There seem to be people -- probably more in the US than in Europe -- who see the amateur radio bands not as a place to exercise a technical hobby but, *gasp* -- as a practical means of communication. And why not? A hand-held VHF set is cheaper than a CB radio now. In the UK it's a lot easier to get a Foundation licence than it is to get a VHF business licence from OfCom.
Such people won't be interested in any of the technical aspects of radio and -- if it is determined that their use of the AR bands is a valid one -- all they should have to do is show that they understand appropriate frequencies to use, at an appropriate power level. For such users, it seems right to me that the entry examination should be about licensing conditions. Why ask people about circuit theory, or HF propagation, even at the most rudimentary level if they have no need of it?
Of course, amateur radio begun as a technical hobby, and I understand that there's a lot of people who want to keep it that way. I can understand the appeal of a private band area where smart, technically-minded people meet to chat in a genteel fashion about their aerials. But the existence of such a thing is historical, and it stems from a time when the RF spectrum was hugely less congested, and contested, than it is now.
If I were to propose, for example, that one lane of the M1 between, say, London and Peterborough were to be reserved exclusively for members of the Amateur Car-Builders Society to test their contraptions, I doubt that I would get much traction. But, in effect, that is what we are asking for in AR. We're asking for a chunk of a shared resource -- and a world-wide shared resource at that -- to be allocated exclusively to esoteric and non-practical purposes. That's going to be increasingly difficult to justify unless AR is either (a) socially or economically useful, or (b) has a broad membership.
I have no practical need for AR -- I'm unashamedly a hobbyist; but if the price of keeping AR alive is that traditionalists have to admit people who need to be reminded where the band edges are, then that's a price we should all be willing to pay, considering what the alternative is.