I have recently sought treatment recommendations from three different dentists for a problem I’m having. Two dentists, both well-known and respected by me, gave me diametrically opposed recommendations. My wife urged me to see the dentist who had helped her with a tricky problem for a third opinion. The third opinion contradicted the other two.
I mean no disrespect to any of the three doctors – on the contrary – nor to the dental profession. There really is nothing surprising about this. Three experts examine the same abundant clinical evidence and reach different conclusions. Situation normal. This is in the nature of clinical recommendations, and the nature of clinical recommendations flows from the nature of clinical evidence itself.
In the end, it is for me to decide, relying on my own common sense to make the best choice I can. But this is not the approach our country is using when it gets treatment recommendations from Dr. Anthony Fauci – and this is a radical departure from common sense in our personal lives and common practice in public matters.
For example, accepting Fauci’s recommendation without a second or even a third opinion is like only allowing the prosecution’s medical expert to testify in a trial. The defense’s medical expert must be allowed to challenge the prosecution’s presentation of the medical evidence. Without the defense’s testimony, the law court becomes a kangaroo court.
As I wrote in an earlier article, the belief in rule by experts rather than rule by citizens who, if necessary, consult experts and then decide, has been a long time coming.
I first became aware of the problems associated with rule by experts at the time of the Warren Commission. Lee Harvey Oswald’s murder had put him beyond the reach of the law. He could not be tried for murdering President John F. Kennedy, but the American people needed a trial in which there was a vigorous prosecution and a vigorous defense of Oswald.
The findings of the Warren Commission have always been under a cloud, giving rise to conspiracy theories and controversy. This is no doubt a direct consequence of the decision to rely on experts to tell us what happened by handing down from on high a voluminous report written in the special language only government uses. Appointing a so-called blue-ribbon commission to come up with a report was a bad idea then, and is probably always a poor substitute for a prosecution and defense approach to deciding on matters of great national importance.
The prosecution and defense approach works not just for determining the guilt or innocence of the accused but also for informing the American people.
Consider the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Most of us probably believe that Simpson is guilty of killing two people, including his ex-wife, in 1994. We probably believe, too, that he was never going to be found guilty by a Los Angeles jury. But the important point here is that the trial gave us that shared understanding because the prosecution and the defense made their competing presentations to citizens more or less like ourselves, ordinary citizens who were not chosen for their expertise. If there had been a prosecution and defense approach to JFK’s murder, there likely would have been a generally shared common sense judgment by the American people about Oswald’s guilt or innocence and about the jury’s finding, whatever those may have been.
In matters great and small, robust debate helps us understand the evidence and make an informed decision. The more important the decision, the greater the need for debate.
At the height of the Cold War, President Gerald Ford commissioned a “Team B” to challenge the assumptions that prevailed in the Pentagon about Soviet military capabilities. This common-sense exercise used outside experts to gauge what it would take to defend the country if the career defense experts had it wrong.
In the same way, we needed the common-sense approach of a robust public debate about how to address the Wuhan virus. The evidence that the strange, radical, and never-before-tried policy of putting everyone under house arrest was a mistake is accumulating rapidly now.
Governments at every level in America have used the Wuhan virus as an excuse, or possibly as an opportunity, to abandon the rule of law, and many observers have registered their surprise that so many Americans have knuckled under to these profoundly un-American governmental edicts.
Equally astonishing is the abandonment of common sense. America was once called “the common sense nation.” If we are to remain a self-ruling people capable of standing up to Fauciism next time, we need to bring back common sense.
Because we the American people are America. That means each of us must retake our claim to rule our personal lives by common sense and vote accordingly. It also means it is our responsibility to make sure we as a country never again allow Fauciism to overrule common sense and American liberty in the way it did this time around.
This article has been republished with permission from American Greatness.
[Image Credit: Flickr-The White House, public domain]
Robert Curry serves on the board of directors of the Claremont Institute and is the author of Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the Forgotten Power of the American Idea and Reclaiming Common Sense: Finding Truth in a Post-Truth World, due out in September.