1. NoahpinionNoah Smith3/28/2111 min
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    • danielw3 years ago

      Love this.

      Which brings me to the reason experts should be more reluctant to lie to the public: They aren’t experts on the topic of when to lie.

      Just because you know about biology or public health doesn’t mean you know whether publicly admitting that masks work will make people hoard them. And just because you know about economics doesn’t mean you understand politics and public opinion formation. When experts make guesses about whether the public can handle the truth, they aren’t acting as experts; they’re acting as amateurs. They’re winging it.

    • justinzealand3 years ago

      Lying to the public makes room for the current environment of factless conspiracy theories. Facts matter and need to be regarded as truth. Experts should never lie to the public, less they make facts arguable

    • SEnkey3 years ago

      I appreciated the work in explaining why experts might deceive - but an explanation is not an excuse. The last paragraph is dead wrong (in my opinion) - experts should not view themselves as parents, they should always tell the truth. If a public official is lying - I don't want to in any way excuse that practice.

      I've seen this a lot with emergency response situations, after hurricanes/tornadoes/wild fires. Some public officials or experts don't trust us with the truth. But my experience has been that when given good information most people make good choices -they may not be what the 'experts' want. But we are way more reasonable than they think.

      Imagine if they had just told the truth last year. Masks are good, cloth masks are effective but please try to reserve N95s for first responders and health care workers. I would've started wearing a mask much sooner and I wouldn't have bought a N-95 most people.

      • jeff3 years ago

        I agree 100%! That last paragraph was very strange considering everything that preceded it. Almost felt like the conclusion to a different article or something.

      • marius3 years ago

        Yes, I agree with you. Right now a movement is starting in Germany and EU to add the truth as a fundamental right which I fully support:

        • SEnkey3 years ago

          Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    • kellyalysia
      3 years ago

      I was just having this conversation with a friend. My question was about how absurd it is the way people are being communicated to about the way in which being vaccinated from Covid prevents community spread (first: “we don’t know” - of course we knew; and now: “probably helps but still wear a mask in public” - and probably by summer “vaccines prevent community spread” which of course they knew all along). My friends argument was that is just the message right now “but that I see thru it” and that if the CDC told vaccinated people they can go ahead and stop wearing masks, that this would create a shitstorm where everyone stops wearing them bc “money see monkey do” - and my POV is that’s incredibly sad to work with the assumption that people are not more caring, cautious and aware. But when we feed people lies, awareness just translates to unfounded anxiety.

    • marius3 years ago

      "You should realize that yes, experts will sometimes lie to you. But (with a few exceptions) they usually don’t do this out of lack of concern for your own welfare. Instead, they do it out of lack of regard for your truth-handling abilities. You’re probably not being punked; you’re being babied. So if and when you go fact-checking the experts’ recommendations, remember that they probably do have their assessment of your own best interests in mind. Think of them as an overprotective parent, not as an enemy."