Scott Tibbs

The idolatry of qualifications

By Scott Tibbs, February 22, 2023

If an Olympic decathlete with three doctorates in various mathematical disciplines says 2+2=5 and a high school dropout says 2+2=4, who is correct? In our culture today, there are some who would question the dropout and attack his "credentials" for challenging the stated answer of the man with three terminal degrees. Unless you have appropriate "qualifications," your answer is discarded.

We have an idolatry of qualifications today. We do not think critically about whether an answer is correct, but what letters the person making the statement has behind his name. But the question is not whether someone has a doctorate or a college degree or official training. The question is whether what someone is saying is factual and logical.

Often when someone says something, the question is this: "What are YOUR qualifications to be talking about this subject?" But this dishonest "question" is almost never asked in good faith. It is almost always designed to silence people who are saying things we do not like. It is bullying, gaslighting and snobbery.

We saw this in action a couple weeks ago when a Tennessee legislator grilled Matt Walsh on his "credentials" to speak to "gender affirming care" for children with gender dysphoria. Of course, it is important to point out that the Democrat who challenged Walsh's credentials is not a doctor. He is an attorney. So the same question could be turned back to him. Should the esteemed legislator give up his vote and his seat to a medical doctor so that someone more qualified could form policy on health care issues?

This is not to say that qualifications do not matter. If I am flying on a passenger airplane, I would not want an attorney to be the pilot. I would also not want an attorney to perform a colonoscopy on me or fix the transmission in my automobile. I would want an attorney to draw up a financial contract or a will.

But much of the obsession with "qualifications" and "credentials" today is not about finding the best person to do a job, but as a way for The Establishment to silence dissent in the public square. We must not allow ourselves to be intimidated into silence, especially when we have facts and logic on our side. The people with the terminal degrees do not have a monopoly on truth, and they certainly do not have a monopoly on morality.

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