Passing the buck to unelected technocrats avoids accountability and means falling back on two fallacies: first, that science gives us a straightforward playbook for answering questions facing decision-makers; and, second, that those technocrats are the only legitimate interpreters of the facts.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear, things are never so clear-cut. For example, early on in the pandemic, there was a question of whether wearing a mask could be an effective tool to stop the spread.
In March, Dr. Fauci said “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask” and cautioned that “there are unintended consequences” with wearing them. That guidance was confounding at the time, and it quickly became politicized.
But some of the first people to make decisions not based on science were the scientists who, as Dr. Fauci admitted this past June, initially decided not to recommend masks to the general public because they were supposedly “concerned that it was at a time when personal protective equipment, including the N95 masks and the surgical masks, were in very short supply.”