The Christian Science Monitor

Who made you an expert? Is America's distrust of 'elites' becoming more toxic?

There’s a not-so-subtle side-eye tradition in America when it comes to its credentialed elites.  

The muckety-mucks who make a mess of things, the “pointy-headed college professors who can’t even park a bicycle straight,” the Ivy-educated class of experts and government bureaucrats who pull the levers of power from afar.

It often stands hand-in-hand with a reciprocal tradition of heroism for the self-made man who, armed with instinct, self-reliance, and force of will, forgoes the Ivy towers and makes a fortune through a more native creativity, unrestrained and unadulterated.

“I think it’s almost baked into the American character,” says Wendy Rahn, a professor of political science the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, noting that historians have long traced a mindset of social egalitarianism that distinguished Americans from European distinctions based on birth and class.

“So to the extent that ‘experts’ are seen as violating that normative order, I think that there’s always been

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