Arguing from authority
A quick addendum to yesterday’s post: I think Russell Scott Valentino is unfair to Masha Gessen on one point. Making an argument using specialized knowledge that not all readers have isn’t an “implicit argument from authority,” or experts could never weigh in on anything. It would be one thing if Paul Krugman said “fiscal stimulus was urgently needed in 2009, and if you don’t understand why it’s because you don’t have a Nobel prize” and another if he wrote blog posts about whether unconventional monetary policy can get any traction at the zero lower bound or what the current crisis says about IS-LM versus New Keynesian models with intertemporal optimization. The first would be obnoxious, the second is wonderful for people like me who have a lot to learn about economics.
The fact that I like it when experts share their knowledge with the less expert is one of the reasons I’m glad Valentino’s blog exists, since his practical experience with translation and his knowledge of translation theory are much more extensive than mine. I have plenty to learn there too.