The Washington Post reported in mid-December that Obama and scientists had taken a hit in a recent poll:
There's also rising public doubt and growing political polarization about what scientists have to say on the environment, and a widespread perception that there is a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether global warming is happening.In early January, Eric S. Raymond identified this phenomenon as the collapse of elite authority:
In yesterday's New York Times, David Brooks wrote perceptively about the burgeoning populist revolt against the “educated classes”. Brooks was promptly slapped around by various blogosphere essayists such as Will Collier, who noted that Brooks’s column reads like a weaselly apologia for the dismal failures of the “educated classes” in the last couple of decades.The short answer is that they fail because they commit what Friedrich von Hayek called the fatal conceit:
Our “educated classes” cannot bring themselves to come to grips with the fact that fundamentalist Islam has proclaimed war on us. They have run the economy onto recessionary rocks with overly-clever financial speculation and ham-handed political interventions, and run up a government deficit of a magnitude that has never historically resulted in consequences less disastrous than hyperinflation. And I’m not taking conventional political sides when I say these things; Republicans have been scarcely less guilty than Democrats.
In the first month of a new decade, unemployment among young Americans has cracked 52% and we’re being officially urged to believe that an Islamic suicide bomber trained by Al-Qaeda in Yemen was an “isolated extremist”.
One shakes one’s head in disbelief. Is there anything our “educated classes” can’t f*ck up, any reality they won’t deny? Will Collier fails, however to ask the next question: why did they fail?
The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.