Shut Up: You’re Not An Expert

by | Dec 11, 2023

Shut Up: You’re Not An Expert

by | Dec 11, 2023

god almighty

You’re not entitled to an opinion, because you’re not an “expert.”

Can you imagine anyone still speaking this way after the conduct of the so-called “experts” over the past three years? But they do, dear reader. They do.

This happened to me just the other day. A friend had posted on social media that my new book looked interesting.

Then came the reply: “What’s interesting is that a conservative historian wrote a book about medicine.”

I won’t even bother with the “conservative historian” characterization. The key thing is this: the critic in question is saying that I ought to stay in my lane, and that it would be ridiculous for me to comment on what was done to us over the past three years.

I’m sure you heard the same thing. Didn’t we all? “Trust the experts!”

Greta Thunberg lectured us at the end of April 2020: “Listen to the experts. That not only goes for the Corona crisis, but also all crises, for example, the climate crisis.”

(I like that “for example” bit, as if her selection of the “climate crisis” as an example was just a random thought she had.)

There are so many ways to respond to the “shut up because you’re a stupid rube” argument.

One is to note how badly the “experts” performed. Shockingly badly. My new book—the one our critic thinks I had no business writing—provides endless examples.

Second is to note that anyone can read a chart. If Lockdownistan itself, California, ended up with worse all-cause mortality than open Florida, that is the only thing you need to know. And you don’t need a Ph.D. to understand it. During these years a Ph.D. actually seems to have inhibited understanding.

Third is to point out that “science” per se can’t tell you whether you should impose the destructive restrictions of the past few years. Even if you knew they did some good, which of course they didn’t, you’d still be left with a value judgment: is this good outcome worth all the devastation it will cause in other areas? Nothing you’ll find in a test tube can answer a philosophical question like that, and it’s bizarre superstition to think it can.

Fourth, much of what I’m doing in this book is comparing expert predictions with actual outcomes. How is that not allowed? You mean I can’t say the experts said X would happen if we did Y, but X did not in fact happen?

They’re of course doing the same thing with “climate change” (and in plenty of other areas, too). Measures that will have profound impacts on your life are closed off to you for comment because the holy experts have spoken.

But again, let’s stipulate for the sake of argument that climate change is both real and something that human behavior can reverse in a significant way — and that is a pretty generous stipulation. Even so, there are massive costs to the various things the climate fanatics want to do, not least of which involves depriving the developing world of affordable energy, and condemning many of their people to death. Does “science” per se demand this? Of course not.

If you’d asked me as a college student whether I generally “trusted the experts,” the answer would surely have been yes. Why wouldn’t I?

In some areas I still do. I trust airline pilots and automobile mechanics, for example, among many other people who have specialized knowledge that I myself do not possess. But do I have generic “trust” in entire fields of study? Not anymore. Not after what I’ve seen. And not after academia has disgraced itself with a veritable barrage of phony and unreplicable papers and studies.

Sorry, Mr. Critic: I ain’t shutting up, and I intend to put this book in the hands of as many people as possible.

Which reminds me: it makes a great gift.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support. You guys are my secret weapon.

The link.

This article was originally sent as a newsletter and is republished with permission.

About Tom Woods

Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is the 2019 winner of the Hayek Lifetime Achievement Award from the Austrian Economics Center in Vienna. He is a senior fellow of the Mises Institute and host of the Tom Woods Show. Tom holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard and his master’s, M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Columbia University.

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