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January 05, 2017

Glenn Reynolds: Status-Conscious, Achievement-Poor Gentry Liberals Are Frightened By the Diminishment of Their Social Clout that Trump Represents

I wrote about this the other day, but I didn't give credit to Glenn Reynolds, who used to write about this an awful lot of after 9/11. (I didn't mean to omit a credit; I had just believed his take for so long I forgot it was his take at all.) He revisits the topic again.

When people feel their place in the world is threatened, they tend to lash out. And after all, the gentry liberals were promised by no less a figure than Clinton Labor secretary and former Harvard professor Robert Reich that the symbolic analysts like them would own the future.


And now that Trump has won, people are, in fact, a lot less respectful of the traditional academic and media and political elites. Trump didn't just beat them, after all. He also humiliated them, as they repeatedly assured everyone (and each other) that he had no chance. It's a huge blow to the self-importance of a lot of people. No wonder they’re still lashing out.

Of course, lashing out doesn’t exactly bring people around. A lot of people who cast their votes for Trump reluctantly are likely to conclude that they did the right thing, as Trump's opposition (who during the election cast Trump as the unstable, crazy one) keeps going berserk. In response to the New Yorker cartoon, Sean Davis tweeted: "Do you want more Trump? Because this is how you get more Trump."

It really is.

Reynolds mentions the New Yorker cartoon which smugly asserts that all progressives are "experts" (pilots, in the specifics of the cartoon) and that unwashed, uneducated conservative dolts want to take the controls Because They're Stupid.

An awful lot of the argument here is very personal indeed, because 90% of the idiots asserting they are "experts" who should be obeyed in all things have absolutely nothing to their credit which would remotely justify any claim of status as "experts" in any recognizable field at all.

I have paid experts to do various things for me. Note that in the typical situation, a principal -- the client, the buyer of expertise -- decides he wants to achieve something, looks for expert help, investigates who a good expert would be, and then pays that expert for his services.

By the way, if I find out the expert I hired doesn't know his stuff or is an idiot, I fire that expert, as is my right.

It's a voluntary association -- and an association based on the exchange of money for services.

This is not the case with America's current lunatic asylum of self-professed experts who tell you they'll be Your Personal All-Purpose Expert for free, but with a catch: You must obey them and may not ever terminate their employment.

Oh, and also, they're also telling you they won't be your expert. They intend to be your boss.

An expert usually tells you how to best execute a course of action you've already chosen. Yes, he can also advise you on which path you should choose, but even in that case, the expert is not The Decider of what path you must choose. He's supposed to give you the pros and cons of various approaches, then he's supposed to leave the decision to you. You know, the boss, the client, the actual principle.

But these free-range, self-proclaimed "experts" who strangely aren't charging for their expert services (though they'll tell you just how precious and valuable this freely-given service is) do not act like experts. They act like principals.

Suppose you want an architect to draw up plans for a house. You want a dining room because you never had one as a kid, and always associated it -- from old magazine pictures, from old movies, whatever -- with a stable and happy home.

Suppose your architect comes back with no dining room -- just one big great room combining living room, kitchen, and dining area.

"Where's the dining room I asked for?" you want to know.

"No one has dining rooms any more," the expert tells you. "It's all Open Concept now, one room sweeping into the other, bringing together the family in one big room at all times."

"That may well be, but I want a dining room."

"Walls are passe," the experts smugly tells you. "They interrupt the sight-lines."

"I don't care about sight-lines. And honestly, I love my kids, but I'm not so crazy about them so much I want to be locked in a giant room with them 24/7. I want walls and I want a dining room," you say again.

"No one eats in a dining room and anyway dining rooms are too formal."

"I'd like to be formal on occasion."

"Well," the architect tells you, "I've decided that dining rooms are in bad taste and I'm the expert and you can't have one. You're getting Open Concept whether you like it or not, Trump Voter."

At this point, you begin beating the architect about the face and neck and eject him forceably from your home.

As I said, an expert exists to advise you options that you can choose from, and advises you on how best to execute the choice that you have made.

They do not typically arrogate themselves into the position of instructing you what your choice must be.

But that's because they're actual experts, actually sought out and paid by clients to do things.

They would know this if they ever had actually been hired as an expert.

Of course, they haven't.

The crop of very, very stupid and untalented progressives (and, honestly, the Establishment Conservative Church of Online Political Pontificating) are not sought by anyone, not hired by anyone.

They offer their "expertise" at exactly the price it is worth -- zero point zero dollars -- which should tip you (and they themselves) off right away that they're not actually experts.

Real experts get paid, Jack.

Then they further demonstrate that they have no idea of what the principal-agent relationship works like by insisting that they are now the Principal and they're in charge and you're to just sit back and nod appreciatively as they spend your money for purposes you don't support and in fact have explicitly objected to.

And then when you say, "Fuck these inexpert 'experts' and all their free 'helpful advice,'" they whine and cry and squeal that you're the ignorant one for not understanding that the old rule that the expert provides advice and the principal makes decisions is as old-fashioned as a dining room.

War is too important to be left to the generals, they sometimes say. Our inbred, weak-chinned social caste of self-appointed Experts -- the self-imagined expertocracy -- has decided that political choices are too important to be left to the actual polity.

The act of saying "Fuck you" to any mortal man who would claim dominion and authority over you is the first act of a free man. Not a free man on paper, but a free man in fact.

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posted by Ace at 06:50 PM

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