Writes antiwar.com’s Justin Raimondo:
“The idea that we should be governed by “experts” goes back a long way, all the way to Plato, advocate of rule by philosopher-kings, who, in their wisdom, would reign over the common herd of humanity — for our own good, of course. More recently, the idea was picked up by various would-be saviors of mankind on the Right as well as the Left. During the Great Depression, a time when all sorts of half-baked “experts” arose armed with panaceas, the idea reached its apotheosis in the form of Technocracy, a movement founded by Howard Scott, which championed a dictatorship of scientists and engineers. They would know how to fix the broken gears of a shattered economy and set things right!
Such ideas were in the air, a byproduct of a society that had lost its economic and social bearings and was veering out of control. The whole concept of expertise, of a class of professional know-it-alls whose collective wisdom could be mined and used to rebuild the socio-economic structure, was taken up by the Roosevelt administration. FDR and his advisers happily went along with the media’s characterization of the president’s “Brain Trust,” whose braininess would save the nation. Ever since that time we have been infested with a plague of “experts,” all of them self-appointed, who are trotted out whenever the Powers That Be want to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people.
We saw this kind of operation in action during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, when the Bush administration unleashed its own “experts” on the airwaves and the op-ed pages of the nation’s newspapers. Drawn from the Washington swamp of neoconservative think-tanks and covertly subsidized “journalists,” this cadre of self-appointed Iraqologists, laptop bombardiers, and armchair field marshals were certain Saddam was hiding weapons of mass destruction. Furthermore, they had solid “evidence” of his links to al-Qaeda, and they knew — they just knew — that unless we stopped him the entire region would be drawn into a general conflagration.
Today, of course, we know there were no weapons of mass destruction and no links to al-Qaeda, and the general conflagration now taking shape in the region is directly traceable to our invasion of Iraq. Whatever was possible to get wrong, these experts got wrong. Spearheaded by Bill Kristol and his Project for a New American Century, the War Party readily supplied bookers for CNN, MSNBC, and Fox with all the “experts” they needed, and more, from the wacka-doodle-doo Laurie Mylroie, who blames Saddam Hussein for everything but the Kennedy assassination and the Teapot Dome Scandal, to the self-assured little gnome himself, who blithely assured television audiences that the Iraqis would greet us as “liberators,” crying tears of joy.”