|Becca Stareyes (beccastareyes) wrote,|
@ 2009-02-11 20:52:00
|Current music:||Orange Sky-Alexi Murdoch|
One of the Elite
Let it be said that I despise anti-intellectualism.
So, I'm a fangirl of 538.com from before the election. Now that the election is over (okay, they still haven't decided who has the Minnesota Senate seat, but that is because Norm Coleman is being a jerk and won't just give up), the blog has turned to one part looking at forecasts for the 2010 Senate elections and one part discussing strategy in Washington.
So, one of the bloggers made a post today that pretty much said that the banking bailouts were complicated enough that the only way to have an informed opinion was to be a professional economist or to essentially say 'I think what the expert think'. (I assume this is ignoring things like 'giving the CEOs giant bonuses = not helpful') And then the comments attacked him for being an elitist.
Now, one of the comments had a point is that a lot of economists may have biases based on their political philosophy -- a more conservative economist will be less in favor of government intervention than a more liberal one. That bothers me, in that I can't tell the degree of bias someone might have. (And it's not just a case of 'take the average' -- se King Solomon and the baby for why that's not always a sound policy.)
And, well... consider medicine. I can doctor myself to some degree. I know enough human anatomy and pharmacology to take care of minor illnesses (cold, stomach problems, flu, headaches, cramps) and injuries. I also know enough to diagnose 'emergency' versus 'go into the doctor in the morning'. For more advanced things, I'm going to see someone who has been trained. It's not a matter of him/her being smarter than me, or even that s/he gets drugs I can't get without permission or has a lab to run tests in, but that s/he spent the time I spent learning astronomy learning both the theoretical and practical aspects of medicine, and presumably keeps reasonably up to date on new developments in the field.
Similarly, I know enough economics to invest my own money and understand the newspaper. Whether the country's banking system is going to crash, how bad the fallout will be, and if/how the government can prevent it is just beyond me, and I honestly don't know which way to talk to my Congresscritters about it. (Besides, 'find some good economists and ask them'.)
I guess the problem is that, in this case, not all opinions are created equal. In a democracy, the public should be able to set what is a priority and what isn't, but implementation is best left to the experts. (Heck, one reason I vote is so I don't need to know everything required to make a government managing 300-million-plus people work. I trust that my various representatives take my lists of 'these are important to me' and the occasional more specific opinion, and turn it into something that works. And if they don't do that, I vote for someone else and also yell at them.)
Blogging a lot today. And mostly about politics. This is unusual.