Earlier this year, I described how the modern political left has largely been annexed by authoritarians, with those who would have been considered left wing not that long ago exiled from their political home and outcast as “extremists”.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that authoritarians constantly rely on a logical fallacy known as the appeal to authority.
THE APPEAL TO AUTHORITY
According to this fallacy, relevance relies on qualifications and standing within certain entities; the merits of their argument be damned! Its reliance on authority saw a particular renaissance during the depths of the Covid tyranny.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a fallible human, was deified – considered incapable of wrong. The mere fact that Fauci made a pronouncement was sufficient reason to strip millions of their autonomy and liberty. No need to get caught up in the triviality of whether that claim was factual. Many other politicians and bureaucrats around the world were similarly granted God-like status.
Meaningful public discourse is reserved only for those properly authorised.
‘But you’re not an epidemiologist’ became the mantra of the cult of authority. The simpletons dare not question the holy doctrine of Anthony Fauci and his cadre; they are not qualified!
THE REAL EPIDEMIC
It doesn’t take much to realise this insidious logical fallacy is prevalent in nearly all areas of modern cultural and political debate.
Don’t question climate change, ‘you’re not a scientist!’
Don’t question the education system, ‘you’re not a teacher!’
Don’t question the Bible, ‘you’re not a Christian!’
The few contrarians are either excluded or have their qualifications either discounted or stripped from them.
It is so prevalent that merely being part of a certain class entitles you to greater input in debate: ‘how dare you discuss abortion, you’re not a woman!’ Indeed, the concept of the Voice to Parliament is predicated on the fallacy that only indigenous people are qualified to discuss indigenous issues.
Public policy development, when done properly, requires balancing various multi-disciplinary analyses based on the merit and relevance of each. We do not restrict discussions on road policy exclusively to motor mechanics. While the input of a mechanic may be useful, it would be short sighted to solely rely on it.
However, when it comes to contentious and important issues, we take a single-minded approach. For the past three years, the “success” of the Covid response was measured by one metric alone: Covid deaths. Liberty, the economy and all-cause mortality be damned: if the number of deaths in the headlines was lower than yesterday’s number, it was a win!
Politicians and bureaucrats around the world were similarly granted God-like status.
Forget about how many people died because they were turned away from routine medical appointments. ‘How dare you question the epidemiologists!’
When economists warn of the serious consequences from prolonged lockdowns, the response is: ‘They’re not epidemiologists!’
Don’t question whether subjecting free citizens to extensive home detention could possibly lead to increased mental health issues. #DonutDay!
THE FOREVER BUREAU
Every consensus opinion began as a fringe viewpoint, often propagated by a contrarian in their field – sometimes even an outsider. The insidious aspect about the appeal to authority is that it prevents this from happening, leaving us locked in perpetual status quo, much to the delight of the establishment.
The few contrarians are either excluded or have their qualifications either discounted or stripped from them. Dr. Robert Malone, often credited as being the inventor of mRNA technology, was silenced and discredited. The authoritarians said: ‘he’s not a real doctor.’ Dr. Jordan Peterson was sanctioned by the College of Psychologists for venturing outside the authorised script on gender issues.
… authoritarians constantly rely on a logical fallacy known as the appeal to authority
When you apply this logical fallacy, the merits of argument, empirical evidence and even your own personal experience becomes irrelevant. People would sooner question their own eyes than the musings of some two-bit bureaucrat. Shove someone in front of a camera and put the title ‘expert’ in the chyron and they are suddenly incapable of error.
Nothing changes. Innovation dies. Society stagnates. Dissidents are silenced. The marketplace of ideas is shut down. Meaningful public discourse is reserved only for those properly authorised. Which flavour of tyranny shall it be today? Red tyranny or blue tyranny?
Anybody is qualified to debate any topic and the value of their input must be determined by the points they raised, not the honorifics after their name.
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While always avidly following politics and culture, James Hol was not politically active until the overreaction to COVID. In a matter of months, James gained invaluable insight into all levels of government, being heavily involved in Federal, state and local election campaigns.