I used to wonder many years ago how the Intelligence community screwed up so badly about not forecasting the collapse of the Soviet Union – and how they did the same with Iraq and those non-existent “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” Both were examples of catastrophic incompetence.
I realized it was the bureaucratic mindset.
I’m sure I encountered people with this mindset in high school but it wasn’t until I graduated college that I really encountered and understood this mindset.
These people with their bureaucratic mindsets were pretty good as managers – and by “pretty good” I mean marginally competent. But none of them could actually do anything.
I used to work for a man who had an MBA from the University of Michigan. He was a newspaper publisher. He was a second-rater who hired third-raters, who hired four-raters. He and everyone he hired ended up being catastrophes.
You might ask, how did an MBA become a newspaper publisher? Because he was part of the Old Boy’s Network (this really does exist).
You’d think he would have worked his way up from the bottom on a newspaper, but nope.
He was just a bureaucrat. Everyone he hired had the bureaucratic mindset. The rules were the most important things even if they didn’t work. None of these people could actually do anything.
I figure the same thing has happened in the Intelligence community. Bureaucrats who can only manage – marginally – but can’t do any Intelligence work. They lack the intelligence, knowledge and analytical ability.
Career bureaucrats are the worst.
Most of the bureaucrats I’ve met were what I call “high-IQ idiots.” Their knowledge was scanty and their analytical abilities weren’t very developed and they weren’t trustworthy because they played politics – they expected people to be loyal to them but they’d stab these same people in the back in a heartbeat.
And they rose to the top by being quite good at playing politics – but not by actually doing anything.
There were people who predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union and also pointed out the impossibility of Saddam Hussein acquiring nuclear weapons. Did those administrations hire these experts and listen to them? Nope, of course not. Instead we had a bunch of incompetents busy judging things only on political considerations.
None of these bureaucrats had any substance. I don’t know of any who ever have.
I’m hopeful about Trump. I can’t think of anyone in his administration who is a career bureaucrat. He certainly isn’t – anyone who done what he’s done in the market can’t do it by being a bureaucrat. Bureaucrats aren’t flexible and can’t change their minds.
No one in Dubya Shrub’s administration could actually do anything, just oversee – “manage.” And not very well, either. Terribly in fact.
James Burnham once wrote a famous book called The Managerial State. I don’t have to explain what it’s about. You already know.
Working your way up in a bureaucracy is nothing to be proud of. It’s not an accomplishment in the slightest.
“Management” can be taught. Intelligence and analytical ability cannot.
I judge people on how accurate they are at predicting things. That’s the only sign of being of being really smart.
But when they’re wrong all the time – which means playing politics all the time - out with them.
"Whatever power you give politicians and bureaucrats to use against other people will eventually be used by future politicians and bureaucrats against you." - Michal Boldin