Tag Archives: competence

Media Man, by The Zman

Most of the commentariat doesn’t really know how to do anything useful. From The Zman at theburningplatform.com:

There are many things that one can point to in the current age as the cause of what we are experiencing. Social crisis is always the result of many factors. There is never one single cause. Even so, examining the individual causes has some utility. It helps provide a little sanity for those living through it. If nothing else, it is like the band playing on the Titanic in that if provides those who are condemned to live through the crisis with a bit of dignity as they sink into the abyss.

Anyway, one of the things that has made modern life such a mess is the vast chorus of nitwits who fill our lives with their voices. They repeat whatever has been placed in their hymnals by people with agendas. One person says something that gets them some attention and then everyone repeats it. The thing is, these people position themselves as authorities on various topics, so when they repeat what they hear, they inevitably lend authority to it. The fact is, they know not what they say.

A good example is this post at the ironically named American Conservative. The post is the generic libertarian boilerplate about the creative destruction and how this means retail will go the way of the buggy whip. In this case, the writer argues that GameStop, the company at the heart of the short squeeze initiated by a gang of retail investors, is a dead company that has no future. He thinks the run up in their shares was due to nostalgia for a bygone era of retail.

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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Nonsense, by Walter E. Williams

Short women with no talent for basketball are underrepresented in the NBA. Should we be concerned? From Walter E. Williams at lewrockwell.com:

Check out any professional and most college basketball teams. Their starting five, and most of their other 10 players, are black, as is 80% of the NBA. This does not come anywhere close to the diversity and inclusion sought by the nation’s social justice warriors. Both professional and college coaches have ignored and threw any pretense of seeking diversity and inclusiveness. My question to you is: Would a basketball team be improved if coaches were required to include ethnically diverse players for the sake of equity? I have no idea of what your answer might be but mine would be: “The hell with diversity, equity and inclusion. I am going to recruit the best players and do not care if most of them turn out to be black players.” Another question: Do you think that any diversity-crazed college president would chastise his basketball coach for lack of diversity and inclusiveness?

Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (National Accelerator Laboratory) is home to the world’s most powerful experiments, fastest supercomputers and top-notch physics researchers. Much of SLAC’s research is on particle accelerators that are complicated machines that are designed, engineered and operated to produce high-quality particle beams and develop clues to the fundamental structure of matter and the forces between subatomic particles. You can bet that their personnel makeup exhibits very little concern about racial diversity, equity and inclusion. The bulk of their scientists is not only Americans of European and Asian ancestry but mostly men. My question to you is: What would you do to make SLAC more illustrative of the racial, ethnic and sexual diversity of America? As for me, my answer would be the same one that I gave in the basketball example: I am going to recruit the brightest scientists and I do not care if most of them turn out to be men of European and Asian ancestry.

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The Unprofitably Incompetent, by Robert Gore

Those who can’t do, demand.

Profit propels civilization. When a producer can make an item or provide a service at a cost lower than a customer values that item or service, and the customer has the means and the freedom to buy, the difference between what’s paid over cost is profit. That profit is the producer’s incentive to produce, and in turn funds the producer’s consumption, savings, and investment, which creates other producers’ profits. Profit is the necessary prerequisite for consumption, savings, investment, and consequently, progress.

Many of us profit every day. We offer services and provide goods, supporting ourselves at a cost that is lower than what we’re paid. We’re profitably competent, engaging in honest production and peaceful, voluntary exchange. The only alternatives to profitable competence are living off of someone else’s profitable competency via inheritance or charity, or criminality—theft via fraud or violence.

Criminals cloak their thefts in all sorts of justifications, some of which, like socialism, become full-blown political doctrines. Ironically, a larcenous litany of demands and rationalizations are efflorescing at a time when whatever is left of the overall profit pool has been drained. It has been mortgaged multiple times, just as hordes of the unprofitably incompetent, who had no hand in producing it, clamor for their “fair share.” They’ll insist the profitably competent figure out how to pay for it, but the fair share of nothing is nothing, political promises to the contrary notwithstanding.

“Your means, my ends; I wish, you fulfill,” is the foundational fantasy of modern governance. The favored groups shelter in their safe spaces—government and its rackets, crony corporations, academia, the media, and Hollywood—living on the delusion that there will always be someone who will produce, without question or protest, for their benefit. Upon that foundation they’ve constructed a phantasmagorical edifice of illusory constructs and passages to nowhere.

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Affirmative Action and the American Mind: If Any, by Fred Reed

Pretend that knowing the cultural aspects of various medical regimes is the same thing as knowing medicine, and a lot of people will needlessly die. From Fred Reed at theburningplatform.com:

“Affirmative action” means hiring people because they can’t do the job well. Near-synonyms are “diversity,” meaning groups that cannot do the job well, and  “inclusiveness,” which means seeking people who you know cannot do the job well.  These underpin American society, and have ruined education. For some time the sciences seemed less susceptible to the prevailing enstupidation because mathematics would present an impenetrable barrier to the the insufficiently bright. This, astonishingly, is changing. The sciences are being dumbed down to–are you surprised?–spare the feelings of included affirmative diversity.

Which somewhat curiously brings us to international politics and an aspect of scientific schooling that does not appear in the mainstream press: Psychometrists, people who endeavor to measure intelligence, universally agree that the Chinese are more intelligent than Eurowhites. So are the Koreans and Japanese. Since for the most part psychometrists are themselves white, their conclusions presumably do not spring from racial chauvinism. The Chinese advantage is measured at around five IQ points. This is not great but makes a considerable difference at the high end of the distribution.

As a matter of observable–if, to many, unwelcome–fact, virtually all of the work in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)  in America is done by whites. Blacks contribute nothing and Hispanics, to date anyway, very little. For reasons of politics we must pretend not to notice. When a piano is falling toward one’s head, one may pretend that it is not, but not for long. The arrival of the piano will ensure this.

America’s prosperity and place in the world very much depend on invention and excellence in the STEM fields. Boeing sells airliners, and provides jobs to Americans, only because its airliners are technically equal to those of AirBus. A lowering of technical capacity will have unfortunate consequences for the country.

America’s whites number at about 200 million, the Han Chinese of China about a billion–five times as many.

To continue reading: Affirmative Action and the American Mind: If Any

How to Evaluate a President, by Scott Adams

It’s way too early to write off the Trump presidency. From Scott Adams on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Mark Zuckerberg. Richard Branson. What do they all have in common, aside from wealth?

They all succeeded without the right kind of prior experience. Apparently they knew how to figure out what they needed once they started. I’ll bet they are all systems-thinkers, not goal-thinkers.

If you see the world in terms of goals, you might think President Trump has failed at every important goal so far. He didn’t get what he wanted on immigration. He hasn’t gotten his Supreme Court nomination confirmed. He hasn’t replaced Obamacare. He hasn’t defeated ISIS. He hasn’t done a lot of things he said he would do. He even had to fire General Flynn. President Trump is a big ol’ failure when it comes to goals.

Maybe that’s because Trump just started on the job. Success generally comes after you start. If you think success comes before you start, the world probably looks confusing to you.

But in any case, as I often say, goals are for losers. Systems are better. As I describe in my book, a good system is something you do every day that leads you to better outcomes, not specific objectives. For example, going to college is a good system even if you don’t know what job you might later want. Any time you learn something valuable, that’s a system. Networking with important people is a system. And so on.

To continue reading: How to Evaluate a President

The Power Elite: Bumbling Incompetents, by Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner with another piece of first-rate cynicism. From Bonner at acting-man.com:

BALTIMORE, Maryland – Is there any smarter group of homo sapiens on the planet? Or in all of history? We’re talking about Fed economists, of course.

Not only did they avoid another Great Depression by bold absurdity…giving the economy more of the one thing of which it clearly had too much – debt. They also carefully monitored the economy’s progress so as to avoid any backsliding into normalcy.

And where do we get this penetrating appraisal? From the Fed economists themselves, of course. Bloomberg:

“The U.S. Federal Reserve’s decisions to delay interest-rate hikes helped cushion the economic shocks caused by rapidly rising borrowing costs for U.S. companies from late last year through early 2016, according to economists at the New York Fed.

“By maintaining the federal funds rate lower, the FOMC managed to substantially offset the effect of tightening financial conditions on the economy,” the authors, referring to the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee, wrote in a blog post on the bank’s website on Wednesday.”

They’re geniuses. No doubt about it. That’s why they’re in charge and we’re not. They’re the elite. They run the Deep State. They may not pay the piper, but they call the tune anyway. And good on them! Who knows what prices we might discover if we were left on our own?

The gap between economic output and the debt accumulated to achieve it continues to widen…while savers are expropriated and capitalists are given an incentive to consume their capital (the “euthanasia of the rentier” propagated by Keynes has finally been achieved)

One of the endearing features of the ruling classes is their abiding faith in their own judgment. Despite inexhaustible evidence that they are bumbling incompetents, the power elite stick to their guns – literally – and to their cushy sinecures.

We are now seven years into the “recovery” supposedly engineered by the PhDs at the Fed. At a cost variously estimated between $4 trillion and $10 trillion, we have now achieved a growth rate that is about half what it was 40 years ago – before the internet and debt-based money allegedly freed the economy from earthly tethers.

And thanks to these custodians of the public weal, 99% of the families in the USA now have less wealth than they did before the crisis of ’08 began. But wait – it gets worse. It is now 45 years since the PhDs took control of America’s money. Over those four and a half decades, how much financial progress do you think the average family has made? Approximately zero.

To continue reading: The Power Elite: Bumbling Incompetents

 

She Said That? 5/27/16

From Ayn Rand (1905–1982), Russian-born American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter, The Fountainhead (1943):

It’s easy to run to others. It’s so hard to stand on one’s own record. You can fake virtue for an audience. You can’t fake it in your own eyes. Your ego is your strictest judge. They run from it. They spend their lives running. It’s easier to donate a few thousand to charity and think oneself noble than to base self-respect on personal standards of personal achievement. It’s simple to seek substitutes for competence–such easy substitutes: love, charm, kindness, charity. But there is no substitute for competence.