The complexity of problems facing our society—climate change, mass migration, or the effects of technology, for example—may often seem beyond the competency of elected representatives. If higher education made for better people with wiser judgment, it might be tolerable to hand great powers for controlling society to highly educated experts. But as Aldous Huxley observed, scientists and other experts do not own a monopoly on either virtue or political wisdom.
There are clear dangers in ceding too much power to unelected and unaccountable elites who claim moral authority or expertise backed by higher education. Rule by the most educated and highly credentialed people is profoundly illiberal, observes Yascha Motunk, a Harvard progressive. Many elite progressives—the core of the clerisy—might prefer such a model for society, but it would endanger political pluralism, especially when the credentialed elites are overly sure of their own correctness. A survey commissioned by the Atlantic notes that the highly educated are now arguably the least politically tolerant group in America.