The Death of Expertise with Tom Nichols
Air Dates: January 20-26, 2020
In a meeting on Capitol Hill 15 years ago, a respected foreign policy analyst said that most national security assessments out of Washington ignored the elephant in the room: the United States and the impact of our domestic politics on the state of the world. While Tom Nichols wasn’t in the room that day, he brings a rigorous analytical mind steeped in national security to his analysis of the world around us.
Nichols is a U.S. Naval War College University Professor, and an adjunct professor at both the U.S. Air Force School of Strategic Force Studies and the Harvard Extension School. He specializes in Russian affairs, nuclear strategy, NATO issues, and is a nationally-known commentator on U.S. politics and national security. Nichols was a staff member in the United States Senate, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Harvard Kennedy School, and previously taught at Dartmouth, La Salle University, and Georgetown. He is also a five-time undefeated ‘Jeopardy!’ champion, and was noted in the ‘Jeopardy!’ Hall of Fame after his 1994 appearances as one of the all-time best players of the game. Nichols is the author of “The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters.”
On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Nichols describes the rise of anti-expertise sentiments which he credits with today’s unparalleled access to information. He says that while technology has helped facilitate global peace through greater connectedness, it has also “flooded us with cheap, easy information that actually confirms us in our biases [and] makes us lazy in seeking better information.” Nichols says the internet is structured to reward instantaneous opinions, which he adds, “indulges a certain amount of narcissism.”
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