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excellence and equity: bursting the incompetence bubble
peak peter principle and what comes after
a funny thing has been happening quite a lot of late, an upwelling of an oddly infantile and aggressive tactic of the worried wokester:
when faced with inconvenient facts, you simply chant “your truth” over and over.
it’s bad malfunction. you can all but smell the burning wires.
an example is provided below:
but the simple fact is this: this is not truth. it’s dogmatic absurdity.
frankly, it’s a cry for help.
all i see here is:
"i cannot compete without preferencing"
"i cannot compete without preferencing"
"i cannot compete without preferencing"
yelled over and over as a demand to be allowed to place a thumb on the scale of outcomes.
read it enough times, and perhaps it even turns into:
“i have no actual argument and so will substitute volume and repetition for substance”
(the megaphone emoji is really a wonderful touch)
i mean, it’s abundantly clear that her addled axiom does not even make sense. of course there can be excellence without equity. in fact, it’s almost a requirement because that’s what excellence is: exceeding others in achievement.
what jocalyn is, in effect, actually saying is that she will happily pull down any and all evidence of excellence and sacrifice it upon the altar of alleged equity in order to gain advantage.
it just doesn’t sound good to say that out loud.
the fact that she does not know this only serves to make her position more pernicious.
start with a demand for equity of outcome and you will never have excellence.
imagine basketball where dunks must be equal between players.
who would watch it?
what sort of person would even want to play?
no one excellent, that much is certain. those who excel at dunking would not be able to perform to potential. instead they would be hobbled and others elevated “because, equity.” why would the excellent accede to such a structure instead of seeking more level playing fields?
now run that incentive set through a few iterations. how rapidly does the game cease to be anything recognizable as basketball?
now rotate the shape.
do this to any field and watch what happens. “all physicists must produce an equal number of theorems that are equally cited.” sorry albert. white cis-male and all. (though at least this might have spared us from special relativity)
this ascension of dogmatic diversity over merit rots any organization. it’s outright fatal.
A’s hire A’s, but B’s hire C’s (or worse). they do this because they recognize that they are not A’s and do not wish to compete against them or even against peers of B level.
if you are an A, you do not need non-merit based preferencing and it tends to work against you or demean your accomplishments so the self selection for preferencing based hiring systems toward hiring and B’s and C’s is extremely high. and the A’s want none of it.
mostly, when you hire for quotas rooted in equity and ideology, the cream sinks or leaves altogether.
this is why academia and so many public policy domains are becoming wastelands of the unqualified and desperately insecure intersectional aggrievement advancers. it’s because of all this:
the more intersectionally advantaged but excellence challenged folk you admit to a discipline or an organization and the higher they climb, the more desperately that organization will cluster around the need to advantage the unqualified and the less they will permit any sort of merit measure to be maintained. their positions depend upon it and they wish their underlings to be incapable of competing with and unseating them.
they cannot validate their positions of power through achievement. their qualifications are doctrinal. so they must demand that doctrine be the yardstick and equity not output be the measure of success.
and it’s spreading everywhere because everything the outmatched and under-qualified touch gets caught in the same maelstrom of mediocrity. they cannot tolerate adjacent competence and so seek to eliminate it to render their own seats secure.
past a point, it need not even be ideological. it’s just self preservation.
affirmative action breeds reaction and that reaction is to hire the increasingly un-excellent.
and when the horse is dying out from under you and it’s time to replace and scapegoat you, only a fool would take the reins if they had to keep riding in the ideological direction you were and presiding over the organization you built with the people you picked.
so your replacement is nearly always a downgrade. they do not come to clean house, they come to preside over the further dirtying of it until is has rotted utterly.
even if you started with some nasty or cunning ones at the top, you do not need them to perpetuate this train rolling once it starts. they get replaced by the inept and ideological and the functional output remains the same and self-perpetuates. the system goes until it crashes, but crash it does because the original machiavellians have been supplanted by the C’s and D’s selected by this process like the grandkids of robber barons losing the family fortune because they have no idea how any of it actually works.
even tiny initial infections of affirmative appointment over merit eventually spiral into such. you just don’t see it for the first several doublings. then, suddenly, it’s everywhere.
it’s an exponential failure curve. each new person placed for ideology over excellence begets two more and the institutional need to protect this practice explodes and becomes entirely dogmatic and off limits to interrogation or critique. too many people’s sinecures depend upon it.
all the arguments become circular.
diversity is needed because diversity is good
diversity is good because we need diverse views.
there is no objective outcome nor evidence, merely endlessly repetitive assertion. they do not even consider as valid the concept of differences in ability as drivers of outcomes. it’s always “systemic discrimination” that prevents women from tackling alvin kamara. if i did not win, you cheated.
it’s a perfectly closed, recursive belief structure, held strongly but rapidly unable to sustain itself against objective outcomes. the signs are everywhere.
and this is why we see so much more of this “simply yell my truth over and over until i win” motif of late. it’s why everything seems so touchy and implausible performatively unmoored from reason.
i have a theory about why:
the utterly unqualified came to prominence all over because of these management mantras of equity.
they are badly over their heads and have been for some time. and the issues and areas over which they exercise such suzerainty are unraveling rapidly.
they have sought to sustain stature by hiring others like themselves (only slightly less talented.)
and you can only run that playbook iteratively so many times before you’re hiring really, truly inept people. ask any communist factory manager.
so it’s all coming undone, it’s becoming too big to miss, and they have no idea what to do about it. the incompetence bubble is popping and their only solution is to hire the ever more incompetent to attempt to sustain position atop the lofty perches upon which they were placed but never truly belonged.
and the more the ideology fails, the more failures and ideologues become the only ones willing to drive the bus.
we permeated academia and government and media with mediocrity and (and those the mediocre may bully) and past a certain point, the amount of new “diversity devotion” needed to support the failings of the last round simply becomes too vast, the needs too great to meet. the requirement to find those more ideological and less insightful than yourself to support and supplant you drives a desperate down-spiral.
we’ve passed the ideological event horizon and now every institution is failing and flailing at once because they all have the same disease.
they all went woke and now comes the going functionally and ethically broke part. chapter 11 is coming. (pray it’s not a 7, that gets MESSY)
the technocrats and petty dictators of wokedom laid claim to power and prominence without having earned it. and they have no idea that this is true because the first rule of dunning krueger club, is you do not know you’re in dunning krueger club (but that sure will not stop you from crashing the plane you hijacked but have no idea how to fly.)
they’re sure it’s all slipping away because “the system is rigged” not because they have wrecked it. and the more it goes bad, the more they must believe it’s because the playing field was not fair and the more wreckage they will desperately attempt to impose. because that’s how cognitive dissonance works when you are drowning.
and so they press the brake mistaking it for the gas and grind ever closer to full halt, dragged down by the sand of “equitable incapacity” they keep pouring into the engines of excellence because they mistook it for motor oil.
a lot of them probably really, truly believe that it is because the only other option is to accept that you are WAY out of your depth and are disrupting everything you touch.
and, of course, this desperate need to protect the appearance of adequacy inevitably winds up leaving one looking like a self absorbed clown.
and looks are not always deceiving.
and so we are here.
and this reign of anti-reason is unravelling rapidly.
they have lost the zeitgeist and (perhaps most importantly) the people no longer fear them sufficiently to kowtow for fear of cancellation. their protective cloaks only worked as a unified edifice free from criticism. once the cracks open and skepticism of the doctrine prevails, they have no play but to treble and quadruple down on the same magic words that got them here for they know no others.
but the magic is gone.
too many have seen the nudity of the emperix. (i really hope that’s not a word)
this is going to get spectacular.
the heights to which the utterly unqualified have ascended are dizzying and the fall will make icarus look like he tripped over a garden hose.
and this is a good thing.
it’s going to be loud and dramatic and there will be much squawking, but this is what healing looks like.
this is a pendulum getting ready to start swinging back.
competition breeds competence, but when the field of contest is shifted to attestations of intersectional entitlement, the competence gained is perverse and often outright inimical to the actual task at hand. i mean, do you want a heart surgeon who excels at surgery, or one who checks boxes of race and gender and ideology because “equity uber alles”?
and so we need to shift the incentives back.
we have spent long enough being dragged to mass at the avolitional church of the really bad idea perpetrated by the flailing fail army of a dogmatic secular theocracy of terrified peter principle practitioners.
and change is in the air.
i mean, unless you have a better idea…