- We propose that we value competence; however, it does not appear we do for powerful individuals.
- Powerful individuals have entirely different standards applied to them while we pretend that they don’t.
In a recent press conference, Trump told us a number of interesting things, that called into question basic knowledge of topics that are related to things like how household disinfectants should be used.
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The core of the comment in this video is complete by the 1:56 minute mark. The rest of the video is just filler with Trump bragging about the government’s response to the virus.
Trump speaks in a rambling and imprecise manner, so his speech can not be concisely quoted without editing down the and moving words around so that grammatically correct sentences are created. However, in this press conference, Trump proposes the following:
- Ultraviolet light may be able to be used to penetrate the body to kill the coronavirus.
- Disinfectants may be able to be injected into the body to kill the Coronavirus.
- Sunlight may be able to be used to kill the Coronavirus. Trump seemed to imply that just being out in the sunlight will help fight the Coronavirus.
- Heat may be able to be used to kill the virus.
He also stated he has a good “you know what.” Which seems to be the word he was searching for is “brain.” He admitted he was not a doctor, but he was a person with a good, you know what.
Protecting the Clotheless Emperor
In this session, his medical support team is doing everything they can to try to minimize the damage of the comments, including a response from the White House Virus Chief Deborah Birx who tries to save Trump. She does so by bringing up the analogy of the body’s temperature raising to fight a fever — which has absolutely nothing to do with anything that Trump said. The body raises its core temperature as it makes the body more efficient at fighting infection, but that is not applying heat to the body — which is one of the things that was tested when the virus was outside the body on a surface.
All of this misunderstanding came from Trump being somehow exposed to a study that demonstrated how the Coronavirus reacts to the application of disinfectants and different types of light on surfaces in a laboratory environment.
The Source of the Mix Up
Somewhere along the way, without consulting his specialists, he converted this in his head to mean that the study showed that these applications INSIDE the body — which is, of course, something else entirely, and then brings up the question of Trump’s general health and even household cleaner knowledge.
Due to this mixup, Lysol, a disinfectant, placed this on their website.
The beginning of this statement is false. It is highly doubtful that this statement was added due to rumors on social media. This statement was added right after Trump’s mix up and is in direct response to keeping people from trying to ingest or otherwise insert Lysol into their bodies to fight the Coronavirus. Furthermore, various Poison Centers in the US have received calls about not only possibly using disinfectants like Lysol, but also ingesting bleach.
The US comedy show Saturday Night Live has not yet aired as of the publication of this article, but there is little doubt that Lysol will be part of one of their skits. And I have been emailing family members and friends asking them to pick me up some Lysol because I am going to start putting it in Martinis as a regiment to protect me from the Coronavirus. And I have the feeling that a lot of these private email jokes have been making the rounds since Trump’s comments were made.
Is Trump All That Unique?
Many people like to say that Trump is uniquely stupid. This may seem like it is true, Trump, after all, says many ridiculous things — however, it is not true that Trump’s knowledge level or honesty level is so divergent from other powerful and wealthy individuals.
I would know.
I study enterprise software marketing literature and record the statements of the top executives at companies. Hasso Plattner has said things that are just as stupid as things stated by Trump, and they share the same problem that all-powerful people face, that the people around them are too busy kissing up to them to contradict them. The fatal flaw of the highly ambitious is that they don’t do things that would reduce their career options — which is why we end up with so many people who are so happy to lie in such prominent positions. And this is why very ambitious people are the last ones to say that the emperor has no clothes.
Each dictator through history was surrounded by enablers that created a reality distortion field around the individual, which gradually drove them insane as they lacked any realistic feedback from the environment. These enablers are obsessed with presenting a fantasyland to the dictator so that they can receive the benefits of their favor. The presentation of the lone dictator is a myth. A convenient myth that allows us to concentrate the blame to one individual who is declared “sick.” We love to talk about Hitler as if he worked almost alone.
Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, just a bunch of “bad apples” working mostly by themselves?
That is the story we are to believe and to repeat.
Unfortunately, I have witnessed this same type of sociopathy in many people I have debated on LinkedIn. I have performed tests where I have replayed ridiculous statements from the very tippy-top of SAP and Oracle to SAP and Oracle resources and asked them to publicly (on the LinkedIn comment thread) confirm or repudiate the statement. I found that no matter how ridiculous the statement, the individual I was debating would never publicly repudiate it — but they would not confirm it either. Their most frequent response was to leave the conversation. They could simply not be seen saying anything their “dear leader” said was false. This means that the people at the top of these organizations can say the moon is made of cheese. The devotees within the ecosystem will make up any ridiculous excuse as to why what was said was not what was meant to be said, his words were taken out of context (he meant that cheese could be sent to the moon, not that the moon is made of cheese, etc..)
Hasso Plattner or Larry Ellison could say the moon was made of cheese, and millions of individuals who are part of those ecosystems would nod and say
“Yes that is true, and beyond true, visionary.”
These people are primed to support some dictator someplace. They are just waiting for the opportunity to present itself.
However, each dictator is part of an ecosystem that allows for reality distortion. As Hillary Clinton might say, being a true dictator, well…
”It takes a village.”
Our understanding of dictators is also not accurate.
Royalty and Dictatorship
The Royalty based system was a dictatorship. It was a genetic dictatorship that saw 5-year-olds or ten-year-olds ascend to the throne. This was the predominant method of governance in all countries and still exists to this day. For example, Jordan is the “Kingdom of Jordan,” indicating it is a royalty-based system. Absolute monarchies are dictatorships.
Jordan often advertises its catchphrase “The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” as if it is a positive.
It means that there is no due process, and the King or Queen can have anyone killed for any reason, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. “Kingdoms” have no due process, no freedom of speech, and they are dictatorships.
Disney makes quite a lot of money selling the idea of princesses to children. The problem, of course, is that princesses eventually become queens, and are part of the monarchial and dictatorial systems of governance.
Little girls like to pretend they are princesses, but princesses are incompatible with just systems. Little girls should not be taught that monarchial systems are desirable and that they should seek to be at the top of these abusive hierarchies.
Isn’t she cute?
Real princesses and queens ran monarchial systems of patronage, which conveyed monopolistic concessions upon members of the royalty that had nothing to do with competence or fairness. They presided over serfs, which was a step above slaves.
None of these facts were included with this dress that this little girl’s parents bought from the toy store.
Rather than being princesses, why not have little girls could be taught to aspire to be like Kim Jong Un. A dictatorial monarchial leader who completely controls the citizens of North Korea.
While Western media obsesses over North Korea being communist, what they seem to miss is that the Un family is a monarchy.
Russia was an absolute monarchy until the Russian Revolution of 1917.
The Bolsheviks pretend to replace the monarchial system of the Tsars with a system that would be good for the population, but they never did. An oppressive faction of the Bolsheviks took over the movement lead by Joseph Stalin, and the Soviet Union was a dictatorship through Stalin’s death and until Gorbachev when the society was somewhat liberalized.
The Soviet Union suffered, not so much from being “communist.” After all it a strange communist country where workers could not unionize and had little power, as communism was designed by Karl Marx to be worker-centered. But instead was a type of monarchy where there was facia that the state was going to look out for the population. Noam Chomsky once stated that there were two groups that wanted the Soviet Union presented as a communist system — one was conservatives in the West (so they could justify their own elitist capitalist systems) and the Soviet leadership — so they could virtue signal to their population about the “collective” benefits of the Soviet system.
After a brief period of experimenting with some input from citizens, Putin has installed a monarchial or monarchial like system. Russia’s political system has a veneer of citizen participation. Putin calls this system a democracy.
Unless Putin is deposed, the next leader of Russia will most likely be not necessarily Putin’s children, but someone very very chummy with Putin. The following quotation reinforces this.
Seventeen years after Vladimir Putin first became president, his grip on Russia is stronger than ever. The West, which still sees Russia in post-Soviet terms, sometimes ranks him as his country’s most powerful leader since Stalin. Russians are increasingly looking to an earlier period of history. Both liberal reformers and conservative traditionalists in Moscow are talking about Mr Putin as a 21st-century tsar. Like a tsar, Mr Putin surmounts a pyramid of patronage. Since he moved against the oligarchs in 2001, taking control first of the media and then of the oil and gas giants, all access to power and money has been through him. These days the boyars serve at his pleasure, just as those beneath them serve at their pleasure and so on all the way down. He wraps his power in legal procedure, but everyone knows that the prosecutors and courts answer to him. – The Economist
The British love their Royal Family. And the UK has moved away from a monarchial system of government. However, this celebration of the Royal “tradition” is an endorsement of absolute power, of incompetence, of 5 to 10-year-olds becoming monarch, and almost the entire citizenry in the UK has no input as to the government and not protection from the government.
Why this is celebrated is a bit of a head-scratcher. A tradition that is itself virtuous should be celebrated, but celebrating abusive systems is illogical, and it sanitized how monarchial systems worked. As with US billionaires, the British Royals scrub their image by being involved in “charitable” endeavors.
The movie The Dictator was a comedy. However, it describes a situation that is the norm in human history. The brutal dictatorships Saddam Hussain or Mohamar Khadafi, only seem unusual or despicable to us because many countries have moved beyond the monarchy system. Several hundred years ago, they would be considered typical.
Recall, monarchies have zero to do with either public choice or competence. They are lineage-based systems of power and entitlement (literally to be “titled”).
Are We Truly “Shocked” by Trump?
Trump is no expert on household cleaners, but he is not the only powerful person to overstep their domain expertise in their comments.
- David Benioff is no expert in improving society.
- Hasso Plattner is not an expert in databases.
- Bill Gates is not an expert in pandemics (knowledge he does have is grossly inferior to those who have spent their careers in epidemiology, but that does not stop him from replacing real epidemiologists when asked to offer his “expertise” on the Coronavirus.).
- Elon Musk is no expert in going to Mars, in transportation policy or, apparently, in the difference between ventilators versus sleep apnea machines (he recently had Tesla donate sleep apnea machines to hospitals — which in addition to being 1/60th as expensive — are not used to treat Coronavirus patients.
The Case Study of Elon Musk
I am not proposing that Elon Musk is unintelligent, but his domains of expertise are greatly overestimated by both himself, media entities, and his followers. Elon feels compelled to offer his view on a wide range of topics (and topics ranging from AI to how to extract children trapped in a cave in Thailand); however, he is not the best person to listen to in each of the different topics he opines. There are many thousands of individuals with far more education and knowledge in the areas that Elon Musk discusses.
Elon Musk is not a “Swiss Army Knife,” which can be used to provide accurate and useful questions on any technical subjects. Like anyone else in a technical field, he has some expertise in some specifics technology areas. Even Albert Einstein was famously inaccurate when he moved from explaining astrophysics to subatomic particles. And while subatomic subjects are related to theoretical physics, Musk ventures into areas that have little to no connection to his background.
Here is an MD’s analysis of Musk’s statements around ventilators.
Furthermore, when challenged, like other dictators (oh, did mention that overpowered executives are also much like dictators?), Musk has a habit of getting being underhanded and abusive and being unable to admit when he was wrong.
- When told that his submarine would not be useful in rescuing the Thailand kids from the cave they were stuck in by an experienced scuba diver, Vernon Unsworth, who was in Thailand trying to rescue these kids, Elon called him a pedophile, a “child rapist,” and that Unsworth had a “12-year-old child bride.” That is Elon was proposing that the reason this scuba diver was expending this effort to save these children was so he could then molest them. Musk then hired a private investigator to dig up dirt on the scuba diver, and offered bonus to the PI if he could find evidence that Vernon Unsworth was, in fact, a pedophile. Thailand officials also critiqued Musk’s submarine that eventually showed up in Thailand, and Musk tried to bully the Thailand officials into praising Elon.
- Elon Musk threatened the anonymous writer who writes under the name “Montana Skeptic,” with legal action. The Montana Skeptic’s affront? He thinks Tesla is an overpriced stock and that Tesla is misleading investors.
Elon Musk seems to have a problem with freedom of speech and abusing his power, and he also is always lying, and not held accountable for his lies. The website dedicated to tracking Elon Musk’s inaccuracies is Elon Musk Today.
Musk was described in the court filing by Unsworth as…
Musk is described as “a thin-skinned billionaire who is obsessed with his public image and who has a history of vindictively and intentionally ignoring truth to maintain that PR-created image.”
When Elon Musk proposes drilling tunnels to drive between LA and SF or sending rockets off to Mars with 1000 people in them every day to colonize the planet or robotaxis, media entities don’t question the sanity of these proposals. Just the opposite, they instead present them as “visionary.”
In a few years, when Tesla is gone, the media entities that looked the other way on all of Elon Musk’s ridiculous statements and things that never came true, they will not hold themselves accountable. Instead, they will gravitate to the next showman they can promote to the general public.
An Epidemic of Elite’s Faking Domain Expertise
Trump is simply the canary in the coal mine, which illustrates that we are increasingly commingling wealth with domain expertise. But while Trump’s gaffe on disinfecting our bodies with Lysol is amusing, it would be a mistake to think that Trump is the only one faking his expertise or that he is even that extreme in his fakery.
I often wonder how good our collective memories are on this topic when I hear that Trump is such an outlier.
“Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?” – George W Bush
“Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do.” – Ronald Reagan
“”I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn’t study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people.”” – Dan Quale
The fact that Trump was able to sufficiently hide his incurious nature is as much a testament to the media’s inability to serve its function of exposing high-status people in terms of how little they know. And when you are high status, you can get away with knowing close to nothing on topics. You can also get away with not even being functional. Joe Biden in such a state of mental decline that he could not get a job if he were just an ordinary person. He is either currently diapered, or soon to be diapered. I question whether he could walk into a US Department of Motor Vehicles and walk out with a driver’s license. However, many of the people currently talking about Trump’s idiotic statements are perfectly happy having a person in cognitive decline as their president — as long as they feel like he is on their side.
Biden does not have to be coherent. He can have Alzheimer’s and wear a diaper while in office — something monarchs have known for thousands of years. If you are a person of high status and supported by the establishment, there are no standards. If Biden were to be elected, he would convalesce while the advisors would run the White House. These are the standards applied to the people at the tippy top of society. Biden cannot concentrate in short bursts while doing long-distance interviews. How would he ever put in a full workday? And next year (obviously) he will be older, and his stamina and ability to concentrate will be even worse.
People who have complained about Trump’s mental fitness for 3.5 years have remained silent on Joe Biden’s mental fitness.
Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, has served as a conduit for laundering money to influence policy on the part of Joe Biden. Hunter Biden sat on the well-publicized Ukrainian energy board where he was paid $80,000 per month for doing nothing, and then owns 10% of a private equity fund named Bohai Harvest RST (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Co that is 80% controlled by Chinese entities, which is how the CCP peddles influence to Biden. Bohai Harvest creates a massive conflict of interest for Joe Biden as he would have a significant influence over relations with China. One would expect money from China to increase significantly into Bhai Harvest if Joe Biden were elected president.
Hunter Biden is low functioning, was kicked out of his military job for drug addiction, has had a long term addiction to crack cocaine, and lives in a $12,000 per month house in Los Angeles.
In other words, he is a typically entitled offspring of a powerful person. If Biden is elected, Joseph Biden will be sitting on so many boards; he will barely be able to make time to attend any board meetings. Every corrupt US corporation and nation seeking to buy off Joe Biden will be offering Joseph Biden some type of position.
People have complained about the demonstrable incompetence, corruption (The imbecilic Jared Kushner took classified CIA intelligence over to Mohammed “Bone Saw” Bin Salman and traded it for a massive loan. This intelligence showed other Saudi princes that secretly opposed Bin Salman. MBS then retaliated against these political opponents) and the entitlement of Trump’s children has remained silent on Hunter Biden. Because competence and ethics become so much less important if the issue is within one’s own political party.
There is an election coming up where the Democrats perform an Oscar-winning performance in pretending that they are offended by Trump’s corrupt family and cronies — when in fact, the Democrats want to replace Trump’s corrupt family cronies with the Bident/Clinton/Obama corrupt facilities and cronies.
And this is nothing new. Performance, competence, or even ethics does not apply to billionaires, monarchs, or dictators. Louis the 16th employed thousands of minor royalty that catered to his every whim at the Palace of Versailles. He could instantly change their fortunes, and the most favored courtiers were rewarded with living quarters closest to the King’s room. Activities included top-level courtiers being invited to Louis the 16ths room to watch him eat. It may sound boring to you or me, but for the courtiers, who owed their entire wealth and position to Louis the 16th, being invited to watch Louis eat was an enormous privilege and cemented your status in the hierarchy. You might use this to establish your dominance over other lords in conversation. As in..
“Well, you may think me an idiot, but I just was invited to watch Louis eat a bowl of soup, have YOU ever been invited to watch Louis eat.”
This fawning over the powerful, corrupt, and incompetent is clearly what much of the population prefers. It is disingenuous and inaccurate to isolate Trump’s incompetence and corruption and state it is some type of outlier, as it implies that adhere to some hypothetical standards, that we don’t.