expertise came up.
“It’s entirely wrong, and it’s the road back to the cave. The way we got out of the caves and into modern civilisation is through the process of understanding and thinking. Those things were not done by gut instinct. Being an expert does not mean that you are someone with a vested interest in something; it means you spend your life studying something. You’re not necessarily right – but you’re more likely to be right than someone who’s not spent their life studying it.”
Unfortunately, I think most self-styled experts these days actually are people with vested interests in something. How many people spend their entire lives studying any one thing? Most researchers these days are employees that are paid to study one thing one day, something else the next, depending on who’s paying them. And they have a vested interest in keeping their jobs. The only truly independent researchers are the ones who aren’t being paid. And how many of them are there?