If there was one overarching goal of the Marxist project, it was refashioning human nature. Whether religion or politics, the Marxists argued that an obsession with God and a belief in national identity had to be challenged and defeated.
An ideology based on the common man ultimately had little confidence in his beliefs. Marxists maintained they were endowed with an understanding others didn’t possess. While Marxism is dead; this distaste for the opinion of the common man persists.
Instead of Marxism, it now takes the form of expert opinion or 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 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 for guidance.
On the home front this fraternity of experts has answers for everything that ails us. If healthcare is a problem, the experts contend a government-engineered system must be put in place, rather than rely on the aggregate intentions of the marketplace.
Similarly, if global warming is a problem — a somewhat contentious point — government regulations should be imposed through a “limited carbon footprint” rather than rely on educated impulses to deliver restraint.
The expert always believes public choices are ignorant and therefore decisions must be imposed.
Yet another example is the government-imposed minimum wage. It is not enough to argue that the market, which is the combined wisdom of 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 expert fraternity. The French are expert at soi disant experts. And 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 Union intends to eliminate national loyalty through the imposition of a transnational entity which does not represent the will of the people, but rather the experts (read: bureaucrats) residing in Brussels.
It is instructive 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.
Democratic candidate for president John Edwards likes 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 second, the accumulated wisdom of common sense embodied in 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?
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 new big idea emerges from the tombs of government, beware. The expert who wants to regulate distrusts you and your ability to decide anything for yourself.
Herbert London is president emeritus of Hudson Institute and author of the book "Decline and Revival in Higher Education" (Transaction Publishers).
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