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Parting Shot

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The Superiority Complex

A Fraternity of Experts Thinks It Knows What's Best for You

by Herb London

If there was one overarching goal of the Marxist project, it was to refashion human nature. With regard to both religion and politics, the Marxists argued that an obsession with God and a belief in national identity had to be squelched and defeated.

An ideology putatively based on the common man ultimately had little confidence in that man's beliefs. Marxists maintained that they were endowed with an understanding that others did not possess. While Marxism is dead, this distaste for the opinion of the common man persists.

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It now takes the form of "expert" opinion, issuing from what I would call the fraternity of experts who are eager to regulate human behavior. These are the new progressives, many of them former Marxists who believe that American patriotism should be subordinated to transnational loyalty. Some call these people liberal internationalists—individuals who rely on UN agencies and other international bodies for guidance.

On the home front, this fraternity of experts has answers for everything that ails us. If healthcare is a problem, their solution is to put in place a government-engineered system rather than to rely on the aggregate intentions of the marketplace.

Similarly, if global warming is a problem—a somewhat contentious point—their answer is to impose government regulations to limit our "carbon footprint" rather than to rely on educated people restraining themselves. The expert always believes that public choices stem from ignorance; therefore, decisions must be handed down from above.

Another recent example is the government-imposed minimum wage. It is not enough to allow the market, which represents the combined wisdom of producers and consumers, to determine wages. The experts know better; they actually think they can determine the point at which wages and labor needs intersect.

Of course, the United States is not alone in producing members of the expert fra-ternity. The French are expert at soi disant experts. And the European Union is the exemplar of expert opinion; so confident is it 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 that represents, not the will of the people, but the will of the experts (read: bureaucrats) residing in Brussels.

It is instructive to note that from the ashes of Marxism has emerged a class of elitists not unlike the former members of the Soviet Communist party. They knew what was best for the citizens of Russia, and the expert fraternity knows what's best for us.

Onetime Democratic candidate for president John Edwards likes to lecture about two Americas—one privileged and the other poor. But this quasi-Marxist theme does not describe the real two Americas: one managed by experts who believe that they possess superior knowledge, and the other ruled by the accumulated wisdom and common sense of ordinary people.

As I see it, the expert fraternity should be treated with suspicion. The very fact that it distrusts the common man should be cause to distrust it. So when the next big idea emerges from government elitists—beware. The expert who wants to regulate your life distrusts you and your ability to decide anything for yourself.•

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