PDA

View Full Version : Paul Ryan: the 'democratic fallacy'



David G
04-25-2016, 09:11 PM
http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/paul-ryans-curious-case-against-expertise


In other words, Paul Ryan seems to have a problem with expertise. Indeed, he explicitly rejected the idea of “experts” helping guide policy debates.

And if the Republican Speaker believes this is an important difference between conservatives and progressives, he may be onto something.


Several years ago, David Brooks, lamenting the radicalism of congressional Republicans, complained (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/opinion/05brooks.html) that many on the far-right “do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities.” Five years later, there was Paul Ryan, effectively arguing that Brooks is right and conservatives shouldn’t accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities.

It’s an embrace of a sort of clumsy intellectual populism in which “regular people” deliberately thumb their noses at experts because they’re experts. The intellectual elites and their pesky reality-based worldview tell us that climate change is real, evolutionary biology is fact, and tax cuts don’t pay themselves, so to heck with those folks. Who needs a bunch of elitist egg heads steering debates, just because they have facts and evidence on their side?

At first blush, few would take issue with some of the broader principles Ryan spoke of last week. “All of us are equal”? Though I suspect there are some on the far-right who may take issue with the idea, it sounds great. All of us “working together” can solve any problem? Sign me up.

But it’s the application of those principles where Ryan’s vision starts running into practical problems.

When the Speaker considers the idea of legitimate experts “steering us in their preferred direction,” I get the sense Ryan imagines some dystopian central-planning committee, cooked up in the imagination of Ayn Rand, sending out bureaucratic demands through pneumatic tubes. And while I obviously can’t speak for the left as a whole, I’m reasonably confident this isn’t what “progressives” have in mind.

Put it this way: Paul Ryan wants to give these intellectual elites a tax cut; I want to give them an opportunity to contribute to the public debate. If this is “the key difference” between conservatives and progressives, so be it.

BrianY
04-25-2016, 09:55 PM
The celebration of stupid indeed...

Dave Wright
04-25-2016, 10:18 PM
He doesn't need experts. He has a degree in economics and political science, plus, when he was a saleman for Oscar Mayer he got to drive the wienermobile. How many experts know how to drive the wienermobile? I bet you never drove the wienermobile.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6c/Wienermobile_OURDOG_plate.jpg/1278px-Wienermobile_OURDOG_plate.jpg

Waddie
04-25-2016, 10:44 PM
I think I know what Ryan's getting at; there are no "objective" elites. He's not talking about scientists doing pure research; we seldom hear from such people, they're way too busy doing their research. He's talking about people who interject themselves into political policy discussions. Name me an economist involved in policy discussions who doesn't have a direction they prefer. Or any other expert involved in politics that doesn't have a preferred outcome.

In the sense we are all equal when we listen to all sides on an issue and then form our own opinions. Never should we just accept an "expert" opinion without investigating the source, and making comparisons. Any expert worth his /her salt is able to make complex problems understandable to average people. That's the hallmark of good teaching, which is what "experts" should consider themselves; teachers. But the "equality" is that after all that discussion the student forms his/her own opinion. Too often the experts do have an elitist view that their work is incomprehensible to the average person.

regards,
Waddie

Roger Cumming
04-25-2016, 11:12 PM
It is logical for Paul Ryan to disdain scholars and intellectuals as he himself has never achieved expertise in any discipline. His views on economics are not taken seriously by anyone in the field. His enchantment with Ayn Rand identifies him as an overgrown adolescent on matters of political science and philosophy. His view of experts is identical to that of Sarah Palin. She is cruder and more ignorant than Ryan when expressing her views on elites but style is the only difference between them, Ryan's more socially acceptable.

If it is true that Ryan once drove the weinermobile it is extremely unsettling to consider him as the third in line to assume the presidency.

Dave Wright
04-25-2016, 11:28 PM
If it is true that Ryan once drove the weinermobile it is extremely unsettling to consider him as the third in line to assume the presidency.

It's true. The only reason I mentioned it, is that it might be argued that he's still driving the wienermobile, just look at the wiener faction he represents in congress.

David G
04-26-2016, 09:42 AM
Paul Ryan & Donald Trump are the ugly side of populism.

Flying Orca
04-26-2016, 09:48 AM
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
- Dr Isaac Asimov

Norman Bernstein
04-26-2016, 10:25 AM
I think I know what Ryan's getting at; there are no "objective" elites. He's not talking about scientists doing pure research; we seldom hear from such people, they're way too busy doing their research. He's talking about people who interject themselves into political policy discussions. Name me an economist involved in policy discussions who doesn't have a direction they prefer. Or any other expert involved in politics that doesn't have a preferred outcome.

Did you ever consider the possibility that their politics are a consequence of their research?

If you observed Republican economic policy over the last 30-40 years, and concluded, objectively, that Keynesian policies actually worked better for the economy, wouldn't it be logical to align your politics, as a consequence?


In the sense we are all equal when we listen to all sides on an issue and then form our own opinions. Never should we just accept an "expert" opinion without investigating the source, and making comparisons. Any expert worth his /her salt is able to make complex problems understandable to average people. That's the hallmark of good teaching, which is what "experts" should consider themselves; teachers. But the "equality" is that after all that discussion the student forms his/her own opinion. Too often the experts do have an elitist view that their work is incomprehensible to the average person.

I do precision analog and digital circuit design, and there is no freakin' way in hell that I'm EVER going to make you understand the subtleties and complexities of my science... and you shouldn't expect to.

I WOULD expect, however, that yo'd defer to my expertise, in areas where I clearly have it. Ryan's whining not withstanding, he's just doing the usual thing; when he doesn't like the science, he discredits it.

Waddie
04-26-2016, 12:27 PM
Did you ever consider the possibility that their politics are a consequence of their research?

If you observed Republican economic policy over the last 30-40 years, and concluded, objectively, that Keynesian policies actually worked better for the economy, wouldn't it be logical to align your politics, as a consequence?
I do precision analog and digital circuit design, and there is no freakin' way in hell that I'm EVER going to make you understand the subtleties and complexities of my science... and you shouldn't expect to.

I WOULD expect, however, that yo'd defer to my expertise, in areas where I clearly have it. Ryan's whining not withstanding, he's just doing the usual thing; when he doesn't like the science, he discredits it.

It's perfectly acceptable that they wish policy to go in a certain direction; but one should also listen and evaluate the arguments of experts who draw different conclusions. And the public doesn't need to understand the most mundane specifics of your field of expertise, but they should be able to grasp the big picture if you explain it right.

regards,
Waddie

Flying Orca
04-26-2016, 12:30 PM
(T)he public (...) should be able to grasp the big picture if you explain it right.

I'm curious as to why you think the public has the ability to "grasp the big picture"; I don't recall encountering much evidence in support of the premise.

oznabrag
04-26-2016, 12:42 PM
It's perfectly acceptable that they wish policy to go in a certain direction; but one should also listen and evaluate the arguments of experts who draw different conclusions. And the public doesn't need to understand the most mundane specifics of your field of expertise, but they should be able to grasp the big picture if you explain it right.

regards,
Waddie

Especially in the case of Climate Science, where the research of the past 200 years is so conclusive that virtually everybody who has credentials in the field agrees that this climate change is man made. With that sort of overwhelming, virtually-unanimous consensus, it is very important to listen to the arguments of so-called experts who draw different conclusions, and pretend such crackpot minions of Big Oil have as much weight and credibility as the entire freakin' field of climate scientists.


I'm curious as to why you think the public has the ability to "grasp the big picture"; I don't recall encountering much evidence in support of the premise.

Me too neither.

Norman Bernstein
04-26-2016, 12:52 PM
It's perfectly acceptable that they wish policy to go in a certain direction; but one should also listen and evaluate the arguments of experts who draw different conclusions.

Who says that they aren't... and simply deciding that those conclusions are wrong?

This meme is as old as the hills... and Ryan is simply whining, because HIS 'experts' are being rejected.

I'm sure you can find MANY 'experts' who still insist that supply-side economics actually work... but three or four decades of experience demonstrate that they DON'T. Should we be listening to those experts, for no other reason than they deserve a hearing... when their conclusions have been empirically proven to be WRONG?

Flying Orca
04-26-2016, 01:18 PM
I'm sure you can find MANY 'experts' who still insist that supply-side economics actually work... but three or four decades of experience demonstrate that they DON'T. Should we be listening to those experts, for no other reason than they deserve a hearing... when their conclusions have been empirically proven to be WRONG?

No, no, Norman, you're not getting into the spirit of the thing. Obviously, we have to slash tax rates even more in order to see revenues increase!

PhaseLockedLoop
04-26-2016, 02:59 PM
It is logical for Paul Ryan to disdain scholars and intellectuals as he himself has never achieved expertise in any discipline. His views on economics are not taken seriously by anyone in the field...

Ryan is certainly a jerk. But what about the scholars and intellectuals ten and fifteen years ago when nearly all such experts in the US parroted the Greenspan notion of a self-regulating market system in which a disaster was impossible? How'd that work out?

Norman Bernstein
04-26-2016, 03:14 PM
Ryan is certainly a jerk. But what about the scholars and intellectuals ten and fifteen years ago when nearly all such experts in the US parroted the Greenspan notion of a self-regulating market system in which a disaster was impossible? How'd that work out?

Badly, of course.

The trick, naturally, is to learn from experience... and doubling down on failure, which appears to be part of EVERY Republican candidate's agenda, is not an example of learning from experience.

Flying Orca
04-26-2016, 04:29 PM
But what about the scholars and intellectuals ten and fifteen years ago when nearly all such experts in the US parroted the Greenspan notion of a self-regulating market system in which a disaster was impossible?

Wait, wait, did you just call the Chicago School "scholars and intellectuals"?! snicker

Captain Intrepid
04-26-2016, 05:44 PM
The thing with listening to experts on both sides of a subject is when it comes to science there is only one right answer.

Paul Pless
04-26-2016, 05:49 PM
The thing with listening to experts on both sides of a subject is when it comes to science there is only one right answer.of course, if the science is settled. . . ;)

David G
04-27-2016, 09:22 AM
of course, if the science is settled. . . ;)

As you know... the science is never totally settled. That's not how science works. All we can do is make decisions based upon our current understanding of things. The problem comes when we refuse to acknowledge knowledge - because it conflicts with our pre-existing notions, our religion, the false narrative we've allowed ourselves to not only swallow but identify with, or the voices in our head.

As with most Sophistry - there is an element of truth behind Ryan's approach. But that nugget of truth has been hammered, overheated, stretched, contorted, and crafted into a story not the least bit justified by the original truth.

David G
04-27-2016, 09:31 AM
https://scontent-sjc2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xap1/v/t1.0-0/s526x395/1920274_649015001822739_184660323_n.jpg?oh=42a0554 6b1f1c3a94ad185b04f0c9644&oe=57B97FE6

Jim Mahan
04-27-2016, 09:58 AM
Because some of the rest of us have been anthropomorphizng them?

David G
04-27-2016, 10:08 AM
<snort>

oznabrag
04-27-2016, 10:08 AM
Because some of the rest of us have been anthropomorphizng them?

That's pretty good, Jim.

It reminds me of an old joke.

'I don't anthropomorphize MY tools. They HATE it when I do that!'

:D

NoEyeDeer
04-27-2016, 04:12 PM
Because some of the rest of us have been anthropomorphizng them?Excellent. :D

Michael D. Storey
04-27-2016, 04:20 PM
It is logical for Paul Ryan to disdain scholars and intellectuals as he himself has never achieved expertise in any discipline. This is not good logic. One dos not have to be an expert on anything to see the utility in relying on facts, and often the opinions of those who are experts. It's like saying if you are not an expert on automatic transmissions, you should not drive.