The Intelligentsia Uncover Themselves
An interesting insight into the world of the Ivory Tower:
MIT researchers ‘infiltrated’ a Covid skeptics community a few months ago and found that skeptics place a high premium on data analysis and empiricism.
“Most fundamentally, the groups we studied believe that science is a process, and not an institution.”
“Indeed, anti-maskers often reveal themselves to be more sophisticated in their understanding of how scientific knowledge is socially constructed than their ideological adversaries, who espouse naïve realism about the “objective” truth of public health data.”
“In other words, anti-maskers value unmediated access to information and privilege personal research and direct reading over “expert” interpretations.”
“Its members value individual initiative and ingenuity, trusting scientific analysis only insofar as they can replicate it themselves by accessing and manipulating the data firsthand.”
“They are highly reflexive about the inherently biased nature of any analysis, and resent what they view as the arrogant self-righteousness of scientific elites.”
“Many of the users believe that the most important metrics are missing from government-released data.”
“One user wrote: ‘Coding data is a big deal—and those definitions should be offered transparently by every state. Without a national guideline—we are left with this mess’.”
“The lack of transparency within these data collection systems—which many of these users infer as a lack of honesty—erodes these users’ trust within both government institutions and the datasets they release.”
“In fact, there are multiple threads every week where users debate how representative the data are of the population given the increased rate of testing across many states.”
“These groups argue that the conflation of asymptomatic and symptomatic cases therefore makes it difficult for anyone to actually determine the severity of the pandemic.”
“For these anti-mask users, their approach to the pandemic is grounded in more scientific rigor, not less.”
“These individuals as a whole are extremely willing to help others who have trouble interpreting graphs with multiple forms of clarification: by helping people find the original sources so that they can replicate the analysis themselves, by referencing other reputable studies… that come to the same conclusions, by reminding others to remain vigilant about the limitations of the data, and by answering questions about the implications of a specific graph.”
“While these groups highly value scientific expertise, they also see collective analysis of data as a way to bring communities together within a time of crisis, and being able to transparently and dispassionately analyze the data is crucial for democratic governance.”
“In fact, the explicit motivation for many of these followers is to find information so that they can make the best decisions for their families—and by extension, for the communities around them.”
“The message that runs through these threads is unequivocal: that data is the only way to set fear-bound politicians straight, and using better data is a surefire way towards creating a safer community.”
“Data literacy is a quintessential criterion for membership within the community they have created.”
“Arguing anti-maskers need more scientific literacy is to characterize their approach as uninformed & inexplicably extreme. This study shows the opposite: they are deeply invested in forms of critique & knowledge production they recognize as markers of scientific expertise”
“We argue that anti-maskers’ deep story draws from similar wells of resentment, but adds a particular emphasis on the usurpation of scientific knowledge by a paternalistic, condescending elite that expects intellectual subservience rather than critical thinking from the public.” And yet in the conclusion they lament “the skeptical impulse that the ‘science simply isn’t settled,’ prompting people to simply ‘think for themselves” to horrifying ends.”
They then compare it to the January 6 Capitol riot.
Bizarre and fascinating document.
Well worth the full read, if you’re trying to understand how a member of the intelligentsia thinks. They can literally be getting hit in the face with the answer and still not figure it out.
When considering the four centralizer groups:
- Politburo (political)
- Cultural markers (cultural)
- Isolated class (financial)
- Intelligentsia (intellectual)
It’s ironic, but the intelligentsia is generally the most moronic out of the four groups. While being the most educated and most institutional, they are also the most blind from obvious reality. Being sheltered in their tower, they often do not have to face the reality below except through complicated and flawed models. Whereas the other centralizer groups interact with, and attempt to alter, reality on a continual basis.
If you look at any revolution in history, the intelligentsia often support them. They then summarily get slaughtered after it is completed (a few examples being the October revolution, rise of Hitlerism in Germany, and the cultural revolution of Maoism). The intelligentsia supported each of these events, even up to their own execution from the result of them. Many thought they would be excluded from the wrath because they were the ‘good’ men of words. But they rarely are. The men of action rarely take pity on the men of words, especially blind ones. Regardless of the flag they carry.
Lenin, for example, had this to say about the very same intelligentsia that was championing the communist cause:
The intellectual forces of the workers and peasants are growing and gaining strength in the struggle to overthrow the bourgeoisie and its henchmen, the intellectual lackeys of capital, who imagine they are the brains of the nation. Actually, they are not the brains, but sh—
He went on to shoot them all after being victorious. Then, the leftist media in the West also fell in love with him. Ironic, no?
Do not mistake credentialing and education for wisdom or foresight. Many are malicious, but the other three centralizer groups are far more so. They are also far more controlling over the intelligentsia.
The intelligentsia are the beating bag of all three, even to the grand finale when they all get walked off the plank.
Partly sad, but mostly just hilarious.