The more organized knowledge becomes the less people know. Formal studies are good for some things. Even football coaches have chalk talks, which are a kind of formal instruction. There are limits though. You don’t become a good cook from food science or a good teacher by studying teaching.
When knowledge is over-organized what counts as knowledge comes from procedures that exclude the ways we actually know things, like common sense and personal experience. Only a few people are allowed to know things so most of us know nothing. Besides, a formal system that lets functionaries decide what’s true means they look at their own interests in doing so. Social scientists and psychologists sell their goods to the social policy and therapy industries. How often do they say it would be better to downsize those industries and let people live their own lives? Treating the experts as experts on that issue is like letting auto manufacturers decide what counts as true about cars.
Americans believe in education and expertise because we believe everything can be contrived. If we can put a man on the moon, we must be able to set up schools that will turn everyone into a good employee and citizen and make him happy to boot. Also, we theoretically don’t have a class structure, but we need one anyway, so we base ours mostly on education. If you’re a high-school dropout you’re a serf, if you have a Harvard degree you have a patent of nobility, if you’re an expert you’re the pope. Everyone thinks that’s OK. It’s illegal even to consider IQ tests when you’re hiring people but there’s no affirmative action for the uncertified.
There’s probably no solution, because after all you’d have to ask the experts what the solution should be, and they’re not going to do themselves out of a job. Still, civil rights trumps everything, so one obvious move would be to insist that the laws treat educational background the same way they treat raw talent (IQ), informal upbringing (cultural—i.e., ethnic—background) and proven performance in other settings (criminal record), as something that can’t even be taken into account except in unusual circumstances. Then at least we’d find out how seriously academics take equality as a human right.