Democracy and the Death of Knowledge
This essay was presented as the 2006 William Howard Taft lecture at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. It suggests that the conflation of politics and law - the view that judges are not legal experts but rather legislators in robes - is part of a deeper and more worrisome trend. We do not see judges as legal experts because we no longer believe in expertise. We have, in other words, begun to conflate politics and knowledge. We are moving toward a world in which the creation of knowledge is not the province of experts, but is instead produced by popular vote. This essay explores and critiques that trend.