Flat White

Why not replace politicians with the ‘experts’?

22 May 2020

5:00 AM

22 May 2020

5:00 AM

Is it time to replace our elected politicians with non-elected experts?

We have always voted representatives into public office. But perhaps that has been our problem. They were representative of us.

Who among us is an expert, fit to adjudicate on the big questions of life? These days most of us are flat out just trying to work out what to watch on Netflix.

Surely the past few years have proved that Abraham Lincoln’s “government of the people by the people for the people” should indeed perish from the earth. Increasingly I wonder if a better model for society might be government of the people by the knowing.

Experts would not have voted for a Coalition that gave only lip service to action on climate change, but we did.

Experts would not have voted to leave the European Union, but amateurs like us did.

And experts would certainly not have made a former reality TV star President, but non-experts inexpertly did.

It is surely time to ditch the charade of voting and to not worry ourselves with the views of ourselves since we keep getting it wrong. And we know we keep getting it wrong because experts keep chiding us for our incompetent choices.

It’s not that we are bad people; it’s just that we are not experts, and so how could we possibly know what is best for ourselves?

Should we wear face masks? I don’t know. But thank God experts do.

Would it be smart to let coronavirus spread so that we develop herd immunity? It sounds like a good idea. Or maybe not. Who knows? The experts will tell us.


Can we shake hands? When might we send our children back to school? Is it okay to visit mum on Mother’s Day? Why trouble ourselves with such matters? Better to ask an expert and then follow their expert advice.

We have proved this year that following expert advice saves thousands of lives. And we know this is true because experts have told us it is true. Take Queensland as an example.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jannette Young told the Brisbane Times last month that computer modelling predicted 12,000 Queenslanders would die from Covid-19 unless drastic action was taken.

How computer modelling comes to us is a mystery, but like all holy writ, the modelling must never be questioned.

Young said: “My advice to the Premier was, ‘we have to throw everything at this (virus), absolutely everything and anything’.

“I’ve been really lucky because they’ve always listened,” she said.

In fairness to politicians around the world, how could they not listen to experts? To question the modelling, which the media now treat as tablets of stone, is tantamount to blasphemy.

So at the behest of experts, we barricaded the State’s borders, hibernated the State’s workers, shut down the State’s industry and closed the State’s schools.

As a result, only six Queenslanders have so far died from Coronavirus – a saving of 11,994 lives!

One may ask how we know for sure that turning society upside down and destroying people’s livelihoods really saved all those lives. For the answer to that, we must ask the experts.

And as it turns out, the experts whose models predicted mass death unless their expert advice was followed are able to confirm that, having followed their expert advice, we did in fact avoid mass death.

See what I mean about letting experts run things? It just works!

Rule by experts can become a little confusing when the experts seem to differ in the advice they give about the pandemic.

But thanks to the mainstream media, this problem has largely been solved. Journalists will helpfully ignore anyone whose politics is not obviously left, thereby ensuring we only hear the correct experts.

You and I might ask if it was worth decommissioning the entire population and putting everyone under house arrest in order to save an uncertain number of lives. You might ask that question, but you can be sure that you yourself will never be asked that questioned.

When we give ultimate power to those assumed to have ultimate knowledge we ought not be surprised that our view is ultimately not needed.

In a society run by scientists, our role is not to proffer a view. Our role is to obey; confident that experts know best because they wouldn’t be experts if they didn’t know best. And besides, science.

All of which makes me think that perhaps, when this crisis is over, we should politely insist that the experts hand back control of our society to those who are meant to represent us — non-experts, unsure of the right answers.

Our elected representatives might not know enough to protect us from the plague, but what they don’t know will keep them from becoming our superiors.

And besides, if they get too uppity, we can just vote them out.

Illustration: Capital Pictures.

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