The tyranny of neutral expertise

Scientism and the cult of the expert are fundamental features of contemporary liberalism.

Liberalism intends to abolish oppression. Since oppression includes all subjection to the arbitrary will of another, liberalism attempts to base government action not on will, or on particular personal understandings of the good, but on what the situation objectively requires as determined by a rational and impersonal public process—in other words, by trained and credentialed expertise. Further, the liberal understanding of oppression expands, in accordance with its tendency toward abstraction and universality, to include all personal and social inequalities, however informal or even natural. Abolition of oppression therefore comes to require comprehensive control of all social relations, which again must be passed off as the impersonal rational requirement of technical considerations and of human rights, both as determined by experts insulated from political pressure.

The ultimate consequence is that liberal societies tend to become despotisms comprehensively controlled by elites responsible only to their own understanding of what needs to be done. The ruling elites of course deny that anything of the sort is going on, since doing otherwise would destroy the basis of their claim to rightful authority—the prevention of oppression.

2 thoughts on “The tyranny of neutral expertise”

  1. The Failure of Scientism
    Love Your Site!

    Science cannot cure all ills because it cannot impart values, which are prior to inquiry. In fact, values provide one with the framework to even determine what inquiry is meaningful. Our cultural ailments are spiritual, not the imperfection in the technocratic means of supplying all (nominal) citizens with perpetual orgasm, or endless debt financed sprees at Forever 21 using the M2 spigot and the Overnight Lending Rate. In my opinion the most obvious sign of cultural decay (which at base means religious decay) is not that we are engaging in fierce debate over fundamental moral issues, but that the question of values itself is considered not merely passe, but also subversive by so many with influence -undue influence. Your other commentor is correct. Scientism certainly is idolatry, and its god is the technochratic state. So advanced, I might add, that it outstrips the wildest dreams of the Benthamites.

    Hope you’ll visit us at, even though we’re protestants. There are some common threads we should explore.

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