by Art Carden
The American Institute for Economic Research
The Internet is having a bit of fun with Rand Paul’s claim during a Tuesday Senate committee hearing that “We shouldn’t presume that a group of experts somehow knows what’s best” (here’s Tommy Beer with more). After all, they’re the experts. Shouldn’t we get out of the way and do as the experts tell us?
No. Rand Paul is right.
Friedrich Hayek was famously skeptical of experts because they have a tendency to stretch beyond their expertise and make claims, recommendations, or policies that are beyond the narrow confines of their expertise. They also tend to collapse social problems into frameworks and models that seem easy to manipulate but that leave out a lot of important on-the-ground knowledge that, Hayek argued, is of a kind that is inaccessible to an outside observer. In short, it is easy to mistake a model for the actual underlying reality. It is just as easy to identify important considerations and act as if they are the only.