The paradox of expertise

Part of the issue lies in the politicization of everything in our current society, including experts. The greater knowledge and information that experts possess often affords them the ability to be elevated by both media and politicians to positions that presuppose wisdom. Thus, the passive public may just sit on their haunches and suppose that an expert is a better judge of morality than themselves. But this is an illusion brought about by their elevation in the public eye. Politicians try to piggyback on the knowledge and credentials of an expert to say that their position is ultimately the informed and morally right decision.

Knowledge and information are good to have in complex situations but they are not the final arbiter and, in some cases, may matter nothing at all. The costs of the ACA can only be judged in terms of how much we are willing to pay to administer healthcare to an individual. Everyone wants to pay for the healthcare of a little girl with Leukemia; we might feel differently about the alcoholic wife-beater who is still smoking through his tracheotomy. Likewise, intervention in Crimea or in the case of the Sudanese Christian comes down to moral right/wrong value judgments. To this we welcome the information, knowledge, and predictions of the experts but the decision on how to act and whether or not to act is ultimately a decision that can be made through a rationality available to all average men and women.