I don’t lightly reject expert opinion. Expertise is real, though not infallible.
On science, I have found it very reliable. Much better than ‘common-sense’ views, when these differ. Our ‘common-sense’ is based on living in an exceptional place: a bubble of liquid water and free oxygen that has been so for hundreds of millions of years. There are definitely no other such places nearer than the Alpha Centauri system, and whether its candidate planet would be fit for human life remains speculative.
Gravity to hold you down plus a solid surface and resistant air to slow you down are also rare conditions, if much more common than habitable worlds. But also the conditions we live with, so that Aristotle and others assumed that nothing could move without something to push it – or else nothing except God as the Unmoved Mover. It took the genius of Newton to realise that in space, there is usually nothing to slow you down. That an object could remain in a state of uniform motion if no other force acted upon it. And that exactly the same force could govern an apple that fell and a moon that orbited.
Newton did not discover gravity: every toddler learns how it works for us. Claims for pre-Newton discoverers are wrong, as I blogged in an account called Nobody Discovered Gravity. Nor did Einstein show up Newton as wrong. Instead he made the startling and correct assertion that time could be slowed by gravity, accounting for previously baffling errors in predicting the orbit of Mercury.
When science changes its views, it almost always moves even further from common-sense. Thus the stars are far from eternal, and those now close to us will be distant in a million years’ time. We also live in a fairly quiet era in a relatively orderly galaxy
I trust science. If I put forward ideas of my own, I also give the standard view and make it clear that any extra ideas I’ve had are speculative and very possibly wrong.
But on the major movements of the world’s politics and economics, I have often found myself closer to the truth than the people paid to supposedly understand it.
And also paid to flatter the rich.
And with their minds soaked in some version of liberalism, which I see as something much less than the whole truth. Mistaking ‘liberalism’ for ‘niceness’, when niceness is often a camouflage for ruthless and greedy policies by liberal politicians. And where functional niceness often means harshness to offenders.
With a different world-view, learned from others in what is now the Ernest Bevin Society, I have often seen more than the mainstream pundits.
In 1987, I said that riots by Black Britons were not something that doomed the existing order. They were merely a demand to be recognised as Black Britons. Reformist riots.
In 1989, I predicted that the Chinese Communist Party was still strong and might keep power for decades. And observed that Mao remained popular even with the protestors, so that I was not at all surprised when the party leaders reasserted his merits after a temporary low.
I also failed to realise at the time how much was still healthy in China. I saw it later. Knew that it was a fight for survival, and one justified by the later suffering of Russia after it confidently surrendered to Western values.
In 1991, during the anti-Gorbachev coup, I watched live pictures and saw that the authorities were not ready to use violence against crowds of protestors. This was contrary to what ‘expert opinion’ was saying as a commentary on those pictures. No written record, but I had always expected Gorbachev to fail, though not as badly as he did.
I failed for several years to see what a mess Yeltsin was making: others in the Bevin Society saw better. I did see it in time to see Putin’s revival of Russia as a natural product of Western incompetence and greed.
Also the incompetence and greed of the entire anti-Iraq campaign. I was certain that Iraq could only be ruled by someone just as brutal as Saddam. But Western leaders managed to fall below my already-low expectations, summoning up an extremist Islam that had been marginal.
I did have some notion of the future importance of Muqtada al-Sadr. And specifically rejected what I saw as an attempt to frame him for the killing of a pro-Western cleric.
Most years I insisted that China would go on succeeding. And decided that all current Western writing on it was biased by believing in New Right delusions, even when there was a yearning to be leftist.
I also saw Xi’s increasing power as a sensible reaction to growing Western hostility.
I warned Syria’s pro-Western protestors that they were too weak to win, and foolish not to see if Assad was sincere in his offers to compromise.
I warned Hong Kong’s protestors that they were doomed, having seen the occasional Western press report that admitted that hardly anyone in Mainland China sympathised.
I saw China’s reaction to Covid-19 as correct. I continuously complained at the West’s slowness to react.
Back in 1990, I saw the Poll Tax Riots as futile. Asocial Rioters who wanted things fixed by other people at no cost to themselves.
Through the 1990s, I was doing a detailed study of Adam Smith, finding many of his claims to be phoney. This was published in 2000 as Adam Smith: Wealth Without Nations, and no one wanted to know. It happens to be the only major left-wing criticism of Adam Smith available in English: probably the only one in any language. But it has so far been completely ignored by those it would be useful to.
In the year 2000, I warned that the notion of the internet being immune to authoritarian governments was foolish, and appallingly bad advice to give to dissidents you might approve of. (The Web Is always insecure.)
Just recently, I’ve been saying that we now have something worse than Climate Change: it can only be called Climate Chaos,
Knowing history, I’m aware that new ideas mostly take time to get recognised. And the first inventor does not always get credited. Still, the world does gradually change and improve.
This is an item in a longer study: Problems 44 – Coolhearts in a Sickening World.
Click to get the whole magazine as a free PDF.
 https://gwydionwilliams.com/newsnotes-historic/newsnotes-to-2009/2004-newsnotes/newsnotes-2004-08/#_Toc417151287 for instance. Also https://gwydionwilliams.com/newsnotes-historic/newsnotes-to-2009/2007-newsnotes/newsnotes-2007-02/#_Toc417754249 and https://gwydionwilliams.com/newsnotes-historic/newsnotes-to-2009/2007-newsnotes/newsnotes-2007-05/#_Toc417756071.
 https://gwydionwilliams.com/newsnotes-historic/2012-newsnotes/newsnotes-2012-12/#_Toc419220658, https://gwydionwilliams.com/newsnotes-historic/2015-newsnotes/newsnotes-2015-10/#_Toc431750247, https://www.quora.com/Is-Assad-evil-Why-or-why-not/answer/Gwydion-Madawc-Williams,
 https://www.quora.com/q/mrgwydionmwilliams/Hong-Kong-Committing-Suicide, also https://www.quora.com/q/mrgwydionmwilliams/Hong-Kong-Opposition-No-Longer-Tolerated
 https://www.quora.com/q/mrgwydionmwilliams/Instant-Panic-Tory-U-turns-over-Covid-19, https://www.quora.com/q/mrgwydionmwilliams/I-m-Too-Macho-For-That-Virus, https://www.quora.com/q/mrgwydionmwilliams/Trump-and-the-WHO-the-Buck-Stops-Anywhere-But-With-Me, https://www.quora.com/q/mrgwydionmwilliams/Fear-of-Covid-19, https://www.quora.com/q/mrgwydionmwilliams/Rumours-Information-and-Covid-19, https://www.quora.com/q/mrgwydionmwilliams/China-Viruses-Covid-19-and-Wuhan-400.