I think that having a healthy cynicism towards our politicians, religious leaders and experts is a good thing. They need to be questioned. Their motives need to be explored. We need to view what they are doing with a critical eye and be prepared to speak out if they are doing it wrong.
Cynicism can be healthy.
When it goes too far and all our scientists and experts are rubbished I believe we move into dangerous ground. If we do not believe our experts and scientists who do we believe? Do we turn to superstition? To religious extremism? To internet conspiracy theories? To populist leaders? Seemingly so.
Personally, I would prefer to be operated on by an expert brain surgeon rather than have Donald Trump messing with my brain. I would rather have an aeroplane I was flying in designed and built by engineers than have Bolsonaro throwing it together. I would rather we listened to the experts and take action to prevent global warming and the terrible impact we are having on biodiversity than listen to the politicians and oil industry who are only interested in profit.
I know that vaccines and antibiotics have saved millions (if not billions) of lives and transformed the world for the better. I know that no coronavirus has ever been defeated by a TV evangelist who asks you to place your hands on the TV screen, pray to Jesus and send him a cheque.
I believe that the anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists, the Deep State believers and religious fundamentalists are dragging us back to a very dark place where superstition rules, crackpot remedies are sold by snake-oil salesmen and the likes of Trump. Bolsonaro and Johnson are elected.
If I had to choose between scientists and experts and populist leaders or religious leaders I’ll go for the experts any day – and I want the freedom to question them and hold them to account.
What I particularly want clarity on is who is doing the bankrolling?