Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Anarchists for the White Coat Priesthood?

Deference to credentialed and experienced experts is generally a good plan barring compelling evidence to the contrary, but “experts” are not divine oracles, and science and medicine can become corrupted, abusive, or incompetent as much as any other kind of institution.

One thing that I have found interesting in this COVID-19 situation is the way that different political and cultural factions have responded based on their respective biases. The Left has generally been deferent to government authority and the authority of “experts,” and supportive of workers that have gone on strike in protest against hazardous conditions. The Right has generally been suspicious of the lockdown, less trustful of “experts,” less supportive of strikers but more supportive of anti-lockdown protestors. The Right thinks the way out of the present economic mess is to open the economy as soon as possible while the Left is more likely to call for UBIs and extending unemployment benefits. The Left has called for reducing the prison population to combat the pandemic but criticized restrictions on international travel, while the Right has praised travel restrictions but attacked prisoner release plans.

As usual, these biases seem to be more reflexive and tribal than rational. Public health, worker safety, mass unemployment, business failures, government overreach, blundering politicians, the fallibility of “experts,” rent and debt liabilities, and transportation systems and systems of incarceration as conduits for the spread of the virus are all genuine areas of concern for reasonable people.

Image may contain: 2 people, possible text that says '"Does it follow that reject all authority? Perish the thought. লக las In the matter of (pandemics], defer to the authority of the [epidemiologist]." -Mikhail Bakunin, paraphrase'

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