Our technocracy is detached from competence. It’s not the technocracy of engineers, but of “thinkers” who read Malcolm Gladwell and Thomas Friedman and watch TED talks and savor the flavor of competence, without ever imbibing its substance……The Navy had to be cut to the bone and the Benghazi mission had to make do without security so that a Canadian company which began employing a classmate of Michelle Obama’s could score over half a billion to build a broken website. Obama mocked Mitt Romney’s criticism of his Navy cuts by telling him that we don’t fight with bayonets and horses anymore. Bayonets and horses are outdated. In our glorious modernity, we spend fortunes to build websites that don’t work instead.
…Competence is the real modernity and it has very little to do with the empty trappings of design that surround it. In some ways the America of a few generations ago was a far more modern place because it was a more competent place. For all our nice toys, we look like primitive savages compared to men who could build skyscrapers and fleets within a year… and build them well.