Egalitarianism and the Age of the Idiot Expert

American egalitarianism is creating a society of self-appointed idiot experts.

Egalitarianism—as it is currently formulated in American society—argues for the dissolution of all social distinctions on the indefensible assumption that every distinction is inherently unfair. It matters not if the distinction is biological; boys and girls cannot actually be different, designed by God with different abilities and characteristics, for that would be unfair. So let’s remove personal pronouns, make gender-neutral bathrooms, and pretend that boys aren’t made of “snips and snails and puppy-dog tails.” Similarly, winners and losers cannot actually be different—the one having excelled the other in equitable competition—for that would be unfair. So let’s give all of them trophies, refuse to keep score, and call them all “winners.” And who needs to acknowledge the superior learning and training of professional medical personnel? I have WebMD.

The upshot of radical egalitarianism is that we have created a generation of self-appointed idiot experts, who presume to speak with accuracy and authority about any and all subjects. It matters not that these “experts” have no actual expertise in the areas of science, philosophy, government, or environment to which they speak, for there is no such thing as an expert, and to assert so is to suggest that Bob’s opinion or Wendy’s opinion is better than mine, which is silly, for there is no such thing as truth. There is only opinion. No education qualifies Joe to speak to a particular subject more than Jim, or so assumes Jim. No experience makes Jane a better judge of this particular question than Jill, or so assumes Jill. Our egalitarian culture has created an atmosphere in which the voice of actual experts—people who are, in fact, more knowledgeable than the rest of us in a given field of study—are drowned in the chaos and clamor of the idiot expert.

Social media has enabled and encouraged the idiot expert to flaunt his intellectual snake oil, and has reinforced the egalitarian assumption that I am just as well informed as everyone else, and just as able rightly to judge any question as is the next guy. Even true experts have fallen prey to the seduction of such egalitarian nonsense. A scientist, who is trained, say, in geology, lectures pedantically on matters of theology or government or business. Expertise in one field does not confer authority in all fields.

Equity is a beautiful thing. Equity offers each person equal value, equal dignity, and equal opportunity. Egalitarianism, however, demands equal outcomes, and in so doing devalues hard work, achievement, knowledge, and earned victory. It destroys expertise, and fosters the development of a nation of idiot experts.

Christian, the next time you prepare to post on Facebook, presuming to speak authoritatively on matters of church and state or health and medicine or business and economics, ask yourself, what do I really know about such things? Am I an actual expert? The culture will produce enough idiot experts; their number is growing daily. Let the church model humility and grace and a willingness to learn before we speak.

Christ needs disciples, not idiot experts.

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