It's really all in how you view them. We tend to divide our "clients" into two categories.
There are the folks that need help. These people are not idiots. They simply need assistance. When I go to get my car fixed, I am in exactly the same position that they are in - utterly ignorant, and needing help. If the auto mechanic treated me the way that some folks get treated on IRC, then he'd lose a lot of business. One is no better than these folks because one knows more in one puny little area of knowledge. Conversely, these folks are probably very knowledgeable in an area in which I'm completely ignorant.
Then there are the folks that refuse to be helped - either because they beligerently refuse to provide information, or answer questions, that will assist their solution. Or because they refuse to help themselves by doing stuff like reading documentation. These people are idiots, and deserve only to be ignored. Life is entirely too short to get frustrated with them.