If you’re not feeling well, would you think that talking to someone who has watched all the seasons to ER is an okay substitute for seeing a doctor with a medical degree and residency completed? Yet when it comes to stuff like foreign relations or domestic politics, it sometimes seems like everyone – everyone – has an opinion after reading this or that news story on social media.
That’s probably the point during the 2007 Iraq surge when the IAs going to my unit were told, “You’re not allowed to have an opinion here until you’ve been here at least 90 days.”
Probably the point when an (Israeli) expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict here says “the problem with Israelis is that they talk without a #foundation of knowledge.”
I don’t think anyone really becomes “informed” by reading social media articles. Things like that don’t provide nuance and perspective. Reading long-form (investigative) journalism and histories (actual books) at least begins to set a proper “foundation”, that then provides appropriate context and perspective to whatever news item of the day pops up on our feeds. It’s more than just “knowing facts” – its also about having a certain sense of proportion and judgment to evaluate those facts to see how they might be relevant in a larger context. “Widen your lens” kind of stuff. Ideally, you’ve both studied something (med school) and lived it (residency), if you’re really going to be dispensing actual conclusions about something.
Otherwise, a hypothesis is just a hypothesis, and those are fun to toss around, too. But probably shouldn’t be taken *so seriously that people need to get mad and feel they have to post angry comments on each others’ Facebook pages.
Anyway, if you get sick, don’t be like “hey, you watch ER, can I ask you a medical question?”


“I spent 30 years getting ready for thst decision that took 30 seconds.”


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