People are now exposed to more information than ever before, provided both by technology and by increasing access to every level of education. These societal gains, however, have also helped fuel a surge in narcissistic and misguided intellectual egalitarianism that has crippled informed debates on any number of issues. Today, everyone knows everything and all voices demand to be taken with equal seriousness, and any claim to the contrary is dismissed as undemocratic elitism.
Tom Nichols shows this rejection of experts has occurred for many reasons, including the openness of the internet, the emergence of a customer satisfaction model in higher education, and the transformation of the news industry into a 24-hour entertainment machine. Paradoxically, the increasingly democratic dissemination of information, rather than producing an educated public, has instead created an army of ill-informed and angry citizens who denounce intellectual achievement.
Nichols notes that when ordinary citizens believe that no one knows more than anyone else, democratic institutions themselves are in danger of falling either to populism or to technocracy-or in the worst case, a combination of both.
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A sharp analysis of an increasingly pressing problem.
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About Tom Nichols
Tom Nichols is a professor at the US Naval War College and at the Harvard Extension School. He has written widely, including five books, on international relations, Russian affairs, and nuclear weapons. In addition to his academic posts, he has been a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Relations, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In Washington, he served as personal staff for defense and security affairs in the United States Senate to the late Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania.
His works include The Sacred Cause, No Use: Nuclear Weapons and US National Security, Eve of Destruction: The Coming Age of Preventive War, and The Russian Presidency.
About Lloyd James
Lloyd James (a.k.a. Sean Pratt) has been narrating since 1996 and has recorded over six hundred audiobooks. He is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award and has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley Jr. and Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin, among others.