The Death Of Expertise

Author: Tom Nichols
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190469429
Size: 10.86 MB
Format: PDF
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People are now exposed to more information than ever before, provided both by technology and by increasing access to every level of education. These societal gains, however, have also helped fuel a surge in narcissistic and misguided intellectual egalitarianism that has crippled informed debates on any number of issues. Today, everyone knows everything: with only a quick trip through WebMD or Wikipedia, average citizens believe themselves to be on an equal intellectual footing with doctors and diplomats. All voices, even the most ridiculous, demand to be taken with equal seriousness, and any claim to the contrary is dismissed as undemocratic elitism. As Tom Nichols shows in The Death of Expertise, this rejection of experts has occurred for many reasons, including the openness of the internet, the emergence of a customer satisfaction model in higher education, and the transformation of the news industry into a 24-hour entertainment machine. Paradoxically, the increasingly democratic dissemination of information, rather than producing an educated public, has instead created an army of ill-informed and angry citizens who denounce intellectual achievement. Nichols has deeper concerns than the current rejection of expertise and learning, noting that when ordinary citizens believe that no one knows more than anyone else, democratic institutions themselves are in danger of falling either to populism or to technocracy-or in the worst case, a combination of both. The Death of Expertise is not only an exploration of a dangerous phenomenon but also a warning about the stability and survival of modern democracy in the Information Age.

Twilight Of The Elites

Author: Chris Hayes
Publisher: Crown
ISBN: 9780307720474
Size: 17.15 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
View: 61

A powerful and original argument that traces the roots of our present crisis of authority to an unlikely source: the meritocracy. Over the past decade, Americans watched in bafflement and rage as one institution after another – from Wall Street to Congress, the Catholic Church to corporate America, even Major League Baseball – imploded under the weight of corruption and incompetence. In the wake of the Fail Decade, Americans have historically low levels of trust in their institutions; the social contract between ordinary citizens and elites lies in tatters. How did we get here? With Twilight of the Elites, Christopher Hayes offers a radically novel answer. Since the 1960s, as the meritocracy elevated a more diverse group of men and women into power, they learned to embrace the accelerating inequality that had placed them near the very top. Their ascension heightened social distance and spawned a new American elite--one more prone to failure and corruption than any that came before it. Mixing deft political analysis, timely social commentary, and deep historical understanding, Twilight of the Elites describes how the society we have come to inhabit – utterly forgiving at the top and relentlessly punitive at the bottom – produces leaders who are out of touch with the people they have been trusted to govern. Hayes argues that the public's failure to trust the federal government, corporate America, and the media has led to a crisis of authority that threatens to engulf not just our politics but our day-to-day lives. Upending well-worn ideological and partisan categories, Hayes entirely reorients our perspective on our times. Twilight of the Elites is the defining work of social criticism for the post-bailout age.

Anti Intellectualism In American Life

Author: Richard Hofstadter
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307809674
Size: 15.10 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Winner of the 1964 Pulitzer Prize in Non-Fiction. In this award-winning classic work of consensus history, Richard Hofstadter, author of The Age of Reform, examines the role of social movements in the perception of intellect in American life. "As Mr. Hofstadter unfolds the fascinating story, it is no crude battle of eggheads and fatheads. It is a rich, complex, shifting picture of the life of the mind in a society dominated by the ideal of practical success." --Robert Peel in the Christian Science Monitor

The Knowledge Illusion

Author: Steven Sloman
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780399184345
Size: 19.21 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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“The Knowledge Illusion is filled with insights on how we should deal with our individual ignorance and collective wisdom.” —Steven Pinker We all think we know more than we actually do. Humans have built hugely complex societies and technologies, but most of us don’t even know how a pen or a toilet works. How have we achieved so much despite understanding so little? Cognitive scientists Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach argue that we survive and thrive despite our mental shortcomings because we live in a rich community of knowledge. The key to our intelligence lies in the people and things around us. We’re constantly drawing on information and expertise stored outside our heads: in our bodies, our environment, our possessions, and the community with which we interact—and usually we don’t even realize we’re doing it. The human mind is both brilliant and pathetic. We have mastered fire, created democratic institutions, stood on the moon, and sequenced our genome. And yet each of us is error prone, sometimes irrational, and often ignorant. The fundamentally communal nature of intelligence and knowledge explains why we often assume we know more than we really do, why political opinions and false beliefs are so hard to change, and why individually oriented approaches to education and management frequently fail. But our collaborative minds also enable us to do amazing things. This book contends that true genius can be found in the ways we create intelligence using the world around us.

The Ideas Industry

Author: Daniel Drezner
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190264604
Size: 20.20 MB
Format: PDF
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The concept of the "public intellectual" has a rich and colorful history. It began in the early twentieth century, when the new mass media catapulted intellectuals who were able to write for the general public to semi-stardom. The first wave included figures like Walter Lippmann - who coinedthe term "stereotype" and is widely considered the founder of media studies - and by the 1950s, public intellectuals as a species had become a powerful and influential force in the American cultural landscape. By the 1970s, the standard definition of the public intellectual had solidified: a person(often university-affiliated, but not always) able to discuss and dispute any serious issue, typically in venues like The New York Review of Books, and occasionally influence politics. The traditional definition of the public intellectual remains with us, but as Daniel W. Drezner shows in The Ideas Industry, it has been gradually supplanted by a new model in recent years: the "thought leader." In contrast to public intellectuals, thought leaders gain fame as purveyors of a singlebig idea. Also, instead of battling it out with intellectual combatants in the pages of The Partisan Review, The Public Interest, and their descendants, they often work through institutions that are closed to the public and which release information selectively. Thought leaders and their associatedideas tend to become brands - hedgehogs to the public intellectual fox. They have also proven to be quite successful, as evidenced by TED, Aspen Ideas, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the like. Furthermore, they often align with one side of a politically polarized debate and enjoy the support ofideologically friendly private funders. Drezner identifies increasing inequality as a prime mover of this shift, contending that our present-day class of plutocrats not only wants to go back to school, it wants to force "schools" - in the form of intellectuals with elite affiliations - to come tothem. And they have the money to make this happen. Drezner, however, does not see the phenomenon as necessarily negative. While there are certainly some downsides to the contemporary ideas industry, he argues that it is very good at broadcasting intellectual content widely and reaching largeaudiences of people hungry for new thinking. Both fair-minded and trenchant, The Ideas Industry will reshape our understanding of contemporary public intellectual life in America and the West.

Republic

Author: Cass R. Sunstein
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400884711
Size: 15.51 MB
Format: PDF, Docs
View: 49

From the New York Times bestselling author of Nudge and The World According to Star Wars, a revealing account of how today's Internet threatens democracy—and what can be done about it As the Internet grows more sophisticated, it is creating new threats to democracy. Social media companies such as Facebook can sort us ever more efficiently into groups of the like-minded, creating echo chambers that amplify our views. It's no accident that on some occasions, people of different political views cannot even understand each other. It's also no surprise that terrorist groups have been able to exploit social media to deadly effect. Welcome to the age of #Republic. In this revealing book, Cass Sunstein, the New York Times bestselling author of Nudge and The World According to Star Wars, shows how today's Internet is driving political fragmentation, polarization, and even extremism—and what can be done about it. Thoroughly rethinking the critical relationship between democracy and the Internet, Sunstein describes how the online world creates "cybercascades," exploits "confirmation bias," and assists "polarization entrepreneurs." And he explains why online fragmentation endangers the shared conversations, experiences, and understandings that are the lifeblood of democracy. In response, Sunstein proposes practical and legal changes to make the Internet friendlier to democratic deliberation. These changes would get us out of our information cocoons by increasing the frequency of unchosen, unplanned encounters and exposing us to people, places, things, and ideas that we would never have picked for our Twitter feed. #Republic need not be an ironic term. As Sunstein shows, it can be a rallying cry for the kind of democracy that citizens of diverse societies most need.

Trust Us We Re Experts Pa

Author: Sheldon Rampton
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101144060
Size: 18.87 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
View: 56

The authors of Toxic Sludge Is Good for You! unmask the sneaky and widespread methods industry uses to influence opinion through bogus experts, doctored data, and manufactured facts. We count on the experts. We count on them to tell us who to vote for, what to eat, how to raise our children. We watch them on TV, listen to them on the radio, read their opinions in magazine and newspaper articles and letters to the editor. We trust them to tell us what to think, because there’s too much information out there and not enough hours in a day to sort it all out. We should stop trusting them right this second. In their new book Trust Us, We’re Experts!: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles with Your Future, Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, authors of Toxic Sludge Is Good For You, offer a chilling exposé on the manufacturing of "independent experts." Public relations firms and corporations know well how to exploit your trust to get you to buy what they have to sell: Let you hear it from a neutral third party, like a professor or a pediatrician or a soccer mom or a watchdog group. The problem is, these third parties are usually anything but neutral. They have been handpicked, cultivated, and meticulously packaged in order to make you believe what they have to say—preferably in an "objective" format like a news show or a letter to the editor. And in some cases, they have been paid handsomely for their "opinions." For example: You think that nonprofit organizations just give away their stamps of approval on products? Bristol-Myers Squibb paid $600,000 to the American Heart Association for the right to display AHA’s name and logo in ads for its cholesterol-lowering drug Pravachol. SmithKline Beecham paid the American Cancer Society $1 million for the right to use its logo in ads for Beecham’s Nicoderm CQ and Nicorette anti-smoking ads. You think that a study out of a prestigious university is completely unbiased? In 1997, Georgetown University’s Credit Research Center issued a study which concluded that many debtors are using bankruptcy as an excuse to wriggle out of their obligations to creditors. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen cited the study in a Washington Times column and advocated for changes in federal law to make it harder for consumers to file for bankruptcy relief. What Bentsen failed to mention was that the Credit Research Center is funded in its entirety by credit card companies, banks, retailers, and others in the credit industry; that the study itself was produced with a $100,000 grant from VISA USA, Inc. and MasterCard International; and that Bentsen himself had been hired to work as a credit-industry lobbyist. You think that all grassroots organizations are truly grassroots? In 1993, a group called Mothers Opposing Pollution (MOP) appeared, calling itself "the largest women’s environmental group in Australia, with thousands of supporters across the country." Their cause: A campaign against plastic milk bottles. It turned out that the group’s spokesperson, Alana Maloney, was in truth a woman named Janet Rundle, the business partner of a man who did P.R. for the Association of Liquidpaperboard Carton Manufacturers—the makers of paper milk cartons. You think that if a scientist says so, it must be true? In the early 1990s, tobacco companies secretly paid thirteen scientists a total of $156,000 to write a few letters to influential medical journals. One biostatistician received $10,000 for writing a single, eight-paragraph letter that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. A cancer researcher received $20,137 for writing four letters and an opinion piece to the Lancet, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and The Wall Street Journal. Rampton and Sta...