The Death of Expertise
Increasing our skills to improve society
Tom Nichols' The Death of Expertise analyzes the current times, in which easy access to ever-increasing information is not synonymous with greater education, but rather with misinformation. This phenomenon elicits an increasing rejection of expertise. This book is a reflection on how citizens should become “masters” by developing civic virtue, which would actively involve them in the management of their country.
Many useful tips to:
- Be informed about solid research that addresses a new and worrying phenomenon.
- Learn about the dangers of intellectual and narcissistic pseudo-egalitarianism, which values everybody’s opinion equally.
- Reflect on the relationship between experts and citizens in a democracy, the collapse of that relationship and what can be done to preserve it.
The lack of respect for knowledge: a current problem
Nowadays the problem is not the lack of knowledge, but the fact that we are proud of not knowing. The US has reached a point where ignorance is considered a virtue. Rejecting experts’ advice means reaffirming our own autonomy, protecting our fragile egos from the possibility of someone telling us that we are wrong, that we have screwed up.
It is not just about the American aversion for intellectuals, it is more than that. People living in this day and age are not just uninformed, they actively resist learning. Any assertion of expertise is considered a form of anti-democratic elitism.
The vast social changes that have taken place in the last half-century have broken the old barriers of race, class and sex, and put experts and citizens in direct contact with each other. However, this didn’t translate into more respect for knowledge, but rather the growth of an irrational belief according to which everybody is as smart as anyone else. The goal of education should be to stimulate constant learning, that is, to make us life-long learners. However, today we live in a society where the smallest acquisition of knowledge is considered the end of the line.
The key ideas of "The Death of Expertise"
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