What is causing this anti-intellectual populist movement? Three things are to blame.

First, the “democratization of information” that is the direct result of the internet — perhaps the most liberating and revolutionary invention of mankind — has a darker side. Anybody with access to Google and five minutes to kill believes that he can become an expert in anything. Consequently, people believe that their opinions are just as good as anybody else’s, including those of experts…

Second, nearly every important topic has been politicized. Support for GMOs largely splits among party lines. Acceptance or rejection of climate change has become a political litmus test. And policies that were once bipartisan and widely endorsed are now opposed, merely because the opposition party is in favor of it.

Third, it is far easier to attack the integrity of the messenger rather than the content of the message.