Why We Lost Trust in the Expert Class

For years, European policy makers had assured the world that the relatively rapid “transition” to “green” energy was the world’s preordained future—regardless of the costs. Accordingly, many European Union governments followed the advice of green experts. They eagerly shut down coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants to transition immediately to “renewable energy.” … As a result, German government officials warn that this winter, in 19th-century fashion, families will have to burn wood—the dirtiest of modern fuels—to endure the cold. And there is further talk of “warm rooms,” where like pre-civilizational tribal people, the elderly will bunch together within a designated heated room to keep alive.

Sri Lanka once had a per capita income twice that of nearby India. Now it cannot feed or fuel itself. Unfortunately, its incompetent government trusted radical environmental advisors, many of them foreign experts. Sri Lanka believed it could become the woke darling of the “Environmental, Social, Governance” [ESG] movement, and that way draw in unlimited Western woke investment. Instead, it has embraced a policy of national suicide.

Recently, a group of 55 distinguished pro-administration economists assured us that Joe Biden’s massive borrowing and new entitlements agenda were not inflationary. In September 2021, these economists with 14 Nobel prize winners among them declared that Biden’s inflationary policies would actually “ease” inflation. Last month, inflation spiked to an annualized rate of 9.1 percent.  None of these “blue-chip” economists have offered any apologies for lending their prestige to convince Americans of the absurd: that inflating the money supply, spiking new government spending, incentivizing labor non-participation, and keeping interest rates artificially low would not cause inflation.

All these depressing examples have one common denominator. Elite experts and degreed professionals massaged and warped their knowledge to serve ideological masters rather than the truth. In the process, they caused untold damage to their country and fellow citizens. They disgraced their profession. They tarnished the scientific community. And sold their souls to ideologues. Is it any wonder why the Western public has lost confidence in their degreed and credentialed elites?

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson and originally published at The Blade of Perseus on 8 August 2022 here.

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