Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Eight Principles Of Incompetence

It is no secret that the two recurring themes in APOV are A) intellectual sloth; and B) the day-to-day expression, or symptom, of intellectual sloth - incompetence. Throughout my writings and explorations of these two themes, I have come to realize that there are actually general principles, or laws, which govern human incompetence.

After further research, thinking and pondering, I now feel confident to present to you my final, "official", Eight Principles of Incompetence:

Zeroth Principle: Incompetence is driven by intellectual sloth.
First Principle: Incompetence surrounds itself with incompetence.
Second Principle: Incompetence is ethics-impaired.
Third Principle: Incompetence abhors transparency and accountability.
Fourth Principle: Incompetence does or says anything to defend itself.
Fifth Principle: Incompetence always supports incompetence.
Sixth Principle: Violence is the last refuge of incompetence.
Seventh Principle: Incompetence is nothing but consistent with itself.


Allow me to explain succinctly each principle, along with a few examples in support of each.

Zeroth Principle - As I have written before, "Intellectual sloth is a human character flaw. It pushes any person who is guilty of it to wallow in ignorance, finding security in absolute ideologies, philosophies of thoughts, tenets of faith or various dogmas, without seeking to understand them fully or even less to question them. A person guilty of intellectual sloth is constantly in search of the quick-and-easy and instant gratification (...) Incidentally, a person guilty of intellectual sloth is egocentric and selfish, even greedy, in his/her immature search for facility and instant gratification. Furthermore, such a person refuses to accept any fact of reality which confronts, rattles, or even invalidates, the comfort of one's “convictions”. To this effect, such a person will be arrogant, if not contemptuous, towards anything and anyone that confronts his/her ignorance generated by intellectual sloth".

To this, I also added that one who is afflicted with intellectual sloth is often deluded by intellectual vanity and invariably becomes a slave of expediency. Furthermore, everything is about image and appearance, instead of substance. Truthiness, instead of truth. All of these characteristics underlie incompetence - whether as nations, as communities, as citizens, as blue-collar/white-collar workers, as parents, and/or as thinking, reasoning human beings. In short, intellectual sloth transforms any adult person who is guilty of it into an irresponsible and reactionary child or adolescent, who lives only in the “now” while remaining blind to “yesterday” and “tomorrow". Such a person thus becomes incompetent - in dealing/composing with reality, or in at least trying to understand it.

Examples in support: Religious fundamentalism; Trent Lott (R-MS)'s "brilliant" idea of an electrified fence to curb illegal goat immigration; The "reality-based community" quote from an anonymous Bush aide (Who can forget this one?); The infantile/adolescent view of the world as a conflict between Good and Evil (as exposed by Glenn Greenwald); The cherry-picking of intelligence to justify the Iraq War; Bush's self-proclamations as a "War President", as "The Decider", or as "The Commander Guy"; Cheney's adherence to, and being a proponent of, the Unitary Executive theory; Bush's dismissal of an EPA global warming report as a "report put out by the bureaucracy"; The fatuous and vapid attitudes of MSM stars with regards to bloggers (one of numerous examples here); Bush's infamous signing statements for hundreds of laws; And so many other examples, especially from neocons and fundamentalists, which are exposed and discussed all over the internet (including in virtually all of my previous entries).

First Principle - Incompetents do not realize their own incompetence (intellectual vanity, remember?) and rarely recognize de facto competence in others. In addition, the incompetent distrusts anyone who shows signs of actual competence, should he/she somehow recognize it, because competents not only make the incompetent look bad, but are most likely to question him/her. Furthermore, incompetents find security and comfort in echo chambers - consequently, loyalty to self, as well as to same ideology/beliefs/party, overrides all considerations in the incompetent's petty mind (i.e. cronyism rules). To this effect, incompetents will seek to bring all those around them to their level. Therefore, incompetents are always surrounded by like-minded, and likewise, incompetents. In addition, in this context, incompetence always rewards incompetence. Some call this "functionning inside the bubble", I call it "herd mentality" (especially in the context of the Fifth Principle).

Examples in support: The neoconservatives' dismissal of "science", "objectivity", and "truth" as guises for an ulterior, leftist agenda; From the Bush administration: Harriet Miers, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, Michael Brown, et al.; The Washington Beltway social circle of MSM/punditry elites; And, again, so many other examples, which are exposed and discussed all over the internet (including in virtually all of my previous entries).

Second Principle - Consider the characteristics bestowed upon incompetents by their intellectual sloth, as outlined in the Zeroth Principle, along with what I have written before: "(...) it is a fact that those individuals who are 'corrupted' by power are inevitably revealed at their core to be selfish, greedy, covetous, paranoid or fearful. Consequently, these use power expediently as a tool for the wasteful satisfaction of their every whim, want and need, or as a weapon to aim recklessly at their outwardly-projected inner demons. In short: only incompetents abuse power". Incompetents cheat, lie, misuse, "backstab" and abuse anything and everything in order to get their way - and they always make perfectly quaint rationalizations, as well as giving themselves a deluded moral highground (or authority), to justify their wrongdoings. In other words, incompetents are morally hypocritical and ethically impaired, because of their intellectual sloth-driven reasoning/emotional immaturity, egocentricity, intellectual vanity/intolerance, and slavery to expediency.

Examples in support: Have fun with this Google search and this one as well; It goes without saying that there are so many examples, which are exposed and discussed all over the internet (including in virtually all of my previous entries).

Third Principle - When you take into account the Zeroth, First and Second Principles, it becomes all too clear why incompetents prefer to do whatever they do under the cover of concealment and/or secrecy ... and thus why they abhor transparency and accountability. Not surprisingly, whistleblowers, which are inherently viewed as "traitors", constitute a veritable danger in the intellectual sloth-driven paranoid, petty minds of incompetents.

Examples in support: The Office of the Vice-Presidency under Dick Cheney: a few of numerous examples here, here, here and here; The US Federal government hid a $1.3 trillion loss last year; Try also this Google search for size; And once again, it goes without saying that there are so many other examples, which are exposed and discussed all over the internet (including in virtually all of my previous entries).

Fourth Principle - Because of the previous four principles, incompetents never take responsibility for their wrongdoings, or those of other incompetents within their "circle". This is what I wrote before: "Incompetents will do and say anything to defend themselves and other incompetents, including disassembling, obfuscating, lying and blaming others". Here's something else that I also wrote previously: "They lie, they misrepresent, they use decoy arguments and make ad hominem attacks. For them, the use of duplicity, of secrecy, of arguments of (non-existent) conspiracy, of fact (and non-fact) selectivity/cherry-picking, of quacks/fake experts, as well as putting forth logical fallacies, are simply means to an end." For incompetents, everything is about spin and truthiness - never about facts and truth. Even when they are blatantly caught, incompetents continue to react and reason with their intellectual sloth-driven infantile/adolescent immaturity - they will deny that they did anything wrong or that they have lied, then they will blame/attack (read: character assassinate) their "accusers". I call this: "Lie and Cry".

Examples in support: Tony Snow on Bush's veto of the last stem cells research bill: "This is the President putting science before ideology"; Today's pearl of wisdom from Gen. Petraeus in support of the never-ending Iraq occupation; The White House on Cheney having exempted his office from a presidential executive order designed to safeguard classified national security information: "It’s a little bit of a non-issue"; I provide more examples here and here; Also, have fun with this Google search; And yet again, there are numerous other examples which are exposed and discussed all over the internet (including virtually all of my previous entries).

Fifth Principle - Because of the "herd mentality" of incompetents (see First Principle above), they will always support and/or rabidly defend other incompetents - after all, in the incompetent's paranoid and petty mind, if one of his/her "kin" is allowed to be exposed, then surely he/she would be next! Consequently, incompetents use profusely the Fourth Principle (above) whenever other incompetents require support, protection or defense.

Examples in support: The (infamous) 109th Congress's tacit support of the Bush administration; I also give you Plamegate; Again, dixit the White House on Cheney having exempted his office from a presidential executive order designed to safeguard classified national security information: "It’s a little bit of a non-issue"; Again, I provide more examples here, here and here; And yet again, there are numerous other examples which are exposed and discussed all over the internet (including virtually all of my previous entries). Caveat: because of their inherent intellectual sloth-driven mendacious nature, incompetents have no qualms turning against another incompetent, should this poor sap be utterly (and hopelessly) exposed - as a result, other incompetents will use (again) the Fourth Principle profusely to "distance" themselves from another such "terminally-besieged" incompetent individual (a current case in point discussed here, as one example among many).

Sixth Principle - (This axiom originates from the works of Isaac Asimov). Here is what I wrote before: "Intellectual sloth reaps ignorance. In turn, ignorance festers fear which, as we know all-too-well, acts as a powerful motor in driving irrational thinking and actions. Furthermore, fear is quite expert in the exercise of nullifying any semblance of intellectual and emotional maturity in people – in other words, fear transforms a supposedly adult (and thus mature) person into an irresponsible, reactionary, judgement-impaired, and comfort-craving, child or adolescent. One who searches for easy and absolute answers (...) And such intellectual sloth, through the fear which it causes in those people guilty of it, eventually brings in turn the incapacity (or lack of willingness) to deal face-to-face with the unknown and the uncertain. Thereafter, the table is set at last for intolerance and hate to arise: the eternal and real justifications (although never self-admited) behind violence in any of its shapes or forms".

To this, I later added the following: "Ignorance breeds fear. Fear fosters hate. In turn, hate leads inevitably to violence (...) when will we acknowledge the fact, once and for all, that it is the incompetents among us who consistently promulgate violence as a solution for anything, to everything? (...) we must strive to forget nevermore that rationalizations supporting the use of violence - other than the need for the rightful exercise of self-defense when set upon by a genuinely clear, present and immediate danger - invariably constitute deceitful fabrications meant to conceal, disguise or justify incompetence ... including our very own for embracing such mendacity." Ergo: violence is the last refuge of incompetence.

Examples in support: The beating to death in Texas of an innocent (Mexican) man following a simple car accident; The Iraq War; The recent "conquest" of the Gaza Strip by Hamas; Michael Graham's solution to counter the positions of Hillary Clinton and Michael Moore; The prevalent rattling of sabers for an intervention against Iran (with more examples of such insane rattling discussed here, here, here, here and here, among many others); Last year's reckless bombing of Lebanon by Israel; And yet again, there are numerous other examples which are exposed and discussed all over the internet (including many of my previous entries). Heck - just scan through the History of Humanity, while you're at it ...

Seventh Principle - As long as incompetents do not acknowledge their affliction with intellectual sloth, they will stubbornly refuse to change. Some people call this hubris. To this effect, incompetents are known to repeat the same mistakes again and again, because of their arrogance and utter fright at being exposed for what they truly are - and thus, they find themselves unknowingly enacting Franklin's, and/or Einstein's, very definition of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Examples in support: Go back to those examples given for the previous principles. Also, there are numerous examples which are exposed and discussed all over the internet (including virtually all of my previous entries). Heck - and as I have written before - simply keep on reading/watching/following the news - this principle is likewise being verified again and again, day in and day out ... in fact, all Principles presented herein will be verified over and over.

So, there you have it - my Eight Principles of Incompetence.

I have presented these to you in the humble hope that henceforth you will "amuse" yourselves at spotting them (whether singly or in combination) whenever you read/watch the news - at least, I know I will ...

Peace - and keep on rockin'.


(Originally posted on 06/22/2007. Time-stamp modified to 06/23/2007 in order to act as a "re-post")

(Cross-posted at DKos at Suzie-Q, at Diatribune, at Progressive Bloggers, and at Progressive Historians)

27 comments:

  1. Excellent list of principles and I'm sure had the space permitted you had many more.

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  2. Thanks, Larry ;-)

    Actually, these 8 ones are pretty much it - everything else is likely to fall one way or another under any one of these eight.

    Then again, nothing's perfect ...

    (LOL)

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  3. Eight principles of Incompetence really does show the drab side of our government

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  4. "Incidentally, a person guilty of intellectual sloth is egocentric and selfish, even greedy, in his/her immature search for facility and instant gratification. Furthermore, such a person refuses to accept any fact of reality which confronts, rattles, or even invalidates, the comfort of one's “convictions”. To this effect, such a person will be arrogant, if not contemptuous, towards anything and anyone that confronts his/her ignorance generated by intellectual sloth."

    This could have been the Zeroth Principle even though you call it; intellectual sloth ... This is Bush in every way.

    I'm sorry to comment on each reference, I find myself doing that a lot.

    Within the eight Principles are great (might also be), Principles.

    I see these Principles and more anytime this man appears on the News.

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  5. Holly: yes - but it shows a *whole lot* more about our societies ...

    Let's talk: no worries, friend - you can comment in any which way you like - your input is valued here ("word"!) :-D

    To everyone:

    I just came back from an insanely a-w-e-s-o-m-e show by Steve Hill - he’s a blues/rhytm and blues guitar virtuoso … and he turned damn smack into hard rock/grunge/heavy metal!

    Did I say it was an insanely a-w-e-s-o-m-e show?

    In any case - thank you all for your comments. I always appreciate feeback/criticism - it is the "fuel" which motors discussion and conversation ... which is the overall point of blogging and all. ;-)

    But I have to say that I am thoroughly disappointed with this article - it got barely any traction at all (it wasn’t even a “rescued” diary at Dkos - go figure).

    My sense is that people are *not* listening - or they *don’t want* to. They do not (or don't want to) see the forest for the trees.

    But I sort of expected this - hence my next entry tomorrow … it’ll be a dozy (because the damn problem is not *just Bush, or Harper or the neocons* … the problem goes mu-uch deeper than that).

    And if folks don’t want to “listen” *then* … well … that’ll be just a *damn* shame.

    For *all* of us …

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  6. And the person who most thouoroughly represents each principle is:

    1. GW Bush
    2. GW Bush
    3. GW Bush
    4. GW Bush
    5. GW Bush
    6. GW Bush
    7. GW Bush
    8. GW Bush

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  7. Darn it - the caveats of RL have struck again ... I'm afraid I won't be able to finish my next entry for today - but it will be definitely posted tomorrow (Sunday).

    Sorry, folks ...

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  8. I have to agree with TomCat! ;)

    Excellent Mentarch!

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  9. Sorry to comment a second time Mentarch, but I must say Tomcat makes me laugh

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  10. Don't be shy, Holly - comment away!

    ;-)

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  11. Wow - wonders never cease!

    Just thought I'd let you good folks know that the DKos diary version of this entry got highlighted by being "rescued" late last night.

    That is my third in a month and my second in a week. I am beffudled!

    However, this is great motivation for me to "keep at it" ... ;-)

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  12. Perhaps we should replace the Ten Commandments with the Eight Principles. :-)

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  13. Okay, listing myself under "incompetent", the other day, I tried to comment on this post but could not find a comment box. It never occured to me that I was supposed to click on "P.O.Vs".

    I LOVE the post. I particularly love shining the light of truth on "ignorance festers fear." And now that I've found your blog, I am listing you on my own blog roll.

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  14. Jood: that's not incompetence - just plain, passing absent-mindness ... happens to everyone (myslef included!) ;-)

    Thank you for the link - I reciprocated with you blog.

    And I'm glad you enjoyed the post ;-)

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  15. I hope not. You are needed as cannon fodder in the Global War on Bush. ;-)

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  16. I have linked to this post. I hope you do not mind. :)

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  17. Not at all - heheheheheh ;-)

    (much appreciated!)

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  18. For those among you who would be curious about this: I found and interesting take on my Eight Principles of Incompetence here (although I wish the author would've properly linked to me ... but, oh well ...).

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  19. "an", not "and" (darn those typos ... sigh) ;-)

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  20. Found another take on the Principles here (the author linked to the DKos version of this entry).

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  21. Fifth Principle: Incompetence always supports incompetence.

    This is the one we come across a lot at work - you see people getting promoted who don't deserve to be - but then you look at the caliber of the person doing the promoting or the one lobbying for it and it becomes crystal clear why

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  22. Random Magnus: yup - the Fiifth Principle fits quite well with Peter's Principle, whereby one gets to be promoted upwards to one's level of (professional) incompetence within corporate structures ...

    And yes - this happens because of my own First Principle ... ;-)

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  23. Ooops - "Magus" - not magnus (typos again - arrrgh! LOL)

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  24. Hmm. Just came across this via a link in DailyKos. I think it's an excellent analysis of incompetence that survives translation into any social milieu — education, business, government. Thank you!

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Please feel free to comment on APOV. However, remember to keep in check your tone and respect for all here. Let rational, reasoning, enthousiastic and passionate conversations and discussions rule first and foremost in our participatory democracy, so as to facilitate the free exchange of reality-based facts and ideas. In between, do not forget to have fun and enjoy yourselves ... in other words: keep on rockin'! - Mentarch