How America Lost Faith in Expertise

Why That's a Giant Problem

Dec 14, 2017
369 Views

Some time ago, many public universities detached themselves from the vision of their founders, rejecting their statements of faith and Christian confessional affiliations.  New statements of vision appeared, but without the many inherited presuppositions of the Christian faith, universities no longer had a unifying and integrated worldview.

It has not only led to specialization, but the detachment of much of what universities do from the common good.

The sexual revolution has only accelerated that dissolution of vision.

The academy has been entirely too slow to recognize the peril towards which its own policies have led. I regard the article written in Foreign Affairs as an understatement.  Most institutions have become vehicles for identity groups to push their more or less openly political agendas.  And this has quite naturally led to a lack of confidence in the ‘experts’.

Some on the more conservative end of the political spectrum might welcome that change – it is certainly justified – but it does not happen without further damage to the social cohesion that conservatives also value:

“A modern society cannot function without a social division of labor. No one is an expert on everything. We prosper because we specialize, developing formal and informal mechanisms and practices that allow us to trust one another in those specializations and gain the collective benefit of our individual expertise. If that trust dissipates, eventually both democracy and expertise will be fatally corrupted, because neither democratic leaders nor their expert advisers want to tangle with an ignorant electorate. At that point, expertise will no longer serve the public interest; it will serve the interest of whatever clique is paying its bills or taking the popular temperature at any given moment. And such an outcome is already perilously near.”

Read the full article in Foreign Affairs

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