By Arnold Kling
When historians look back on this period, they will see it as another progressive era. It is not a liberal era — when government intervenes to seize wealth and power and distribute it to the have-nots. It’s not a conservative era, when the governing class concedes that the world is too complicated to be managed from the center. It’s a progressive era, based on the faith in government experts and their ability to use social science analysis to manage complex systems.
I have faith in the expertise of my dentist. I have faith in the expertise of my auto mechanic. I have faith in the expertise of the people who manufactured my computer. I have faith in the people who figured out how to bring grapes to my supermarket. I have faith in the expertise of the people who work at charities to which I contribute.
When it comes to having faith in experts, I yield to no one. I have tons of faith in experts. I just lack faith in experts who require the power of the state standing behind their expertise.
Bill Joy’s Law of Management says that “No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.” He formulated that law to apply to business. However, it also applies to government.