Barton Swaim recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal that, “The great theme of the Trump years, the one historians will note a century from now, was the failure of America’s expert class. The people who were supposed to know what they were talking about, didn’t.”
Swaim gives several examples, all of which are sharply political at this moment in time. Regardless of those particulars, and our current American ultra-emotional divisiveness aside, I think the fundamental prediction is absolutely, over-the-top-brilliant, and correct. (It is a prediction about the notations of historians a century into the future, so my bet about it is admittedly cheap. I’ll only pay or collect if I’m around in a hundred years....)
According to my neighbors and even my own family, I have two serious social failings, summarized under hate and fear: I don’t hate Trump enough, and I don’t fear Covid enough. I’m absolutely not bringing up Swaim’s opinion piece here to inspire any such continuing arguments.
Years ago I wrote about the dangers from catastrophic failures of confidence in authority, and how psychiatry contributes to that risk, as a “sub-prime crisis waiting to happen.” The “experts” who have failed more than any others are those in the mental health field! They are in a class by themselves, both because no other experts really have direct legal powers to force other people to comply with their prescriptions and believe in their opinions, and because their record of failure is far more sustained. When media pollsters or WHO and CDC advisors give advice, they at least have to rely on political leaders or government agencies to enforce it.
The epidemiology of illiteracy, substance abuse, family dysfunction, criminality, racism, mental disorder, depression and anxiety, shows a much longer record of failure than just the last couple of election cycles. It goes back more than half a century. These are problems to which our supposed mental health expert class should have attended with some success, if their vaunted brain science and behavioral knowledge had been real. The government-supported guild of forensic psychiatrists, psychologists and other assorted “professionals” has only tried, more and more desperately, to convince the public that they know what they’re talking about. They don’t.
James Corcoran, Richard Malis, Syed Hussain and Robert Sobut receive their salaries and benefits and pensions from the pockets of taxpayers. It’s a ripoff. These guys do and produce NOTHING in exchange, except dehumanization of individuals in their custody or their employ. They only create profound animosity and cynicism, and ruinous disability.
We pay them for that! We should stop, and we should collect restitution.