Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Entitled To The Knowledge Of Others

I do not know the Patriot Nurse ( other than from reading an occasional reference in someone else's article (we all tend to run in the same circles as some point, do we not?) but was struck by this quote from her which was posted on Survival Blog:

“The Internet has brought us both good and bad. Like the Guttenberg press so many years ago, a revolution in widely accessible information has ushered in an era of unparalleled appetite for knowledge. Because of the non-concrete nature of this information’s platform, people lose sight of the fact that solid wisdom and experience is not free, nor is it easily gained from surfing the web. Information is a-plenty nowadays, but wisdom and real experience is preciously scarce. My degree, all of my travels and the lessons I learned to make me the healthcare professional that I am cost me. It cost me lots of money, lots of time, lots of pain, heartache, disappointment, and long hard days and sleepless nights. With Reid [Heinrichs], amp that up ten-fold.

People nowadays feel entitled to the labors of others. Instead of feeling grateful for the life experience given away, many display contempt. The astonishing thing is that people now feel baselessly superior to the person on the other end of the screen without recognizing their own limitations. Welcome to the new era of no experts, ‘free’ information. Beware of the Internet expert behind the comment section. When the lights go out, he won’t be able to help you. The tried-and-true experienced individual will.”

It is part of a larger article called "The Death of Expertise In The New Era of Free Info", one which I commend to your attention as well.  

It is a rather profound point, and one that I have intuited (but have never been able to state so forthrightly).  If you think about it, it is more and more becoming an underlying current of our society:  doctors should practice medicine, researchers should develop medicines, farmers should grow food, fire fighters should fight fires not only because it is there job but because - even if they were not being paid for it, or paid appropriately - they "should" do it as that is their duty to others.  In other words, their training and expertise exists as an obligation to others, not as the property of the individual who worked to gain the experience.

This was predictable, or course.  Ayn Rand predicted it 50 years ago in Atlas Shrugged.  You will remember, if you have read the book, how Henry Rearden came to his moment of clarity when he carefully pointed out to the government officials that their expectation was for him to use his expertise, his experience, and his money because he was "obligated" to do so for the betterment of society, not from any sense of economic benefit.  He and his company had become servants of people who could not do what he did, did not know what he did, but demanded that he serve them because of their need.

There is only one problem with all of this, of course:  when disincentivized, people stop doing things.

To the doctor, the handyman, the researcher - if they are not being rewarded for what they do, they will ultimately find another way to do it to get rewarded.  You see this now in doctors that only accept non-Medicare patients or have paying pools of patients.  You see this in the handyman that works for cash locally.  You see this in the researcher that moves to a different area or research, something that does not involve making a drug.  Society does not make experts work for others by demanding it - instead, it drives it underground, depriving society of that expertise.

One day, these people who are so demanding that others serve them will wake up and discover that they expertise they demanded no longer is accessible.  Gulliver, it will have seemed, has simply gotten out of his tiny ropes and moved on.


  1. I don't get it TB. People melt down and lose their minds at the mere mention of Ayn Rand - I've seen it. I've read Atlas Shrugged and I didn't find one thing wrong with it. I haven't delved all that deeply into objectivism but what I have seen of it is rock solid.
    Ditto for the Patriot Nurse. But she strikes me as a very bitter, very angry woman. I suspect that at some point she's been hurt by liberal/leftists, and hates them with the same cold fury I do. I catch myself thinking and sounding just like her sometimes.
    I think we are all in for enough lumps to earn us all kinds of wisdom, myself.

  2. Glen, I have read Rand as well (the movies were a terrible disappointment. If only they could get the kind of backing that Marvel or Lord of The Rings had, what a series it would be). Other than the fact she was effectively anti-Christian and had a very different view of sexual mores than I did, I suspect we would have a great deal in common.

    As I said, I have not read enough about Patriot Nurse but I do know enough about fools coming to expect that anything belonging to others should be offered for free that I suspect she has been deeply impacted by this. Somewhat sadly, I suspect that people look to her attitude rather than their own.

  3. Ditto. Can't say anything more, or in a better way.

  4. Thank Linda - although to be fair, the original thought was not mine.


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