By Erin



When it comes to the massive failure of an intelligent healthcare debate, I blame the geniuses.  A couple of weeks ago I heard Richard Epstein participate in a debate regarding healthcare.  Professor Epstein, who teaches at NYU School of Law, is of the Chicago school of law and economics, which is to say that he believes in capitalism, or more specifically, in laissez-faire capitalism.  His is the kind of intellect that Ayn Rand fantasized about, and he leads the field in torts, contracts, and health care law.  Basically, if anyone could articulate best why Obama’s plan could fail, it should be Richard Epstein.

And maybe he did.

Unfortunately, the only words I understood were the names he called government employees.  Like listening to Dr. House ridicule his fellows while solving the case, I understood his tone—his general disbelief that people below his I.Q. score can do anything right—but I could not understand his evidence.  Technicalities and jargon riddled his argument which left me wondering whether or not he won the debate.

Now, I don’t necessarily lean populist.  I think the smartest people should work on the country’s toughest problems in order to come up with the best solutions.  But the healthcare debate illuminates the flaws of such a process—in a democratic society, the smartest people need to be able to articulate why their solutions are the best in order for the rest of us to make an informed vote (or, more accurately, in order for the members of Congress to make an informed vote).

I’m not calling for a dumbing down of the geniuses, but I am calling for a new skill set to be developed in the ivory towers.  Communication is key.  Otherwise all we’re left with is name-calling from both the idiots and the intellects.