The idea that “politics” and “public opinion” are nuisances to be trampled upon by the philosopher-kings proceeds from the basic belief that the people are stupid (or easily duped by “powerful interests”) and that the obviously correct solution should immediately prevail. You see this kind of anti-democratic instinct in school reform — Michelle Rhee’s contention that she wasn’t in the business of “politics,” or Bloomberg’s appointment of Cathie Black as schools chancellor.
There’s something else here also — there’s no real track record. Anti-democrats — despite their insistence on empiricism — are often just as addled as the public. For every smoking ban, there’s a Cathie Black.