A Plague of 'Credentialed' Experts

(Image Credit: Sarah Hoyt)

Someday 2020 will be behind us, and we’ll tell our kids and grandkids about the year we were smitten by the plague.

By which I don’t mean COVID-19, which is at best a nasty disease with death tolls the equivalent of a bad flu year – if we accept the numbers we’re being fed by an establishment desperate to cash in on the cash bonus for each COVID-19 diagnosis – but the plague that has laid this country low, destroyed our economy and brought us to a place that no external enemy could have brought: this plague of experts. Or perhaps I should say “experts” since most of them have behind them only a long string of failed prognostications, followed by promotion within the “civil servant” echelons.


Yes, I am talking about Doctors Birx and Fauci. I’m already seeing people pointing fingers at the president and complaining that he’s relied too much on these “experts.”

In fact, some months ago I saw people complaining in the comments at one of the conservative sites that the president hires “establishment” people which he then has to fire. Why can’t he hire the people who will be good and not beholden to the – largely left – political establishment?

Which brings us to the real plague of experts.

Sure, what happened in 2020 and taking our economy down to protect us from what will emerge in retrospect as a not particularly lethal illness is a problem.

If we survive – we’ll survive, right – and there is still a Republic at the end of this, we’ll need to talk about the plague of experts as a systemic problem.

You see, just like COVID-19 is a virus similar to those that cause the common cold, this overreaction to COVID-19 bears a strong resemblance to “expert-directed” faux pas in everything from aviation to business to healthcare to, yes, politics.

In the early 21st century – largely because of a hyper-litigious society, in which everyone and anyone might sue you for discrimination – we’re faced with the inability to judge merit or competency.

Because you cannot simply test someone and see if they can do the job – if you do that, and you happen to hire more men than women, or you fail to hire the population-representing numbers of some minority – you have to rely on what we’ll call, for lack of a better term, “credential factories.”


The problem is that the credential factories are not very good because they also can’t test anyone, but must rely on externally quantifiable proofs of merit.

It used to be that a high school diploma was worth something, but more and more all it means is that you’ve spent 12 years warming various desks and have failed to do something so heinous as to get expelled.

So, we moved on to a college degree as a credential, which is why you find ads for the most ridiculous things requiring a bachelor’s degree.

As someone who has taught bonehead English 101 to college freshmen, let me disabuse you of the impression that the majority of them enter college capable of writing a simple sentence or expressing the most straightforward of meanings.

But it gets worse. Because instructors are evaluated by their students, you can’t – unless you have tenure – fail everyone that needs failing. So you pass them on ahead, to be someone else’s problem.

Which means – I suspect – that these days there’s little hope that someone with a bachelor’s degree in anything will be able to express himself in writing in a way that would have satisfied an early 20th-century elementary school teacher.

If the problem were only with our education, it would be bad enough, though the U.S. still has – thank heavens – the ability for citizens to educate themselves if they so choose. There are enough courses online, and various courses of study from serious to frivolous, where you can learn what the schools failed to teach you.


But unfortunately, this problem, of substituting the credential for the competence, is everywhere.

In medicine, for instance, doctors are told to practice “evidence-based medicine.” Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Except that it’s not really “evidence-based.” It is “studies based,” i.e. your clinical practice has to conform with whatever the latest studies dictate. The problem is that most of these “studies” are weak and done to a predestined result, and are, frankly, irreproducible.

However, once they are published they are considered “evidence” which must be followed in treating illness. This is, just in case you wondered, why for so long we were told we should be eating all carbs all the time and that this is what would make us slim.

Unfortunately, this applies to practically everything.

This ridiculous nonsense is why we have people banning straws, when most of the plastic waste in the world comes from China. Or why we have a generation of kids shaking in their boots because they’ve been told (and shown pretty models “proving”) that in twelve years the Earth will burn up.

And it is why Trump can’t find anyone to hire with the right credentials – and you know if they don’t have the right credentials he’ll be crucified for it – who isn’t corrupted by a system in which you collect tokens by being a good little boy or girl and parroting back/behaving in the right way. Which, in point of fact, in most establishments, from scientific to political, means the left way.


Sure, there is still merit out there, but considering how hard the establishment punishes non-conformity, Trump would have to search for people with some very strange credentials indeed.

I would like to say that we’ve been inoculated to this nonsense after this most ridiculous shutting down of the economy on the word of experts who were probably themselves not badly intentioned so much as trying to look at the work of other credentialed experts, like those at the Imperial College of London, say.

But we probably haven’t.

Just like a virus takes over a healthy cell, eviscerates it, and turns into a factory to create more viruses, so the plague of experts has taken over all our systems of science, education and even the arts, and turned them into factories to turn out more phony “experts.”

We have a disease, and unless we let in sunlight to illuminate the problem, Western civilization will die of it.

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