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IF YOU ARE PROFESSIONAL YOU CANNOT BE OBJECTIVE | 2005-01-22

The definition of the word "professional" is that you get paid for what you do. If you get paid for what you do your professionalism is ALWAYS biased.

A lot of bias comes from wanting to get paid more for what you do. Professional electricians and carpenters will naturally prefer union shop rules that keep people who are not union certified from being electricians or carpenters, because this decreases the number of people who can compete with them and keep their wages down.

This rule holds for working folks and it holds for highly educated professionals like doctors. Whatever reduces the power and income of doctors will be opposed by most doctors, and every one of those doctors will think he is being purely objective.

The fact is that doctors know more about medicine than the rest of us do. So why don't we just let doctors decide all public policy on medicine?

We don't turn public medical policy entirely over to doctors because we know doctors have biases. We also know that doctors don't even know they have those biases. But they're there, or we could let a panel of doctors take over Medicare, no questions asked.

Generals know more about the military than we do. So would you be willing to turn all questions of military expenditures and when and where to go to war over to generals?

Anybody who wanted to do that would be provided with a free visit to the funny farm.