Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Are All Opinions Equal?

On June 23rd 2016, Britain announced its results of the EU membership referendum: 51,89% voted to leave. Which came as a surprise to most of the world. Although the surprise about the British desire to leave wasn’t nearly as surprising as some of the reasons people voted to leave:

“To bring back bendy bananas.”
“I fancied a change.”
“I prefer the old blue passport to the European purple passport.”

The logic from these leavers is so bad that it’s almost funny. And it gets even funnier when you discover the second top Googled question in the UK on the day of the referendum outcome:

“What is the EU?”

How could uninformed people like this be given the opportunity to tear down a complex pact of solidarity that took decades to make with one stroke of a pen?

Because certain British politicians felt that experts were overrated.

Leading up to the referendum, Micheal Gove, one of the British politicians who was spearheading Brexit, famously announced, “I think the people of this country have had enough of experts.” And asked the British public to trust themselves over the professionals.

With David Cameron’s blessing, people with absolutely no clue about politics were allowed to vote Britain out. Which is exactly what happened. All because everyone’s opinion was treated as equal.

The vote of an ex-diplomat with a lifetime of experience under her belt weighed just as much as that of an 18-year-old who voted to leave just because, “It would make things more exciting.”

Is that the right way to lead a nation to prosperity? I don’t know. What I do know is that we’d hate to see that type of equality in our everyday lives.

You wouldn’t want to lie on an operating table and find out the surgeon has an honorary medical degree. You wouldn’t want a G.P. who got Cs all the way through med school. And you wouldn’t want to walk into a bank and get mortgage advice from someone who can’t spell ‘restaurant.’

We clearly don’t value everyone’s opinion the same.

So why would you let the unqualified opinions of others decide whether your country should leave a federation of states that promotes peace, freedom, and economic growth?

Giving the opinions of experts greater weight than those of the ignorant isn’t shady. It’s good sense.

Does that mean every professional should have twice the votes of an amateur? Of course not.

But perhaps it’d be better if we picked elite professionals who could make the decisions that we’re too unfit to make ourselves. Then again, can we trust professionals to act with our interests at heart instead of their own?

Whatever the answer may be, one thing is for sure: following an expert’s opinion isn’t bad, but following a weak opinion is—no matter where it came from. 

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach