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October 12, 2019 / Congau

The Democratic Expert

In principle no one knows better than any other, so if you have a health problem you might as well consult your plumber.

Wait, I doubt that you would do that. You would probably rather trust a medical expert.

But if you had a political problem, who would you trust?

Well, you might suspect where this is going. If there are experts of medicine there must be political experts also and if you let your doctor decide what is best for your body, you should also let politicians decide what is best for your society… No, I wasn’t quite going to say that, for although there is some truth to the argument, there are some obvious flaws in it.

Political scientists, ideologists, economists and sociologists, the whole lot of political experts, greatly disagree among themselves, whereas doctors are in relative agreement. It’s just not as easy to prove objectively what might be the remedy for social ills.

So how are we to determine who should decide? We could toss a coin; that might be one possibility. Another random option could be to ask a crowd of ignoramuses; people like yourself.

That’s right, there’s no need to flatter yourself. The principle must remain: some are experts and some are not, and just because it’s difficult to spot the genuine sage in the realm of politics, it doesn’t mean he’s non-existent.

The merit of modern democracy is not that it has turned the people into experts; that is a blunt lie that our superiors love to tell us. It is that an acceptable method is found for choosing the ruler. Since we love to believe in the flattering lie about our own expertise we keep quiet and accept.

It is indeed good to avoid the stressful social upheaval that comes with violent fight for power. For that we might as well pretend to ask the plumber before he returns to his pipes.

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