Commonplace Book #40

Experts advise.  Elected leaders decide.  In order to judge the performance of experts, and to judge the votes and decisions of their representatives, laypeople must familiarize themselves with the issues at hand.  This does not mean that every American must engage in deep study of policy, but if citizens do not bother to gain basic literacy in the issues that affect their lives, they abdicate control over those issues whether they like it or not.  And when voters lose control of these important decisions, they risk the hijacking of their democracy by ignorant demagogues, or the most quiet and gradual decay of their democratic institutions into authoritarian technocracy.

Tom Nichols, The Death of Expertise, 11.

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