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When Incompetents Cluster

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A writer-friend of mine sent me a review of  a Cornell study from 1999, from a military website, about South Africa. You may find it interesting on a several planes, but essentially it confirms what we’ve always suspected, that incompetents often don’t know they’re incompetent. And when they are put in charge of a project, rather than shrink away from the task, they embrace it with vigor, then fail with pride…and denial.

And when there are several of them, as crony political systems all over the world encourage, they tend to cluster.

You can see why this would be of concern to the military, for even back to Vietnam days, one of the first missions of basic training was to unlearn many of the things that had wrongly been instilled in enlistees by public schools about self-esteem. That’s why they start out by calling them “pewks” and “maggots” and let them work their way up to being human from there. (Yeah, there’s also mama’s apron strings, but that’s another issue.)

The military is the one sector of our society that must confront head-on this wrong reality of Jethro and Elly Mae’s high self-regard for the smiley faces they earned in 3rd Grade for putting on the chalk board that 2+2 equaled 5.

One of the principal missions of the military is to early-identify and tear down that over-inflated self, for you see, the kid isn’t necessarily stupid, just incompetent. He has no skills he can be certain of, and he not only has to be taught several skills, but thanks to Teacher, he must also be taught to recognize them and know he actually has them.

As you know, a high opinion to think one can do things he has never been trained to do can lead to inglorious results, even tragedy.  Just look at the photo above and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

From the first grade on, incompetents tend to cluster. (So do competents, so you’d never recognize them on the playground.) Now I won’t get into the psychology of this process, or how public schools aggravate (often encourage) it for reasons unrelated to the product our military has to repair just to save lives. Just understand that outside the military and the private economy job sector (also known as “real world”) a lot of people can move well past puberty and never have those shortcomings challenged.

The old lawyer’s refrain is, “If you can’t beat ’em with brilliance, baffle ’em with booshway” and you will always find these children on the booshway side of the campus, where pleasing Teacher is still the shortest, and least taxing, road to career security, where, every step of the way one is surrounded with the same kids from 3rd grade who also got smiley faces for not knowing richard (sic) about all the things that really mattered in the world.

This is the clustered world of academe.

Again, reviewing the photo above, we realize after three generations of incestuous incompetence, where we now have old incompetents tutoring and tapping out new incompetents in the academy, and now politics, we are swimming in really dangerous waters.

According to the report, this self-esteem deficiency runs the gamut, showing up in emotional reasoning, raw knowledge of facts and logical reasoning. Remember that story I told awhile back about my friend, the consultant from Dallas, who tested seniors in the engineering department at Prairie View A&M, to find that none of them could do a simple logarithm? Yeah, he reported, it was always the plan they would be given degrees so that they could get admin jobs in the government that required a BS in Engineering. Racial sinecures. “But someday,” my friend warned (in 1978) “the bureaucrats will forget the scam, and start letting those ‘engineers’ build bridges.”

That day has arrived. Again refer to the photo above.  For now we know they will attack any job they are unqualified to do with gusto and purpose, up to, as we have seen in recent years, campaigning for it, while always being able to find a host of other reasons to describe why the bridge fell down they had been hired to design and construct.

Yes, Karl Marx figures in, for he was a smart man, but also a blithering incompetent. He may have been the first really smart incompetent, certainly the most fateful, in terms of world history and man’s freedom. He saw a thing he didn’t like (I have my own theory as to why) then reached out to all sorts of men just like him in Europe, who found what he said perfectly correct, and thus they began a religion of sorts. They clustered.

But it was all based on utter incompetence, for they wanted to do something they were totally unqualified to do, but were so utterly pissed off because someone they considered so very beneath them was doing, and doing well, (capitalists) they just had to step in.

Again, look at the photo above.

Condensed into a single sentence, Karl Marx wanted to tell the whole world how to build an automobile, how to pay for, and how to drive it, without ever once being able to pop the hood.

Lesson: Never let any academician tell you anything about anything unless he can first change the oil in your car.

If you don’t, well then, we’re clustered, if you know what I mean.

Again, refer to the photo above.

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About the Author:

Vietnam era Army JAG, Asia, 17-yr Cold Warrior in Soviet-China Bloc green zone, Been shot at and hit, but in crime, not war; twice-broken nose for lying (same fellow) hence good law school candidate; Could have been Somebody in Corporate world and politics, but at every crossroad chose to be a man with a tawdry past instead. Gave up law and am now a redeemed American.
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