Saturday, May 12, 2012

Amateur Hour Is Us

I remember reading that a professional is someone who thinks that if something is worth doing it s worth doing well; an amateur is someone who thinks that if something is worth doing, it's worth doing poorly.

Eric Liu seems to disagree From this post at The Atlantic:
There's something very American about such a volunteer body. We celebrate the "citizen scientist" or "citizen diplomat" or "citizen soldier" on the idea that while the job -- scientist, diplomat, soldier -- requires professional expertise, amateurs who care can also step in and contribute. Indeed, this is something of a golden age for amateurs. With big data and social media amplifying their wisdom, crowds of amateurs are remaking astronomy, finance, biochemistry and other fields.
But not so much the field called democracy. The work of democratic life --solving shared problems, shaping plans, pushing for change, making grievances heard -- has become ever more professionalized over the last generation. Money has gained outsize and self-compounding power in elections. A welter of lobbyists, regulators, consultants, bankrollers, wonks-for-hire, and "smart-ALECs" has crowded amateurs out of the daily work of self-government at every level. Bodies like the library board are the exception.

1 comment:

D.E. Bishop said...

Very thoughtful! I hadn't considered the "professionalization" of politics and politicians of all stripes.

I wish you were inaccurate about this. It's not good news.