(P1): Skin in the game is more important than expertise

Black and White photo of world War ! soldiers charging out of a trench into enemy fire
Charging Toward Death on Someone Else’s Orders


We have been trained to simply accept the decisions and opinions of experts all of our lives.

But, people with disabilities have often learned that expertise does not assure respect for our lives and our choices.

It isn’t that some people don’t know more than others about some topic or skill. I certainly wouldn’t want just anyone to perform brain surgery on me. It’s that there is no such thing as isolated expertise in the real world. Every expert has another agenda (their career, their income, their reputation, their kids going to college, their political beliefs, their religion, their drive to prey on and exploit others, and so on), And when you ask someone for their expertise, you never know what else you are getting along with it.

Also, anyone can and does claim expertise these days and the standard we have for judging that is becoming less and less useful as the world becomes more and more chaotic.

We also tend to think that somehow people who are disinterested in some issue are objective. But the reality is that their disinterest means they are likely to hold whatever stereotypes and bigotry are prevalent in the general society. Nowhere is this more obvious than in opinions about the disability community.

A better standard for judging decisions and opinions, especially when they affect your life, is to ask whether the decider or pundit has any “skin in the game”? Is their life affected in a meaningful way like yours is by their decision or opinion? Or are they so distant from your concerns that their decision or opinion can just reflect their interests regardless of how it impacts you?

Then discount the value of their opinion or decision accordingly.

The larger the system, the higher the decision level, and the more distant from you, the more that decision or opinion reflects their interests, not yours.

Author: disabilitynorm

hubby2jill, advocate50+yrs, change strategist, trainer, geezer, Tom and Pepper the wundermutts