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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

If everyone knows everything

They don’t of course, but just for fun let us assume they do – everyone knows everything. Or at least, let us assume that all those with access to the internet could know anything on the web if they so wished. This doesn’t cover everything by any means but close enough for a short ramble through possibilities.

This post isn’t about climate change, but a brief observation may clarify things. Over the past few years, the lack of global warming seems to have coincided with a marked decline in the quality of official warming narratives. These days we rarely see anything but obvious drivel whereas once upon a time there were much more robust attempts to keep the narrative respectable.

Perhaps this is because everyone knows everything. Everyone who takes an interest in the climate game knows that the official catastrophe narrative is sinking. Even warmists know it. Unless global warming resumes it has become impossible to defend the narrative in a convincing manner and everyone knows why.

For any political argument there is an alternative.
For any economic argument there is an alternative.
For any social argument there is an alternative.
For any narrative there is an alternative.
For any standpoint there is an alternative.
For many scientific arguments there is an alternative.

The alternatives have always existed; the key differences are range of opinion, low cost and ease of access. Everyone knows governments are too inefficient for socialism to deliver its promises, especially those starry-eyes utopian promises which seemed so seductive only a few decades ago. You know – the ones Corbyn and his groupies profess to believe in. Similarly everyone knows there are hardly any honest politicians, no left-right dichotomy and the world is far too corrupt.

It is not a question of what you know but who you know.

Never was a dictum more true and it may become even more significant in a world where everyone knows everything. Knowledge is bound to be devalued if everyone has access to it. The value of knowledge is roughly equal to the research effort behind it and that effort has been in steep decline since the internet went mainstream. Anyone can click on a link.

Personal and family connections have always been more important than ability, but in a connected world and to an increasing degree there may be little else to set one apart. Other than a handful of geniuses and technical wizards that’s it.

A consequence of all this ease of knowing is that elites could become ever more blatant. As the peasants know everything why bother to hide venal motives behind fine words? A patchy veneer of respectability will do and that too will go in time.

5 comments:

Sam Vega said...

Yes, knowledge is no longer power. The internet means we are all squabbling in a soupy mess of half-truths, while the elite just get on with it. The age of having to justify actions be means of a convincing narrative (the "Age of Reason", in fact) is dead. It might be that the elite are banking on us thinking "I don't know the truth, but at least I've got decent bread and access to some damn fine circuses. I'll let them get on with it..."

Sackerson said...

"Talk all you like, it won't change anything." Or maybe it will be like late Soviet Russia - the lack of belief worked like dry rot...

Roger said...

I think the UK at least is dividing fast. People from Kent and people from Surrey seem quite different and I am sure differences are visible elsewhere. Then consider the starting point for the elite - good schools, good surroundings, a more sophisticated discourse, an early training in games of strategy and bluff and the firm knowledge that you are better. They are pulling away fast.

Demetrius said...

It could all depend on which browser you use.

A K Haart said...

Sam - I suppose the elite have always got on with it. That's why they are where they are. Time to check the circus schedules.

Sackers - it's the faint possibility of change which keeps us going. Elections for example.

Roger - I think they are. I even see signs of it as I walk round Derbyshire. On every walk I seem to see a new luxury house with fine views and little prospect of the hoi polloi spoiling the ambience.

Demetrius - I use several but it doesn't make much difference.