Herbert I. London
September 16, 2011
If there was one overarching goal of the Marxist project, it was refashioning human nature. Whether in religion or politics, the Marxists argued that an obsession with God and a belief in national identity had to be challenged and defeated.
His beliefs had little confidence in the common man.. Marxists maintained they were endowed with an understanding others did not possess. While Marxism is dead, this distaste for the opinion of the common man persists.
Instead of Marxism, this belief now takes the form of "Expert Opinion," or the "Fraternity of Experts," who are eager to regulate human behavior. These are the new progressives, many of them former Marxists, and many who believe that American patriotism should be subordinated to transnational loyalty. Some call these people "Liberal Internationalists." who rely on U.N. prerogatives and other international bodies -- often under the sway of totalitarian governments with not the slightest interest in civil liberties or human rights for guidance.
On the home front, this "Fraternity of Experts" has answers for everything that ails us. If health care is a problem, the experts contend a government engineered system must be put in place, rather than rely on the the marketplace.
If global warming is a problem – a somewhat contentious point – government regulations should be imposed through a "limited carbon footprint" rather than through educating people to deliver restraint. The "Expert" always believes public choices are ignorant and therefore decisions [his) must be imposed.
Another example is the government-imposed minimum wage. Although exploitation and sweatshops are not an acceptable answer, is it not enough to argue that the market, which is primarily based on the combined needs of the producer, the worker and the consumer, is sufficient to determine wages? The experts know better; they actually think they can determine the point at which wages meet labor needs.
Of course the United States is not alone in producing members of the "Fraternity of Experts." If the French are expert at self-proclaimed experts, the European Union is the exemplar of Expert Opinion so confident in its assertions that it seeks to regulate everything from truck tonnage to the size of lawn mowers. Moreover, the EU intends to eliminate national loyalty through the imposition of a transnational entity which not only fails to represent the will of the people, but which fails to note how these "Experts" (read: bureaucrats) in Brussels might be removed should they fail to succeed in their work.
From the ashes of Marxism has emerged a class of elitists not unlike the former members of the Soviet Communist party. They claimed to know what was best for the citizens of Russia; the "Fraternity of Experts" knows what is best for us.
Former Democratic candidate for president John Edwards liked to lecture about two Americas: the privileged and the poor. But this quasi-Marxist theme does not describe the real two Americas: one, managed by "Experts," who believe they possess superior knowledge that translates into engineered regulations; and the other, common sense embodied by the common man.
How can elites demonstrate their "superior" wisdom if they are restrained? How can experts flaunt their expertise if their plans for us are rejected?
The very fact that the "Fraternity of Experts" distrusts the common man should be cause to distrust it. So when the new big idea emerges from the tombs of government, beware. The expert who wants to regulate you distrusts you and your ability to decide anything for yourself.
Herbert London is president emeritus of Hudson Institute, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the book Decline and Revival in Higher Education (Transaction Books).