We’re all created equal but we’re not all experts.
Experts are the hedgehogs, the servants; they do one thing well. They’re indispensable like doctors. Yet, the internet came along and unleashed a free for all of know-it-alls.
Our friends and family members, even ourselves, opine on subjects where we have voice but no mastery, not even of the fundamentals. We’ve given people a microphone, a platform, and they produce garbage, demonstrate ignorance, and bask in mediocrity.
Says Tom Nichols in his new book The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters:
“Having equal rights does not mean having equal talents, equal abilities, or equal knowledge. It assuredly does not mean that ‘everyone’s opinion about anything is as good as anyone else’s.’ And yet, this is now enshrined as the credo of a fair number of people despite being obvious nonsense.”
We need practicians. We need the ideas. But we really need people we can trust. It’s no surprise that our experts are usually the ones with most humility and eagerness to learn.