No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you never should trust experts. If you believe the doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require to have their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (1830-1903)
Nothing would be more fatal than for the Government of States to get into the hands of experts. Expert knowledge is limited knowledge and the unlimited ignorance of the plain man, who knows where it hurts, is a safer guide than any rigorous direction of a specialist.Sir Winston Churchill
I took these two quotes from an excellent website called Lockdown Sceptics which consistently makes the case that the coronavirus is not the great evil we are led to believe and that lockdowns do much more harm than good. They seem very appropriate at the present time when we have quite obviously been led up the garden path by people who may be specialists in their fields but are quite ignorant out of them. And that's giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming they are honest which they may well not be.
It's very easy to mock people who are suspicious of experts. After all the word just means someone who knows what he's talking about, doesn't it? And why would we not listen to such a person? But the trouble is these people are often blinded by their own knowledge and unable to see other wisdom that stands outside that. They can't see the wood for a tree. They are the technocrats of the modern world, the scientists and engineers who want to take over governance from politicians and do things properly. But there are two serious problems here. Politicians, for all their manifold faults, can at least be voted out of office in a democracy. Theoretically, anyway. The technocrats would be there to stay. There would be no means in a society run by such people (as in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, for instance) of getting rid of them. There would be nobody to tell them they are wrong. And they often are wrong because they see the world in terms of data and spreadsheets. In terms of control which invariably will want to do away with individuality and freedom. The technocrat has no real understanding of human beings, of what it is to be human. He certainly has no spiritual understanding. By definition, he rejects that as not subject to his measurements or within his control. He prefers the committee to the individual but no committee ever made a true work of art or genuine scientific discovery.
The Marquess of Salisbury pinpoints what people distrust about experts. Apart from their inability to see the whole picture outside of their speciality, apart from their desire to contain and control, apart from their arrogance and materialism, overt or not, they do not properly acknowledge common sense. Common sense is the ability to see in terms of the whole rather than in parts. Experts only see in terms of parts because their expertise is necessarily a partial thing, limited to a small area which is all they can really see. They are very useful with regard to that small area but not when the matter concerns a greater whole. Even many experts together, unless they have the wisdom and humility to go beyond the expert mind, have the limitations of their class, a blinkered view and an inability to see human beings as multi-dimensional spiritual beings with purpose that goes beyond the mundane.
Obviously if I have a toothache I will go to a dentist and I'm very glad the person who looks at my teeth is not the same one that cuts my hair as once was the case. But we don't want experts to run the world because they will see it in terms of their own field. What politicians should do and what they have not been doing is listen to many sorts of experts from many fields and then take decisions based on all the input, ideally subjected to common sense, pragmatism, balance and the long term. But that requires an honest man who wants to do the right thing in respect of God and his fellow men and that's a rare beast now.