James Pethokoukis cites “a great quote” that came up from Leave, “We don’t care about experts anymore,” and Charles Murray offers his thought:
Well, you’ve got two kinds of problems with experts, and one of them has to do with all of the mistakes that they have made. And that is, we have had experts on how to do deal with poverty, how to deal with welfare, how to deal with crime, how to deal with other things over the past 50 years, who have recommended polices that have been disastrous. The experts have been simply wrong. They were wrong about school bussing; they were wrong about prison only makes people worse back in the 1970s when the prison population dropped even though crime was soaring; again and again you’ve had people who were experts who were advocating and passing policies that ordinary people looked at and said, “This is absolutely nuts.” Affirmative action, by the way, sort of falls into that category as well. So one problem is that they’ve been wrong.
Another problem with the experts — and I think that this gets to a lot of the visceral anger that people have — is that the experts have been recommending policies for other people for which they do not have to bear the consequences. The case of immigration is a classic case where I can sit down with economists on both the left and the right, and we with great self-satisfaction talk about all of our wonderful analyses that show that this idea that immigrants are driving down wages of native-born Americans is way over-exaggerated; that immigration is essentially a net plus, so forth and so on… Those analyses may be right, but that does not change the fact that we aren’t the people who are like the carpenter who used to make $16 an hour, and he is losing work because contractors are hiring immigrant carpenters for $12.
All of our lovely analyses of the macroeconomic effects do not get around that problem. On the contrary, as far as our lives are concerned, we experts get cheap nannies and we get cheap people to mow our lawns, and in a lot of ways this low-scale immigration has been a boon to us. The degree to which we experts advocate policies that affect other peoples’ lives badly but not our own. really angers people, and I understand that.