It would seem like an easy question, but like so many, it is hard to answer.
The definition is not wholly important, but its application is. The lack of ability to answer a simple question (not just define a word) has led to an ever-growing fault in our governmental system. “Experts”, though allegedly leaders of their fields of study, frequently fail to produce meaningful results to the whole.
This leads me to another question:
Has relinquishing common sense (in favor of credentialed expertise) resulted in a wisdom with no practical application?
My answer is yes.
Make no mistake, there is a time and place for everyone and everything in this world- Experts included. My point is not against experts in their fields of study, but instead a support for those who are just as knowledgeable through self-study.
Take for example the simple task of cooking food. Does the lack of a culinary degree stop a person from cooking a complex, yet delicious meal for a large group of people? I would argue not; and as you prepare to eat your Thanksgiving meal with family and friends, I bet you will come to agree with me! My theory is not just anecdotal, but also from professional experience. On a personal level I can say with certainty that no person who has entered my home kitchen has ever shown interest in my Professional resources. No one has asked to review the Culinary Institute of America’s textbook “Professional Chef” or “Garde Manger” for that matter, but many have asked to look at Gordon Ramsey, or “The Pioneer Woman’s” books. After more than a half decade in the culinary profession- working in leadership for one of the highest volume table service restaurants in the world- I can attest that culinary students were not the end all to beat all of line or prep cooks. The certification and title of “Chef” does not indicate abilities in a practical application. One’s knowledge of how to create a Béchamel from scratch does not indicate ability to lead a staff through dinner rush.
This same principle holds true in my second career within the trades, and frame construction. It is a sad reality that many who have passed their CRB, CBC or even CGC (all contractors exams), have been caught scamming clients through poor craftsmanship and even worse business prowess. If you don’t believe me, ask any licensing board what contractors to avoid and you will likely find they are all still licensed “experts”, despite the complaints against them.
As a student of history for more than 15 years, I have read countless volumes about many topics. African American history post reconstruction; domestic effects of WWII on the State of Florida; constitutional law and application of theory (through case study); and of course, many- many reviews of local, state and federal legislative proposals. Through all this I have learned one absolute truth: credentials will never beat a combination of EXPERIENCE and COMMON SENSE.
Why? Because when you lack experience AND common sense, you can only view a problem in a vacuum of your perceived expertise. Even in the most extreme of examples, we still come to this same truth. If you were in need of a general surgeon to perform an appendectomy, would you choose the one fresh from med school, or the one with 20 years’ experience- who also knows to look for extenuating circumstances that may be related?
Government is no different. After 2 years of “follow the science”, “trust the experts” and “this model works in (xyz)”, is there much question in your mind that the experts seem to be stunted by their particular viewpoint? The practical application has seldom worked out as the experts have insisted, they would. Whether we are speaking about medical issues in covid; whether it’s the ecological planning around water conveyance and storage here in Florida; or even just something as simple as business licensing at the local level- we see the same all come to fold: lack of achieved goals and an abundance of collateral damage. Vaccination rates from proven medicines are in great decline; we spend billions to restore the Kissimmee River to its natural state compared to its straightening years ago; Tobacco regs have been preempted in Florida since 1985 (Sorry M.C. commission- your 2020 ordinance was not preempted after passage- but decades before). We see time and time again, that the experts are working in their bubble, with little will to look at the practical application. Even today as I write this, I reflect on a contested ordinance through M.C. BoCC that clearly is faulted and primed for failure. Even a simpleton with no legal background (like myself), can read the ordinance and find its problematic nature.
So, what’s the solution? Reinstate common sense, of course! Easier said than done, for sure, but still the bottom-line answer. You see, that’s the difference between the experts and those with experience and common sense. The experts will tell you all the details and intricacies of what must be done to execute their brilliant and infallible plans. Us non-experts look at the realities of what is on the ground and what are the likely results of an action based on those realities. From there, the plan is developed.
I’m no expert, but I do know a thing or two. As such, I plan to continue using my voice to tell our elected officials my opinion on the matter and to encourage their “experts” to think outside the boxes they keep themselves in.
One final question:
Who are you, and how will you show it?