Today, everyone knows everything: with only a quick trip through WebMD or Wikipedia, average citizens believe themselves to be on an equal intellectual footing with doctors and diplomats. All voices, even the most ridiculous, demand to be taken with equal seriousness, and any claim to the contrary is dismissed as undemocratic elitism. Tom Nicholls argues that in this climate, democratic institutions themselves are in danger of falling either to populism or to technocracy- or in the worst case, a combination of both.
Tom Nichols is Professor of National Security Affairs at the US Naval War College, an adjunct professor at the Harvard Extension School, and a former aide in the U.S. Senate. His latest book is The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters. This lecture is based on that book.