It is only with great ignorance that we expect our elected officials to have the intellectual toolset required to grapple with most modern social and environmental issues. Social and Environmental threats and cures represent the height of complexity in decision making, and law makers rarely have the technological familiarity to appreciate the issues nor the mathematical background to comprehend them even if guided. This entails that our elected officials generally cannot be in a position to make the correct decisions on tough issues and must instead defer to their advisors, whether they received credit/blame to the public’s eye or not.
That this disconnect is not readily visible to ordinary citizens is what keeps our current form of democracy afloat. But it is becoming more and more apparent to more and more people, during the current coronavirus pandemic, that there is such a disconnect. It is becoming more and more clear that no amount of informing our leaders will put them in a position to do what they were elected to do: make decisions. But even as this becomes clear, there is probably the false impression that MDs are needed in office. The truth is that MDs as a whole would be more qualified than most politicians, but as a whole they fail to have the training in complex decision making and the technology which makes complex decision making possible.
What is needed is a new kind of toolset, with a new kind of credentials, to complement the current legal system. It is what I have called in atheoryof.us a ‘Technology Congress’ and the credentialing – though perhaps initially borrowing from technical professions – would entail familiarity with the requisite technology and mastery of the required mathematics. In point of fact, this Technology Congress would do less to change the way things actually work than it may seem. Today we have an opaque Intelligency Community of de facto decision makers filling the role which our elected officials cannot. But in point of fact, we have no reason to trust these decision makers, because they were not elected by the people – this trust, if I need remind you, is what Democracy is for. Without it we are relying on benevolance of the well positioned, and history often does not speak highly of such people.