NO ACCOUNT | 1999-08-28
After the Chinese Embassy in Serbia was bombed, the United States said that the reason for this disaster was that "Experts" at the Central Intelligence Agency got the buildings mixed up. This was a huge, murderous, and inexcusable error. But when the bombing became a scandal, the CIA said that no one would be punished for it. No one was fired. No one was even transferred.
Some people were surprised and outraged. Pardon me, but where have those people been for the past fifty years? The way the CIA dealt with this issue is the way our society deals with all of its ruling "Experts." No expert is ever punished for causing a disaster. In fact, it never makes the slightest difference whether an expert's advice leads to success or failure.
Robert McNamara freely admitted that he went along with continuing and EXPANDING the Vietnam War long after he knew it was hopeless.
As Secretary of Defense, he helped get tens of thousands of Americans killed. McNamara has never lost a day's pay or a night's sleep because of this.
In fact, the exact opposite is the case. After Vietnam his opinion is sought after, because he has all that EXPERIENCE. Before Vietnam, he was an automobile executive, and his failure there cost his company hundreds of millions of dollars. But that made him EXPERIENCED, so he was appointed Secretary of Defense. So he helped cause the Vietnam disaster. That made him more experienced, so he his advice became even more precious.
Examples of this rule are everywhere. The other day I was watching police chases on a national television program. One of these desperate chases occurred right here in South Carolina. The tape showed a nineteen-year-old running from police at well over a hundred miles an hour. Eventually he crashed. Several of his young passengers were killed. This nineteen-year-old is now in prison for life for first-degree murder.
The commentator mentioned in passing that this teenager had been convicted of reckless driving TWELVE TIMES before! Legal experts, psychologists, lawyers and judges, let this man go TWELVE TIMES before he earned a life sentence for murder, and he is only NINETEEN YEARS OLD!
So what happened to the judges, lawyers, psychiatrists and other experts who let all this happen? Do you think any of them lost a day's pay or a night's sleep over this?
Of course not.
Any time our society has a social or educational problem, we pay Experts to deal with it. Now, what is an "Expert?" An Expert is a person with "experience." When did they get that experience? They got it while the problem we are trying to deal with developed. Look at the people we hire to be experts on education. They went to school and got their experience when all their professors were pushing all the latest educational fads. They got their experience making schools get rid of phonics and developing sensitivity training programs and implementing all the other fads.
As every kind of test score dropped, today's "education experts" were part of the hallelujah chorus putting their professional reputations on the line in favor of all the nonsense being pushed. They praised this nonsense to the skies, or they lost their "Expert" title.
So when the school crisis reached the point where even respectable conservatives had to mention it, who did we call in to SOLVE the problem? The educational experts, of course. You will see them at the front of the room every time this problem is discussed.
When was the last time you ever heard of any social policy expert losing anything by causing a disaster? I discussed the fact that, purely for their own power, economic planning nuts have caused far more misery and death and poverty than ten Hitlers, or even ten Stalins, combined (See January 16 article, "Why We Have An Unprecedented Economic Boom"). So who are our economic experts today? Those same people and the people they trained, of course.
One of the leading economic planning advocates was John Galbraith. It made him rich and famous. Economic planning has been discredited, but Galbraith is still considered a great expert.
Once again, the fact that the Galbraiths have caused endless suffering means nothing. The point is that they have been in the public eye. If one of them recommends a policy, they will get the attention of the public, including all respectable conservatives. A person whose recommendations have always WORKED will get none.
We never ask any expert whether any of his policies have ever worked.
When our social policy leads to another disaster, and we are looking for someone to show his qualifications for solving the new problem, how do we select someone to deal with that problem? We demand that that person prove one thing. We demand that he prove that he is an Expert with Experience. In other words, we demand that he be one of the people who CAUSED the disaster.
Which means we get another disaster.
Once again, as I explained, when you follow these rules, you are "Getting Exactly What You Ask For"(May 29).