The Road to Dogma: The Loss of Liberty by Rule by Expert.

Graham Hill's picture
Submitted by Graham Hill on Fri, 2020-11-13 21:38

US Supreme Court Justice Alito in an extra judicial address to the Federalist Society has made the below comments which I take from the Breitbart article:

The learned Judge said.

"... “One of these is the dominance of lawmaking by executive fiat, rather than legislation. The vision of early-20th century progressives and the New Dealers of the 1930s was that policymaking would shift from narrowminded elected legislators to an elite group of appointed experts. In a word, that policymaking would become more scientific. That dream has been realized to a large extent. Every year, administrative agencies, acting under broad delegations of authority, churn out huge volumes of regulations that dwarf the statutes enacted by the people’s elected representatives. And what have we seen in the pandemic? Sweeping restrictions imposed, for the most part, under statutes that confer enormous executive discretion.” (emphasis added)

In concluding he says that coronavirus restrictions have “highlighted the movement toward rule by experts.”

The passage cited " an elite group of appointed experts…bears reflection." The elite group can carry the meaning of an oligarchy, a politburo, a central committee, also known as the fount of all truth from which there is no disagreement, no appeal and is fixed by the political placement of the expert.

Expert opinion that cannot or will not be challenged and modified becomes dogma and new evidence new opinions become heresy. Recall how Galileo was tried for heresy. G K Chesterton opined in the 1920's that the present age will not be one of Liberty but Dogma. How prescient for our present age. One can see this evolving with a Biden administration.

Knowledge ceases to advance, to be contestable and exist in a state of free interplay. An idea advanced by John Milton in The Areopagitica. A 'hand brake' on the exchange of ideas in the public square already exists from "dominant" public opinion which John Stuart Mill noted in On Liberty. We are seeing with big tech and big tech the move from dominant to a "totality" of one opinion.

In addition, because whatever the expert says is Righteous Truth. It has a one party - or one government- proclivity. The Davos set for example. It confirms the argument I have been making from Aristotle, in other articles, concerning the tussle of the 'few v the many.'

In a panel of experts, in which an expert and his or her discipline is on top and dominant will have a direct affect on policy. You see this with Covid. The epidemiologists and virologists if on top 'pip' the oncologists, the economists and the psychiatrists and so on. A monocular view point will appertain. Added to which, the expert is not accountable for error, poor judgment and the ensuing loss and harm.

It is an abdication of decision making- adjudication by the legislature- and policy weighing by politicians of competing interests, ideas and knowledge.

Further , excessive discretion leads to arbitrary decision making by bureaucrats and risks abuse of power and thus capricious then ultimately tyrannical rule.