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Monday, March 07, 2005

"Distributed Stupidity"

An attempt to explain tyrrany Interesting post on governmental "distributed stupidity" over at Samzidata. Read it, then come on back and read my response. I'll wait. ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ OK, back now? Here's my response to both the post itself and a comment made by a reader on the site. I think you can figure the context. I'm too lazy to re-write it, so you'll just have to take the comment as I made it on that site. ................ "I don't like the idea of 'entrepreneur' being used to describe such people. I get the idea and I agree with you, but an entrepreneur is someone who satisfies a need or want which is noble and hence valued whereas the products of the people you describe are shunned."–Bernie Matt MacIntosh (someone else leaving a comment) rightly points out that the problem is that the products of the political class are not shunned. And neither is the political class itself. And it's not a right or left "fervor" problem. It's simply a political class problem created by and encouraged by a lazy, sub-literate, greedy electorate that continues to reward such behavior by the political class. Sure, some of the rascals get thrown out—"Dascheled" as it were—but only the most egregious examples and only when it's not going to impact political business as usual. And yes, every now and then cream rises, but how rare and shocking is the idea of a decent person of unusual ability entering the political class? This idea of "distributed stupidity" is nothing new, of course. A good term for the over-arching subjects of "Departmental Ditties" and Barrack Room Ballads"? The concentration of evil and stupidity in the political and civil servant class is something Kipling dealt with extensively. Particularly apropos might be these lines from "A Servant When He Reigneth"—
"Three things make earth unquiet And four she cannot brook The godly Agur counted them And put them in a book -- Those Four Tremendous Curses With which mankind is cursed; But a Servant when He Reigneth Old Agur entered first... ...So, when his Folly opens The unnecessary hells, A Servant when He Reigneth Throws the blame on some one else. His vows are lightly spoken, His faith is hard to bind, His trust is easy boken, He fears his fellow-kind. The nearest mob will move him To break the pledge he gave..."
(Read the rest of "A Servant When he Reigneth" here.) Oh, and h.t. to Glenn Reynolds for pointing to the Samzidata post.
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