Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Technocrats

Avik Roy, in a post on how Harvard professors are going to lead us into socialized medicine, writes:
Dranove is right to point out that most left-leaning academic health policy types don’t see themselves as ideologues, but rather as technocrats.

FLG addressed this type self-delusion when Ezra Klein brought it up a couple of months ago:
A lot of conservatives believe, I think, that their philosophical preference for small government is counterbalanced by other people's philosophical preference for big government. But that's not true: Their philosophical preference for small government is counterbalanced by other people's practical preference for larger government in certain areas where it seems to make sense.

Being a technocrat involves certain normative claims. It claims that empirical data and theories are more important than received and practical wisdom. It claims the superiority of, as the name implies, techne, although I'm loathe to use the word because of its myriad and nuanced understandings. Put simply being a technocrat is to be a type of epistemological ideologue. And, problematically for FLG, one that values the short-term over the long.

1 comment:

George Pal said...

You can meet the most interesting people at ‘empirical data and theories’ conventions.

“There is nothing more practical than a good theory,” - Leonid Brezhnev

 
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