07/14/21

Looking at Josh Hammer’s Opinion Piece (2021) “…Experts” (Part 3 of 4)

0012 From the prior blog, I construct the following Greimas square.

0013 Each word is a placeholder in a system of differences.  Clearly, the word, “expert”, is not the same as the word, “bureaucrat”.  But, the words are entangled, and therefore, the distinction is subject to manipulation.

0014 What are the key relational features of this distinction?

0015 The first contrast involves rules (A:B contrast in 1 and 2).

The expert knows the rules.  The expert does not make the rules.  The expert is rule-bound.

The bureaucrat makes and enforces rules. The bureaucrat is rule-following.

Hammer reinforces this contrast by saying that the vast majority of rules governing the everyday lives of Americans are made behind closed doors, by federal bureaucrats.  This governance fulfills the vision of progressive President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924, President 1913-1921).  The administrative state has grown for over a century.

0016 The second pair of contradictions (A2 to B1 and B2 to A1) involves performance and discourse.

Expert discourse is bound to subject-matter.  The expert knows the rules of the subject-matter.  Personal and organizational circumstances are not supposed to influence the expert’s advice.  The expert is supposed to be objective (and, ideally, suprasubjective).

Administrative discourse is bound to rule-making and rule-enforcing.  The bureaucrat engages in ministerial operations.  Bureaucrats tend to be subjective, while pretending to be objective, and intersubjective, while feigning to be suprasubjective.  Hammer highlights these points by saying that bureaucrats disdain give-and-take political wranglingand prefer the ministrations of an enlightened clerisy.

0017 What does this imply?

The use of the word, “expert”, by the federal government, for a person in its employ, is misleading.

The word, “bureaucrat”, is not misleading.

0018 Does the slogan, “Trust the experts”, sound as convincing as “Trust the bureaucrats.”?

Here is a good example of deception through the manipulative use of spoken words.

07/13/21

Looking at Josh Hammer’s Opinion Piece (2021) “…Experts” (Part 2 of 4)

0005 First, I ask the question, “How does the term, ‘expert’, distinguish itself in spoken language, defined by Ferdinand de Saussure as two arbitrarily related systems of differences?”

Or, more briefly, how does the spoken word, “expert”, hold a place in a finite system of differences?

0006 An answer: The word, “expert”, has a unique Greimas Square, a configuration of four elements (A1, B1, A2 and B2).  Each element forms a corner in a square.

Here is a picture.

0007 Here are the rules: A1 is the focal word.  B1 contrasts with A1.  A2 contradicts B1 and complements A1.  B2 contrasts with A2, contradicts A1 and complements B1.

0008 The term, “expert” goes into A1.

What contrasts with A1?

How about the word, “bureaucrat”?

“Bureaucrat” goes into B1.

0009 What contradicts the bureaucrat?

Expert discourse focuses on the subject-matter and does not take into account other issues.  Subject-matter discourse (A2) is content-oriented.

0010 What contrasts with subject-matter discourse (A2)?

Administrative, rule-making discourse does (B2).

0011 In the next blog, I show the diagram.