Recently, in a hospital to
remain nameless, a petite woman walked into the emergency room
complaining of abdominal pain. She was checked in with the usual
round of questioning, scrutiny, and paperwork. Then she cooled her
heels in the waiting room for two hours before being called back by
a nurse. The ER doc poked and prodded her, performing an abdominal
exam without finding a cause for her complaint. The woman was then
sent with a nurse to gather a urine sample, That’s when her water
broke and the baby causing the “abdominal pain” began to emerge
into a somewhat unprepared world.
That’s right—not only did mom not know she was pregnant, but
somehow a physician, nurses, and other hospital staff failed to
figure it out after an exam.
We’re often told that people are too stupid to make their own
decisions, and so difficult subjects that might tax our tiny little
minds should be left to the experts. President Obama infamously
justified his fib about Americans getting to keep their health
smugly commenting, “a lot of people thought they were buying
coverage, and it turned out not to be so good.” We should suck it
up over our cancellation letters and go buy the higher-priced
insurance that he and his buddies approved because they know better
than us what we need.
And it’s true that the general population can often seem to be
running a bit shy of brain cells and competence. But so do experts.
In that unnamed emergency room, mom may rate a few raised eyebrows
over a certain lack of body awareness, but what about those
well-trained and licensed medical experts who found themselves
stumped by the whole abdominal discomfort=labor pains equation?
And when individuals flaunt their stupid for the world to see,
the blast radius of their stupid is usually confined within certain
boundaries. Experts, given a chance to show their stuff, wield
Stupid of Mass Destruction.
Individuals may have “thought they were buying coverage, and it
turned out not to be so good,” but only experts, authorized to
inflict their wisdom on the unwashed masses, could give us tidal
waves of health insurance cancellation letters, a government-built
doesn’t work, unless it’s
funneling people into the wrong coverage,
losing their records, and serving up the data it doesn’t
And that’s just the delivery system for health coverage with
jacked up prices, a
shortage of doctors, and an assortment of other problems that
make it a train wreck.
And this is just one area of public policy inflicted on
us by experts. If you don’t give a damn about Obamacare, substitute
drug prohibition, gun control, federal spending, or any of a
variety of arenas in which we’ve told us that our own
decision-making isn’t good enough, so we’ll have to leave it to the
experts. Sure, any one of us might experience a surfeit of stupid
when it comes to guns, dope, and cash, but only experts empowered
by hubris and law could double-down on such decisions and inflict
them on everybody.
Yes, experts generally are better-informed than the rest of us
in their chosen specialties. But that doesn’t mean they’re immune
to jaw-dropping fumbles—or that we should empower them to make
their mistakes into our problems.
We make enough errors on our own; we don’t need more imposed on
us from above.
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/20/leave-it-to-the-experts-or-whaddya-mean