The Knowledge Problem of Privilege

knowledge The Knowledge Problem of Privilege

by Nathan Goodman

“Just as with economics, these social problems of epistemological hubris become bigger when government gets involved. By definition, politicians do not have the knowledge of everyone their policies will impact. But often, when marginalized groups are impacted, politicians become extra prone to ignore those from an affected population. For example, Congress has held hearings on whether to undermine the privacy rights of “mentally ill” Americans but not allowed anyone with psychiatric disabilities to testify, not deeming them sufficiently “competent.” Another example is that those incarcerated in our prison system are barred from voting in elections. The government exacerbates its natural tendency towards lacking sufficient knowledge by disenfranchising members of marginalized groups it seeks to control. Politicians need to consider, as Hayek said, “how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” They need to consider the experiences and knowledge of those their policies might hurt. They need to check their privilege.”

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~ by rechelon on August 6, 2013.

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