I don't think I'm confusing it - maybe not articulating myself correctly. (Or maybe you're right, and I'm not understanding you)
From your reply there - I would I say I agree with you. Technique (to a certain point) is the easy part now. As an example: Prior to digital you had to know how to expose right. Maybe there are some professionals that relied on the fact that back in the film days others who didn't know how to expose properly would pay for a professional, rather than risk using up a whole role of film and getting all underexposed/overexposed images and waiting days to find out.
Now - that's no longer as much of an edge. Almost anyone can go out, take a photo, view, correct the exposure and try again. As such, if professionals want to compete with the less skilled - they require more than technique now. Maybe once this was all some required to make a living, but not now - they have to 'constantly' be ahead of the field.
It's my opinion that if people are going to part with their cash to pay anyone to pay someone else to do anything -they need to be able to do more (and be seen to be able to do more) than what the customer could do themselves. Not just for photography. If a professional can't do that - well, maybe it's time they consider another field. I don't think the customer is wrong to use themselves, or a friend as opposed to a photographer if they believe they can do just as good a job.
I do believe that Amateurs are destroying some professionals careers - but I think this would be more the less skilled (or potentially lazy) professionals, rather than what I would consider the real good ones.
Technique has ALWAYS been the easy part.
"Photography is a medium of formidable contradictions. It is both ridiculously easy and almost impossibly difficult. It is easy because its technical rudiments can readily be mastered by anyone with a few simple instructions. It is difficult because, while while the artist working in any other medium begins with a blank surface and gradually brings his conception into being, the photographer is the only imagemaker who begins with the picture completed. His emotions, his knowledge, and his native talent are brought into focus and fixed beyond recall the moment the shutter of his camera has closed." - Edward Steichen
"The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don't know what to do with it." - Edward Weston
"Photography is an intransigent medium, and it's very hard to express yourself. After you get a certain technical facility — and from the very first I took 'good' pictures — you've got to get at what you feel." - Roy DeCarava
"Today photographers are much more interested in setting up strobe lights and doing technical things. To me, both then and now, technique is not that important." - Alfred Eisenstaedt