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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

All We Have To Fear Is Incompetence

Franklin D. Roosevelt famously stated that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. That may have been true in 1932, when size and reach of the federal government was small. Now our greatest fear should be the government's inability to competently undertake the tasks and powers it has assumed. Or, as Matthew Continetti states in his op-ed, "The Case for Panic":
Not only do I disagree with the constant stream of soothing and complacent rhetoric from Dr. Zeke’s friends in government and media. I also believe it is entirely rational to fear the possibility of a major Ebola outbreak, of a threat to the president and his family, of jihadists crossing the border, of a large-scale European or Asian war, of nuclear proliferation, of terrorists detonating a weapon of mass destruction. These dangers are real, and pressing, and though the probability of their occurrence is not high, it is amplified by the staggering incompetence and failure and misplaced priorities of the U.S. government. It is not Ebola I am afraid of. It is our government’s ability to deal with Ebola. 
Over the last few years the divergence between what the government promises and what it delivers, between what it says is happening or will happen and what actually is happening and does happen, between what it determines to be important and what the public wishes to be important—this gap has become abysmal, unavoidable, inescapable. ... 
... The system can withstand only so many shocks. For the last two years it has suffered nothing but blows, traumas, national and international concussions. The response by our government has been denial and delusion. But that has further alienated the public, and it won’t be long before things get really weird. Maybe it is time for the political class to panic, too. 
Know hope? That’s passé. 
Know fear.
Terresa Monroe-Hamilton builds on Continetti's thesis in her article, "War Is The Thunder ... Plague Is The Lightning." Read it.

Another president, Harry S. Truman, had a sign proclaiming that "The Buck Stops Here." But unfortunately, that is not the case with our current president. Rather, to cover up his incompetence and complicity in the various scandals rocking his administration, Obama seeks instead to be "The Man Who Knew Nothing." Daniel Greenfield observes:
Obama didn’t know anything and he never knew it. At least not until, like smuggling weapons to druglords, bugging journalists, IRSing his political enemies and killing vets, his right hand found out about what his left hand was doing from the morning paper. 
 After skipping 58% of his daily intelligence briefings in Term 1 and 59% of them in Term 2, he went on 60 Minutes and blamed intelligence agencies for being caught by surprise by ISIS. The intelligence had been there all along, but Obama wasn’t just missing his 3 AM phone calls, he was also skipping the 3 PM phone calls while golfing with the CEO of Comcast, friendly hedge fund managers and assorted lobbyists. 
This is not an incompetence of the truly stupid, but one that results from his complete arrogance and lack of concern for the American people. Greenfield explains:


The left never understood that its policy failures emerge from its bad intentions. It’s incompetent because it’s malicious. The only variations are in the ruthlessness with which it pursues its agenda. ... 
The left succeeds only when it acts so ruthlessly and sacrifices so many lives that eventually some kind of result is achieved. The result is achieved inefficiently and is lacking in every way, but it’s there.  
... The failures of Obama are those of the left. Its ideologues equate ideology with ability and empathy. They assume that a policy will work because history is on their side. They don’t bother with the niceties of following the law or listening to anyone. Instead they move on to the next big thing while ignoring the big disaster already underway. And when it all blows up, they lie and deny until they realize the people in whose name they have been acting aren’t buying it anymore. And then they blame someone else.
Obama is blaming the intelligence officials for not giving him the briefings on ISIS that he wouldn’t attend. But he knew all about ISIS. He chose not to listen to avoid exactly what is happening now.  
As a born again idiot, Obama maintains a layer of plausible deniability over his incompetence that allows him to blame his own people and claim ignorance. But it’s an ignorance of choice. Obama chooses not to contemplate the consequences of his actions. He chooses to implement the bad ideas of the left without questioning them the way that he would have if they were being proposed by George W. Bush. And he chooses to listen to the media because it shares those same filters and acts as a warning system that the crisis has become so severe that not even his backers in the media can continue to ignore it. 
The left chooses not to know what it doesn’t want to know. It chose not to know what the USSR was doing [under Stalin]. It chose not to know what ISIS was up. It chooses not to know about the people suffering under ObamaCare. It remains calculatedly ignorant of the human cost of its own policies because it doesn’t care about those who are harmed by it. It chooses not to know because then it would have to do something. And it doesn’t want to. 
When those in power are ignorant and incompetent in all things, it is because they lack empathy. The policy failures of the left are symptoms of deeper human failures. Their skills of taking power by manipulating, smearing and deceiving stand in contradiction to the humane skills that are needed to apply that power in meaningful ways. Like all evil, the left is doomed to destroy itself from the start. 
Obama didn’t want to do anything about ISIS. He didn’t want to do anything about the VA. He didn’t want to acknowledge knowing anything about the IRS targeting and he didn’t care about how well or how badly the ObamaCare website would work until he realized its impact on his approval ratings.  
Obama’s incompetence and ignorance are expressions of his contempt for the people beneath him. His policies implode because he never bothered to understand how they would impact real people. He chooses not to know, because he chose not to care.
President Goldman-Sachs is where he is because he, and his backers, only care about power. He does not want, and never wanted, to be a public servant, but a master.

In closing, I would note that George Will, speaking about a "crises of confidence" in government, said this
past weekend:

They say that [i.e., not trusting government], because government is not competent. Frankly, it's not competent under Republicans or under Democrats. It is always a monopoly and monopolies are not disciplined by market forces that connect them with reality. 
Teasing this segment, you said, can we have faith in government? I think we have much more to fear from excessive faith in government than from too little faith in government.
You asked, can we trust the government to do its job? What isn't its job nowadays? I just made a list of it. It's fine-tuning the curriculum of our students K through 12. It's monitoring sex on campuses. It's deciding how much ethanol we should put in our gas tanks. It has designed our light bulbs and it's worried sick over the name of the Washington football team.
 
Now, this is a government that doesn't know when to stop. The distilled essence, and here I get partisan, my friend, the distilled -- .... The distilled essence of progressivism is that government is a benign -- that is disinterested force, that's false. And, (b), it is stocked with experts who are really gifted at doing things. Republicans do this also. Democrats do it in domestic policy. The Republicans brought us nation-building and regime change.  
A common theme is the excessive faith in the skills of government.

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