David Garcia on Wed, 21 Aug 2019 00:38:26 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> From Meat Loaf to Penalty Shoot Outs

John Preston wrote

> I fail to see how anyone can say anything with certainty, nobody seems
> to quote any models or statistics (that's not a dig about the discussion
> on this thread, it's a general vent about the nature of all discussion
> around Brexit).

It is not only that no one knows anything with certainty, no one (with regard
to Brexit ) knows anything at all. Presenting more stats and facts will change 
nothing and shift no ones opinion. People have given up quoting evidence 
and statistics because the role of evidence in public life is no longer clear and
so has little or no traction.

Once in government politicians no longer feel they need to submit themselves
to questioning or scrutiny. The mantra of every news transmission has become 
“we asked the ministry for somone to answer these questions but no one is available".
Private Yotube channels have taken the place of serious discussion and the 
probing interview. 

The Brexit Party has even refused to put out a manifesto claiming that they were
only ever packed with lies. At a stroke Farage dispensed with the principal instrument for
evaluating claims and promises in search of contradictions and error as parties seek 
public support. In place of knowledge the new populists prefer instinct and the leader’s 
charisma to be the basis for public judgement. The secure position of authority once 
enjoyed by experts has fallen by the way-side. This expertocracy used to be the basis 
for manufacturing consent and we were rightly suspiscious of this regime and its 
role in marking the line between legitimate and illigitimate knowledge.

The traditional role of evidence and expertise in public discourse has gone. It cannot 
be regained in its old form, normal service will not be resumed, the genie is out of the bottle, 
the horse has bolted the cat is out of the bag.. knowledge, evidence, facts, experts and 
expertise will have to find a new and less arrogant relationship to the publics that arise 
when problems cannot be solved by normal political means. More spread sheets, models 
and statistics or expert commentary will not help us.

David Garcia


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