Update on publishing elsewhere

by Yule Heibel on April 1, 2007

In my last Focus magazine article (just published in the April issue), which was all about downtown Victoria and its development issues, I argued that experts need to make room for engaged and informed non-experts. My argument was informed by Paul Graham‘s essay, The Power of the Marginal.

This afternoon, walking the dog, it occured to me that there’s a relationship between alleged expertese-ism, provincialism, and stasis. Very many people in my fair city believe that they are “experts” in any number of chosen fields: ask them about city government, about the small business climate, about sewage disposal — you will find a surprising number who make a convincing case for having everything figured out. Sometimes there’s no shifting them: they know!, you see, and you’re foolish to think that anything other than what they have sketched out might be possible.

They are the sorts of “experts” who are really nothing more than upholders of the status quo. They are invested in maintaining the status quo, because it is the latter that they have figured out and become “expert” in. If anyone actually were to change things — change the status quo — they would feel the ground shift underfoot as surely as if an 8.5 earthquake had hit southern Vancouver Island. And so they need to maintain the status quo: to prevent that earthquake of change …changing their world. They know!, you see.

But it’s probably best not to listen to them anymore. Sometimes the earth moves in a positively delightful way, which they, clinging to negativity and “expertise,” fail to notice.

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