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I suspect we are currently witnessing the catastrophic end of this metaphysical power of legitimacy that has shielded the managerial ruling class for decades. Anyone even briefly familiar with the historical record knows just how much of a Pandora’s box such a loss of legitimacy represents. The signs have obviously been multiplying over many years, but it is only now that the picture is becoming clear to everyone. When Michael Gove said ”I think the people in this country have had enough of experts” in a debate about the merits of Brexit, he probably traced the contours of something much bigger than anyone really knew at the time. Back then, the acute phase of the delegitimization of the managerial class was only just beginning. Now, with Afghanistan, it is impossible to miss.
It is not just that the elite class is incompetent – even kings could be incompetent without undermining belief in monarchy as a system – it is that they are so grossly, spectacularly incompetent that they walk around among us as living rebuttals of meritocracy itself. It is that their application of managerial logic to whatever field they get their grubby mitts on – from homelessness in California to industrial policy to running a war – makes that thing ten times more expensive and a hundred times more dysfunctional. To make the situation worse, the current elites seem almost serene in their willful destruction of the very fields they rely on for legitimacy. When the ”experts” go out of their way to write public letters about how covid supposedly only infects people who hold demonstrations in support of ”structural white supremacy”, while saying that Black Lives Matter demonstrations pose no risk of spreading the virus further, this amounts to the farmer gleefully salting his own fields to make sure nothing can grow there in the future. How can anyone expect the putative peasants of our social order to ”trust the science”, when the elites themselves are going out of their way, against all reason and the tenets of basic self-preservation, to make such a belief completely impossible even for those who really, genuinely, still want to believe?