Third Rate Managers

Starting somewhere in the middle of the last century, American corporations decided that they needed to invest in developing their managers. Historically, American business relied on nature and the tools of society to cultivate their workforce. The workers would get a basic education in the public schools. Natural talent and upbringing would sort the workforce the rest of the way. The best and brightest would naturally rise through the ranks to populate the management layer.

This was slowly replaced in the 20th century with a new model where senior management implemented programs to train their people, but also cultivate the sorts of people who would become managers. In the back quarter of the 20th century leadership training became popular in corporate America. Managers would receive the same sorts of leadership training officers in the military receive. Developing the next generation of corporate leaders is now a hundred billion dollar industry.

Because it has been normalized over several generations, no one notices the contradiction in these programs. All of the people subject to this training are in positions where no one would want leadership. These are administrative jobs filled with people tasked with following the rules. They may be required to supervise others who are also tasked with following rules. These are not positions that demand leadership, but rather roles that demand obedience.

Of course, the military has solved this contradiction. A squad leader is trained to use the materials at his disposal, including his men, to achieve the assigned objective within the rules of the operations. He is not allowed to question the rules of engagement or the objectives of his squad, but he is free to utilize the resources made available to him, plus what he can find on his own. In other words, it is leadership within the artificial construct of the military system.

Corporations borrow this general idea. The want their managers to be goal oriented and use the resources available to them to achieve the goal. The shipping manager does not select the shippers or what gets shipped, but he is given a crew, tools to box and ship items and certain goals to meet. He gets to select within a limited number of options how best to get the assigned items shipped out and the incoming items received into the shipping department.

Another way this is put is they want the shipping manager to take ownership of his department like it is his business. It is not his business and will never be his business, but they seek to trick him into acting as if it is his business. That way he will sacrifice, and perhaps encourage his people to sacrifice, in order to meet the goals laid out for him by his superiors. Like the actual owner of a business, he will act as if there is no separation between him and his work.

All of this leadership training sounds good in theory, even if it contains a central contradiction, but there is another problem. The nature of management and the nature of man tell us that the last thing a manager will want is a natural leader as one of his direct reports. That hotshot in shipping could get noticed by the big bosses and be promoted up the ladder, perhaps at the expense of his boss. Systemic pressure will always reward obedience over leadership.

It is the old line about leadership. First rate men attract first rate men, while second rate men attract third rate men. To a great degree, this is the problem that leadership training is trying to address. The people at the top, the senior managers, want to keep the pot bubbling so that they can spot the managers with potential and promote them into middle management. They do not want the natural talent boiling off because it is blocked by a ceiling of mediocrity.

The military has always suffered from this problem. Peacetime armies tend to develop a leadership class that is good at politics, but not war fighting. Wars always result in changes at the top and a restructuring of the officer class. We have seen this in the Ukraine war where both sides have changed their command structure in response to the reality on the ground. Corporations suffer the same phenomenon; except they lack war to force a pruning of the system.

The exception to this is the private company. The owner is there and he has every reason to find the best people to populate his ranks. Elon Musk has fired half the Twitter staff because they were there to serve the goals of managers, not owners, so as far as he was concerned, they were useless. The owner of the business does not need leadership training in the corporate sense, because he does not have to be trained to take ownership, as he is the owner.

This is the dilemma facing America. It is a society run by managers who have turned the owners into passive share holders. This is managerialism. Like a publicly traded company, the owners care only about returns. The overall management of society is left to a class of managers. Those managers, in addition to making sure the owners think they are getting a positive return, have the additional goal of making sure they remain the senior managers of the system.

Like senior management in a corporation or the senior officers in a peacetime army, the management class of America is primarily concerned with preserving their position at the top of the system. That requires them to always be on the lookout for people down the ranks who could be a threat. The solution to that is the solution all second rate men find and that is to promote third rate men. The managerial system that runs America selects for decreasingly talented managers out of necessity.

You see this with the Twitter situation. Elon Musk replaced a collection of ridiculous people with himself and a small team of his people. When you examine the titles of the people wiped out in the first wave of layoffs, it is clear they played no role in the profitability of the company, other than as an expense. They and their roles existed to serve the narrow interests of management. They were of no use to a genuine owner taking an active role in the running of the company.

Managerialism was on display in the past election. Mitch McConnell diverted tens of millions of dollars to safe Senate races, but starved out many contested ones, because that served his interests as the senior manager of the party. It is better for him that a third rate zombie like Murkowski returns to the Senate than a potential threat like Blake Masters gets promoted into the Senate. Instinctively, Mitch McConnell selects third rate people because it serves his interest.

That is the key to understanding the current crisis. The system selects for the sorts of people who naturally become Mitch McConnell or Nancy Pelosi. Even the richest people are forced to select between two narrowing options. The second rate men select third rate men who in time take their place at the top, selecting for people who will be non-threatening to their position. Managerialism always ends with incompetence at the top and that fosters a culture of paranoia.

This is the inherent contradiction in managerialism. It is supposed to check the power of the ownership class, but it ends up replacing it with an increasingly incompetent management class. That management class, sensing its own vulnerability, selects for increasing incompetent people up and down the system. It is how we have a political system run by octogenarians promoting brain damaged zombies and obsequious sycophants into the highest offices in the system.

This always ends one way. In the corporate sphere, companies like Twitter either go bust or they get taken over by ownership. In the military sphere the rulers are forced to replace the politicians in the officer ranks with genuine wartime leaders. For the managerial society, the result is systemic collapse and replacement with a modified form of private rule. This is what happened with the Soviet Union. Communism was replaced with a form of oligarchy.

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129 thoughts on “Third Rate Managers

  1. I did not see anyone recommending the “Stalin Method” ™ of managerial renewal. Purging around 70% of anyone and everyone rising above the rank of corporal seemed to do wonders for the war effort against Nazi Germany. At least in the long run. From what I can tell, Elon seems to have adopted it with Twitter. Or so I can hope,

    • You’ve touched on a more, er “proactive” form of the dysfunciton Z’s essay discusses. War or not, it’s also common of ultra despotic regimes (Soviet Communism being a prime example) to be very paranoid. The Communists were quite ruthless in culling even their own founders. The famous riverside stroll of Stalin with (“before”) and then suddenly without Trotsky (“after”) is a popular meme today, perhaps the most famous case of a man literally airbrushed out of history.

      To be sure, at times the culling was to root out genuine or at least accused enemies of the state. But a perennial motive had to be extirpate potential future rivals too. It’s an ancient tradition: during the era of the Greek city-states, there was at least one ruler who sought out highly talented peasants and made sure they were killed.

  2. Speaking of managerialism, Sam Bankster Fraud, is a useful example. Where did he get his money to found FTX ? His parents were both college professors, his mother at Columbia also tied to the WEF. Fraud himself was a “leader” in “effective altruism” and FTX seems to have unexplained funding (where did the money come from) with Fraud himself not seemingly to be liquid per Elon Musk’s enquiries when Fraud wanted in on the Twitter deal. Supposedly FTX was one giant money washing scheme pushing money to Ukraine and back into Democratic coffers. The FTC and SEC played footsie with the guy reportedly. Fraud after Soros was the #2 Dem donor of record, accounting for 501(c)3s and the like probably the primary funder.

    And the closer you look, the more it becomes nepotism. A connected, friends/family network of invariably abuse and corruption; the downside of a global, intermarried elite. Now with the events in Poland it looks like US Ground troops in Ukraine are a done deal, as the neocons and Brandon people wanted. I warned you: a draft is just around the corner with McCarthy and McConnell leading the way.

    Managerialism is just another name for nepotism writ large I think. And like the retarded Hapsburg emperor the inter-marriage causes the sort of inbreeding that is evident — just look at the FTX people. Just look at them.

    • King Lear should be required reading. Family businesses (or kingdoms) get destroyed by disputed inheritance and replaced by managerial corporations. Primogeniture never should have been abandoned.

      Maybe it wasn’t, for those who actually run things, whoever they are. Nepotism emerges when there is an imperfect system of transferring wealth over time and generations, in contrast to both managed corporations and traditional primogeniture estates.

      Maybe it’s an uncanny valley, but such a thing makes for a strong distraction by nature…

    • Any straight white male who submits to the draft deserves what they get. I’m too old now, but even if I wasn’t I’d rather die than defend this dump. This country hates me so I hate it back. Send the joggers and trannies since they’re more worthy.

      • Based on the vaccine and the public schools, the draft looks to be just fine with most white men.

        It’s the best time in history to be learning Chinese, and China has a lot of history.

  3. IIRC, “management” was invented or at least dominated by one Peter Drucker. According to Wiki, “Drucker grew up in what he referred to as a “liberal” Lutheran Protestant household in Austria-Hungary. Both of his parents were of Jewish origin.’

    • Fundamentalist Protestants indirectly invented managerialism. After the 30 years war (1618-1648), the majority of Germans got themselves killed, mostly by other Germans, and the population was replenished by mass immigration and an authoritarian schooling system, Prussian schooling, designed to assimilate these immigrants into the lowest common denominator.

      America adopted the same system after the abolition of slavery, substituting mass immigration of cheap labor instead, and Prussian style schooling was used to make these immigrants into generic whites, as opposed to liberty loving Anglo Saxons. The process continues, except now the generic browns replace the generic whites.

      The managers are the “elites” of these schools. Jews get singled out either for being obvious court Jews, or being obviously resistant to the assimilation mills. One way or another. But they aren’t the Anglo’s friend, either, no matter how much either side wishes for this to be true.

    • I see that the Kellogg School of Management, a top rated business school at Northwestern, is waving the requirement of having test scores for all laid off tech workers.

      Now, grad school is going to waive test score requirements for people who just got a fat severance package from a large tech company. Meanwhile someone who has been burning the candle at both ends, studied their butt off and got a great test score maybe working a menial job or taking an income hit living off of a spouses’ income, can’t differentiate themselves. Meanwhile someone with the fat severance package who has runway to study for the exams without a lifestyle hit gets a pass on the exams.

      This is the moralizing vs. morality brain blocker that ails this ruling regime. They are as dumb as doorstops. Hey! Look at us! Aren’t we the nicest people ever!?!? We will help the less fortunate and make life fair.

      In the meantime there couldn’t be anything less fair to non-laid off tech workers than what they are doing. This is chaos. This is changing the rules in the middle of the game. This is performative niceness that is not at all nice – except to the select, and ironically, most privileged groups. It is probably even worse since it is a good bet that a big cohort will be diversity hire castoffs. Well, maybe not. They need to make their “diversity targets”, so maybe this is a chance for a surge in the next release of “% of management” diversity back patting.

      I could see the next earnings call. “We laid off 10% of the company in 2022, but the good news is, we increased diversity across the board by 12% and in management by 9.5%.” “Great! Could you talk about that percentage skew in your ratio of staff in the People Productivity, Happiness, Inclusivity and Wellbeing department vs. R&D?” “Well Dantiqua, we certainly do have a higher proportion of PPHIW staff to R&D than we had before. What we say and maintain is that since Diversity has gone up, that means innovation and creativity will go up, because, well we say that it does. It is a fact that Diversity makes people more creative and innovative. In addition to that, w now we have even more resources to help make R&D even more productive. So, we believe that the ratio is in fact a net positive.” “Okay. Great! That makes perfect sense. Now, instead of 1.5 PPHIW people per engineer, you have 2.2 so they will get a .7 percent gain from more happiness inducing equity and inclusion seminars, and other culture enhancing benefits.” “Yes. Dantiqua. It will be at least a .7 percent gain plus the enhanced creativity. Thank you for that insightful comment.”

      There is nothing more immoral and nobody less nice than these self congratulating, self promoting, self deluded destroyers of that which is good.

    • Francis Fukuyama, the dean of liberal globalists, credits the Catholic church with the rise of managerialism. Replacement of clans with a separated, celibate (i.e. no inheritance) class of men with special standardized training. I believe the book is called “The Invention of the State” or some such.

  4. It’s no coincidence that the deepest red districts and states are filled with the most boring and mindless cogs of politicians. Party leadership in the GOP is very cognizant to put the biggest shills in the most conservative districts, neutralizing those places and exerting their control over the party. These moderates go on to have decades long tenures and help slowly liberalize their regions.

    Why are moderate Republican yes men like Wicker, Guest, and Graham untouchable in places far to there right. Why are the SC, MS, OK state GOPs the abominations that they are.

  5. Some disorganized thoughts, maybe connectable;

    People seek a state of culture to solve the problems of living in a state of nature. Culture has its own problems that eventually return them to a state of nature. The middle never seems to hold.

    Lots of blood goes into civ: uniting people, bringing them to the yoke, making them obedient. Hobbes said the state of nature is war of all against all. Maybe he mistook the process of civilization for the state of nature, or maybe nature inevitably leads to civilization.

    God created Eden for man. The garden. Created woman to give him a companion. The serpent tempted woman, man listened to her. The knowledge of good and evil made them realize they were naked. Civilized them. God expelled them so they couldn’t eat of the tree of life, cursed them for trying to be gods. Lots of wisdom in that story, I think.

    3g4me: “Women are process oriented; men are results oriented. Why feminized oligarchy supports and runs Clown World.”

    Idk if there’s a common thread, but I want to think there is.

    • The self sanctions on energy are now all in place for the west for the great reset so its now just remains to finish up the remaining allocated bribe money and compensation payoffs that were worked out beforehand.

      The mighty wurlitzer of fake events continues.

        • Indeed.

          It difficult for most to accept such a thing, despite the now obvious evidence, in the same way that normies struggle to accept that there is a uniparty with 2 pretend factions.

          The evidence is all around if you are to examine it.
          I would have thought Sean Penn rocking up to take the piss of presenting a best actor oscar to the midget would have made some people realize its been a production, but apparently not.

          They like a good laugh at how stupid the cattle are,

  6. Now that Z mentions it, the managerialism trend coincided with the government’s early efforts to thwart small business ownership. It’s not that America changed how it trained managers; it’s that in a small-business-driven economy, there was little need for managers. Promoting the most senior/skilled was easily done when the owner knew everybody.

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  8. “So no, the military has a spotty record for selecting leadership excellence. A lot of our best and brightest recognize this, and usually decline re-enlisting to head on to the private sector.”

    They have a TERRIBLE record of advancing leadership. Combined with the fact that they are process oriented and not results oriented. There is very little difference now between the military and public school functions and administration.

  9. “He gets to select within a limited number of options how best to get the assigned items shipped out and the incoming items received into the shipping department.”

    In other words, they have no power. A friend of mine managed a Sherwin Williams. He wasn’t allowed to hire or fire, that was all done by corporate. If somebody called off he had to fill in, essentially none of the perks and all of the crap. At least in your own business after some time of getting yourself established you don’t have to deal with that crap anymore. This is why you will own nothing and like it. Because to own something, you must have a smidge of power.

    • Yep. In my Globohomo factory, the hiring process was partially stripped from the local facility about a decade ago. To get into the plant for an interview, one first has to jump through lots of hoops over the phone with the corporate HR/DIE wardens. It will shock no one to learn that the quality of our hires has slid noticeably.

      • Sounds like your company needs to hire more HR/DIE professionals. Or perhaps some “Talent management professionals”.

  10. “ In the military sphere the rulers are forced to replace the politicians in the officer ranks with genuine wartime leaders. “

    This seems dangerous/difficult in modern wars, at least between first rate powers, which can be quick, deadly, and decisive. In the Civil War, Lincoln could piss around for years until he found a Grant. In WWII we could afford a Pearl Harbor or a Kasserine Pass, until we found a Patton or a Nimitz. Even Russia can afford a few failed attempts to rein in Ukraine but at a great cost since it gives time to Ukraine and NATO to require. But two great nuclear powers going at it…

    • I can assure you that this condition has been observed more times than I can count in the war colleges and military-adjacent academic journals. It hasn’t produced any changes – at all. But there are definitely smart people noting that we won’t have time to identify/replace the McClellans with the Grants in a modern war, and fearing the results. The solution, if there is one, has been the bureaucratization of warfare. I quipped at the end of my Navy career that Warfighting Capability is the Happy Accident of Administrative Exactitude – the conceit being that strong management processes will produce good warfighting outcomes. This condition is, of course, significantly amplified by the inclusion of relatively large numbers of women in the officer corps – they are quite good at the Admin side of the Navy so the organization slowly shifts its focus on Admin concerns, since the short-term focus remains demonstrating fealty to the Cloud People’s cult.

      • Milestone D: Women are process oriented; men are results oriented.

        Why feminized oligarchy supports and runs Clown World.

      • “ The solution, if there is one, has been the bureaucratization of warfare. “

        I concede to your expertise as a former military person with knowledge acquired. I have no such experience in the military—having avoided the draft in my youth.

        I would simply note that the word “bureaucratization” to me implies where we started, “managerialism”.

    • The only purpose of the military after a nuclear war would be to seize food from civilians for themselves. You don’t want them to be competent.

    • The CSA was lucky that men like Stonewall Jackson stepped to the fore right out of the gate, when their survival, short-lived that it was, depended on it. Jackson is a great example of today’s essay as it applies to the real world. He was an uninspiring teacher prior to the war, the kind of man no one in today’s managerial class would have given a second thought. But in the blink of an eye he became one of history’s greatest generals. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

      • Same is true for Sherman and Grant, for that matter. Weird. Even Patton was not really considered a top-tier guy.

  11. “These are administrative jobs filled with people tasked with following the rules. They may be required to supervise others who are also tasked with following rules. These are not positions that demand leadership, but rather roles that demand obedience.”
    the managerial class has its checklist too, ESG. ESG may not be fully weighted yet but we all know that day is coming. Competency is completely avoided.

  12. Thanks to Z for an unusually insightful essay today.

    If it’s any consolation, I see no reason why our enemies are not prey to the same problem of promoting the incompetent, which in so many words is just another method of weakening one’s organization.

    That brings to mind a fascinating question: Are there any real world examples of organizations that do in fact, reward the truly competent, powerful, the talented, with promotion in a hierarchy? The best examples I can think of are what I’d term lawless gangs where jungle law (cunning, deception and physical prowess) are dominant factors. I cannot think of a single example where formal rules dictate promotion by merit or by subordinating self-interest to the greater good of the group. Sure, individual exceptions exist. We call them altruists or even self-sacrifice. There may be no greater love than a man who lays down his life for his friends. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s very much the exception, and not the rule of human behavior.

    What executive anywhere ever said this? “You know, I hate to admit it, but my nephew Jeff is really not very suited to work here, even in a minor position. Frankly, I wouldn’t trust him to be alone with my dog, much less to even work in the mail room. I think I should look at this man, although I’ve never heard of him, he got top grades at his university.”

    In contrast, the natural world (ex-Man) consistently selects for competence. It’s called evolution or natural selection and it’s operative in all times and all places.

    • “Are there any real world examples of organizations that do in fact, reward the truly competent, powerful, the talented, with promotion in a hierarchy?”

      IMO, the heavy industries appear to still run this way. When I say heavy industries I am referring to the sector of the economy that still creates and/or maintains society. Lots of these jobs have been highlighted on Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs series. Plumbers, welders, oil rig workers, and so forth. I can see these organizations being on the lookout for individuals who stand out above the rest, and promoting accordingly.

      I believe an important factor in play is that you can’t fake competency in these careers. West Texas oil rigs aren’t keeping a useless diversity corporate suit around to make sure that the drillers have a black, asian, transgay-whatever on the job site. The company only cares about getting that pump online and producing.

      • Question is for how long. One of my kids is an engineer in the LNG shipping business. Competency still counts when you are fooling around with ships full of super-cooled liquid with the BTU equivalent of a small fission weapon. But even in these firms the HR termites are busily at work insisting on “DIE initiatives” to increase “diversity”. Oddly, this industry is about at diverse as you can get. Finnish/Belgian captains, Filipino engineering officers and crews, Venezuelan engineers (all the good ones came to US). Middle Eastern port managers….

        • Oh man. This is getting bleak. Thank your son for providing such a valuable service to our civilization.

          I almost feel like physical force is becoming justified. The DIE commissar can use the force of the organization to create the quotas, and the force of the state to certify and/or train the, “diverse talent.” The injustice of making a person who used their free will to choose a career and to invest time and money in developing a skill that made them employable/valuable un-employable by dictat is monumental. It is so immoral as to be better described as depraved.

          Changing the rules in the middle of the game is essentially what is happening here. That is the proper metaphor. It is a brazen act to do that. Yet, we permit it while we have numbers. At some point you crack the whip or you stop playing the game. Cracking the whip means you make yourself the rule maker, or you live as a pawn. Given that this is life, to stop playing is suicide.

          At some point, the immorality and depravity of the project may justify declaring open season on any DIE bureaucrat. If there is no political/legal solution at our disposal … Clearly after granting freedom, the franchise and spending $22 trillion at a minimum there is no gratitude or desire to play by the same rules. We seem to be volunteering for the Boer option, which isn’t necessary at this current moment. Continued acquiescence will doom our progeny to a horrific fate and perhaps us too depending on how fast it accelerates.

      • The same is true in the companies or orgs within companies that create the technology, (physical and digital machinery), that these real world industries rely upon. You just can’t hide the incompetence when those machines must be relied upon. That will only grow as additive manufacturing and other robotics and computing machinery integrates with physical machinery.

        When I investigate investments, I typically prefer real/physical-world investments. Those companies web sites are littered with DIE statements and initiatives and have hired commissars presumably to carry them out. Companies that operate in South Africa seem to have two different executive teams. There is the executive team of, “locals”, and the real executive team which is typically Anglo/Nordic/American/Canadian. The former’s qualifications seems to be that they command a mob and the government and the latter that they rose through the ranks as engineers, scientists, operators first and then successfully managed ever larger projects and teams. I assume these organizations are structured that way in order to be able to operate in that jurisdiction. It is the cost of doing business.

        Perhaps that is the future of the West. How our managerial class permitted 12% of the population to put them and us in this situation is an epic and devastating failure. Perhaps that outlines the strategy for the future. Be on the technical side and be extremely good. Better than being in a fake it with charisma role where you will be last in line.

        Now if the West goes full affirmative action in all roles, we will need to go Galt in some jurisdiction if that will even work. I was looking at the web site for the recent Chips act and the web site makes it look like the plan is to have the scientists and lab technicians be all black, with a couple of bored white women operating soldering irons. The Congressional rep in charge of that committee is black, has zero background in EE or manufacturing, but seems steeped in black activism.

        If the plan is to build Wakanda, look for nooses to be found on the construction sites and throughout the plant on a regular basis when delivering globally competitive technology becomes problematic and/or new rounds of funding are needed. Unless, the HBD folks are wrong. If they are wrong about genetics, look for Wakanda to materialize, but our people will be marginalized, paupers in North America, if we are dumb enough to stick around for that outcome and lucky enough to be allowed to live. We will be excluded from training and funding to stay and grow at the high end while being crowded out for leaf blower jobs by an endless stream of AmerIndians, subcontinentals, and sub-saharans.

        Maybe there will be opportunities to go to China and help them with their demographic problems. The men will be last as our women will be taken first. If that happens, thanks to Social Media and avocational choices we know who to ship out first – the witches. Maybe Israelis will take us or the diaspora will finally take pity upon us as the most marginalized. It is going to get interesting as life in the Mis-Managerial State unravels.

        • I’m not seeing any updates on the “noose” that was found at the site of the Obama Library and Bath House. I think it’s safe to say that law enforcement understood right from the get-go that it was yet another anti-white hoax. I’m just surprised that they haven’t come up with a way to punish a sacrificial white guy anyway.

    • Take a look at the US Navy. Top-heavy, filled with managers instead of leaders. Some of that is due to Congress, perennial resource allocation and inertia. Some of that is due to the Iron Law of Institutions.
      Now expand that to the rest of the armed forces.

    • Ben the Layabout: “In contrast, the natural world (ex-Man) consistently selects for competence. It’s called evolution or natural selection and it’s operative in all times and all places.”

      Today’s Z essay is all about Passive Aggression and the Passive Aggressive Industrial Complex.

      The darwinists [if they were fully sentient] would declare that, once civilization began to arise, not only were the Passive Aggressives selected for their Passive Aggressive competence [at stabbing their competition in the back], but that, to this day, Passive Aggression continues to intensify and purify itself [via assortative mating between Passive Aggressive males & Passive Aggressive females], to the point that Passive Aggression is now attempting to emerge as fully omnipotent in mortal affairs [cf Bill Gates, Anthony Fauci, Albert Bourla, Klaus Rothschild Schwab, etc].

      My only disagreement with the darwinists would be that Passive Aggression is such a fiendishly clever algorithm for destroying all of creation that only Massa Lucifer himself could have sown the seeds for it in our DNA.

      I steadfastly refuse to believe that something as diabolically evil as Passive Aggression could have arisen randomly, in a mere four billion years, from nothing more than chance encounters between primitive hydrocarbons in the primordial cesspool.

      Dante Alighieri so hated them that he placed the Passive Aggressives [Judas & Brutus & Cassius] in the innermost Ninth Circle of Hell, within the mouth of the Massa Lucifer himself.

      PS: Remove the Praetorian Guard, and the Passive Aggressive Industrial Complex will immediately collapse, and the Passive Aggressives will all flee to hide in the caves, and remain there until “Civilization” begins to reassert itself, at which point it’s safe for the Passive Aggressives to begin infiltrating society again.

      But for at least a very short segment of historical time, no Praetorian Guard means no Passive Aggressives.

      • You’re talking about a group that would prefer directing the scenes from behind the throne.

        As if camoflague or stealth were used in nature. Or as if numbers themselves would be exploited as the background camoflague, a human shield.

        Can’t imagine. Such a group would shriek in outrage when exposed, like women whose competency is questioned.

        • Alzaebo: “As if camoflague or stealth were used in nature.”

          But here, we’re talking about not only physical Darwinism [literal assortative mating, between Passive Aggressive males and Passive Aggressive females, at all the very best and toniest and most expensive prep-schools & colleges & universities], but we’re also talking about META-Darwinism, in that disingenuousness & half-truths & lies & propaganda & mesmerization & hypnotization & treachery & treason are not physical attributes, but rather are psychological & emotional & anti-spiritual & anti-intellectual attributes.

          So now we’ve devolved to the point that we’re tasked with fighting Darwinism both physically and abstractly [where abstract Darwinism becomes META-Darwinism].

      • I upvoted you but solely for your rhetorical skills. Your jibe at Darwinists is very articulate. Alas, your other comments aren’t very persuasive. You don’t know the first thing about passive aggressive disorder and it has absolutely no bearing on what Z discussed in today’s essay.

        • Perhaps I was too hard on Bourbon. I re-read his post and found detail I’d missed the first time.

          As I understood him, he lays too much (all?) blame on Passive-Aggressive behavior. To correct his metaphor, a P-A will never stab his target in the back. P-A by definition is indirect. A beginner P-A would hire an assassin to do the knife work. An expert P-A would skillfully manipulate a willing dupe into the act.

          P-A behavior is found in nearly all organizations. It was formally identified around WW II in the military. Its salient feature is defiance of authority, refusal to cooperate in the mission of a group, always in a passive and often disguised manner. It’s mostly subconscious. A skilled P-A intuitively knows how to sabotage a process such that the blame goes to someone else.

          Obviously such behavior impedes the function of an organization. The issues Z’s essay describes do too, but I’m pretty sure that the motivation is different. A P-A may have many motives to gum up the machinery. Wanting to get out of a commitment or doing work are prime suspects.
          It’s not his fault the machine is mysteriously malfunctioning. It’s tough to prove that he caused by by negligence or outright malice. He gets time off while the machine is repaired.

          Or he swears he’d like nothing more than to be able to finish that project, but how can he, when other departments haven’t supplied him needed components?

          Crucial point: his motivation is mostly personal. He wanted to get out of work he dislikes, he’s defied authority and has plausible justification.

          Orwell’s “Animal Farm” gives an instance:
          “It was soon noticed that when there was work to be done the cat could never be found. She would vanish for hours on end, and then reappear at meal-times, or in the evening after work was over, as though nothing had happened. But she always made such excellent excuses, and purred so affectionately, that it was impossible not to believe in her good intentions.”

          The problems Z treats, in contrast, fall more into the category of eliminating actual or perceived threats to power. Certainly P-A methods can be used to tarnish a rival, but they are only one tool and perhaps not the most effective.

          Bourbon, I probably owe you a bottle. The bad news is it’ll be Early Times 😀

  13. The topic of this essay is dense.

    We are so far beyond the basic problems this essay describes, it makes me pine for this as the problem.

    I’ve been at leadership and team building training. They are repulsive. You want to find out who the leaders are at those things? Find some sensor that measures the internal discomfort and loathing toward the, “trainers”, in the participants and you have identified the people with the emotional intelligence, self respect and sense of self worth required to be a leader. Have that sensor measure the level of joy and ecstasy at being the most eager to denigrate oneself by performing at something that requires no skill and hopes charisma and sycophancy gets them the blue star and a leg up.

    Of course, who runs those seminars and workshops? It used to be people who went to college and invented this useless pursuit as a way to make money. Perhaps some do have some minor thing to offer. Now, it is those same people with an added bonus. They have the perfect government program – Diversity, Inclusion and Equity. First, it is an inversion of what it really is – Discrimination, Intolerance and Exclusion against white men and any person with the gall to think for themselves. Second, it is an invented problem, so since it can never be solved, it requires unending resources and ever more power to do more and better next time.

    Do you want the ultimate indictment on the abject failure of leadership and the scale of it in American life? Every single institution in this country is fully on board with Diversity, Inclusion and Equity. This is proof of the catastrophic failure of leadership in America. This includes Elon Musk. I recently looked in more depth at SpaceX. His COO, Gwynne Shotwell, is a DIE diehard. She is one of the most militant DIE advocates I have ever seen. Yet, Musk tolerates this at the top.

    You can’t train leaders. They are born. Now, the natural born leader must still develop himself, for natural talent in any field, (science, arts, martial enterprise, commercial enterprise …), is not enough to be an effective, much less a great leader. In short, leaders are born. Without whatever that natural born, “thing”, is no amount of development can make someone a leader. From those natural born, that talent must be developed along with detailed expertise in the workings of field. The leader may or may not be the master or best technician, but he will know in great detail the state of the art in the field, and as important, he will know what he doesn’t know. He will know how to tell apart those who do know and those who do not. He will seek counsel from the former and ignore that of the latter.

    I am going to close with one last idea. Management itself is a failed idea. Any enterprise that wants management or is filled with it is in some stage of entropic rot. Successful enterprises identify leaders by allowing them to self identify, and are provided with situations that allow them to develop this innate talent. These men get a proper level of authority when ready. The men they lead are self-organizing, highly competent and manage themselves. The leader inspires them to cooperate, cracks skulls when they don’t, is the final arbiter of disputes, skillfully manages saving face for those who don’t get their way.

    A centurion was not a manager. A centurion was a leader whose scope of authority and whose role was circumscribed. Within that scope he led. Centurion Ventu! Can you manage a victory today? Doomed to fail. Centurion Ventu!

    We are in a mess because management itself is a failing institution – a lightning rod for mediocrity and worse. The regime fears the unbroken stallion. It fears the ragamuffin who refuses to follow orders, and demands some modicum of respect. The regime fears the straight white man, because somewhere inside most of us, is someone either born to lead or born to rally around a mission with capable and worthy leaders. We don’t want something for nothing. We don’t want to just do what we are told. We want meaning that comes from playing a valuable role in a meaningful endeavor.

    Today, that endeavor is a fight for survival. Survival is just the toehold. From there, our people will exercise our will to thrive.

    • Centurion Ventu! Are you and your men leaders? Don’t answer me now. Answer the Gods and your fellow Romans on the battlefield today!

      I meant to say.

      • I’ve heard such seminars are invariably led by a dindu in dreads and a hatchet-faced lesbian.

        The hunting band. White men excel at the hunting band, that would be the natural size to organize along for men, rather than the women’s camp of managerialism.

    • > I am going to close with one last idea. Management itself is a failed idea. Any enterprise that wants management or is filled with it is in some stage of entropic rot.

      This is where culture is more important than even the vaunted marketplace. For example, Bell Labs and The Manhattan Project were monopolies, one government and one private, and they both succeeded by giving their brilliant people broad swath to accomplish their goals.

      Modern managers want to believe the skill differential in employees is plus of minus 20%, when in truth employee skill sets are orders of magnitude different, and managing your best with Jira Tickets, Sprints, and such just like your average employee is nerfing your most powerful assets.

      • Agreed! It seems to me the purpose of the scrum has devolved into a way to ensure that some person doesn’t get stuck for too long by public shaming and accountability. Any even decent engineer doesn’t need this – he holds himself accountable. There is also the dimension of character. Even the those who are not that rare brilliant person, but very skilled people, are hamstrung by these formalities. Then there is the useless form of management of asking great people and teams, “is it done yet?”, “how long will it take? how much longer will it take?”

        To your point, differentials are wide and very unevenly distributed. One of the keys of success in team building and team leadership is unleashing the extremely brilliant and productive to be that way, and at the same time harnessing them enough to lift the very good people the level below to grow.

        Some things, no amount of character will permit you to do. Only true and rare brilliance will do those things. Other things, the right combination of high character and skill will allow teams to flourish as high functioning teams and organizations that can scale.

        Organizations need to have innovation and they need to scale. Leadership figures out what is the most appropriate mechanism for a given situation. A leader is born and then self-cultivates. He is not trained.

        • The problem is another NPC/human divide.

          NPCs being most women and a proportion men have zero, and I mean zero, ability to understand what leadership in a hierarchy actually is as a concept due to their biology. The men are generally those who have an academia or government mindset.

          For them the leadership position is a credential. Credentials and process, not anything else, are substituted in their mind for ability and product.

          You are not even having the same conversation, as the same words do not tie into the same concepts in their heads.

          Its why all industries and knowledge fields are created from scratch by leaders, which get invaded by the credentialists who then build their nest in the space the leadership created out of nothing by lining the nest with rules and process that has no relationship to the supposed primary task.

          Once they are nested, the area is generally dead to moribund as you cannot dislodge them.

    • Fantastic comment, especially the observation about the relative abilities of those who chafe at and those who embrace leadership training.

    • PeriheliusLux: I still remember how surprised I was in high school when a bunch of my AP classmates were talking about the ‘leadership retreat’ they had been chosen – by teachers and counselors – to attend. These were not the brightest nor the most competent nor the most popular kids in the class (let alone in the school). These were the kids with the highest self esteem and best self promotion.

      Taught me an important lesson. Fwiw, I have no idea what any of them ended up doing with their lives – I’ve had zero contact with anyone I went to high school with since I left the place. If they’ve made big waves in the world, they’ve kept it quiet, because I’ve never seen any of their names in the news.

      Now I have seen the names of people I went to grad school with. Again, not the brightest nor most capable nor best looking. A few of them I had met; others I have no recollection of, although it was a small and exclusive institution. If I mentioned their names most here would recognize them – grifters and neocon policy wonks and political power players all. In hindsight, their course was already set and the wheels were greased long before I knew them or they achieved public infamy.

      • “Some are mathemeticians,
        Some are carpenter’s wives,
        Don’t know how it all got started,
        I don’t know what they do with their lives…”

        Bob Dylan
        Tangled Up In Blue

  14. Lloyd Fredenhall—-George Patton.
    Been in this world for years. Pretty early in my career got a reputation as a “fixer” and frankly never had the “rule the world” ambition. But did like to fix broken things. And figured out which C-level folks had a tolerance for someone would tell the truth (quietly) but wade in to correct the fuck-ups. The trade off is, in military parlance, you never rise above “full bird” colonel. But it is interesting and you can retire with a clean conscience. The one class you leave out is the “consultant” class that make their living appealing to the egos of many of these “leaders” and reinforcing their shitty decisions. Which then have to be “un-fucked” by somebody. And eventually they may tire of you—think a guy like Doug MacGregor—who suggested one too many logical re-stacks of the Army’s war fighting capabilities. It’s been funny to watch him accurately predict what’s going on in Ukraine, whilst the rest of the ex-military talking heads on TV chatter about “the Russians are just about to break—send more money”. Until you realize he’s just about the only guy left who planned, trained and fought a large scale maneuver battle on open ground (Battle of 73 Easting) using combined arms. Or has an acute understanding of both the region and the nature of cousin wars.

  15. There’s a big “Yes, but…” here, which is that we have a system of corporate fascism, in which the state and private interests are part of one hideous blob. Granted, the managers are part of what keeps the cancer metastasizing so that healthy cells (the rest of us) have our growth inhibited, but Musk is part of the problem, not the solution. Alright, he slashed half the useless workforce of a totally useless company, but if he really wanted to slash the nonproductive, he could start by slicing his own throat. He’s gotten tons of money to basically clutter the skies with his crap toys and filled the highways with smug people driving the equivalent of two-ton I-phones, all the while pretending he’s Nikolai Tesla when he knows damn well he’s P.T. Barnum.

    How do we unrig the game, or decouple state and private power, make the people running the system play by the same rules as your normiecon cousin who runs a hardware shop and still thinks we live in a capitalist society of men in competition with each other? January 6th proved our rulers are scared of their shadows, but they’re still not scared enough to step down. Then again, I heard Pelosi might be leaving even earlier than planned thanks to what happened with her husband. Deductive reasoning would suggest the answer is simple: illegal immigrant Canadian rent boys posing as Grindr dates must show up, en masse, at the mansions of our rulers, wielding hammers and screaming until our leaders are forced to vacate their mansions. The Q-Anon Shaman was half-naked and had a walking stick, so I guess he was half-right.

    • joey-

      Their control of the printing press and the ability to run it until it glows white hot is one of the key issues.

      The petrodollar’s ability to retain some perception of value is an equally important issue.

      Thus, they will be able to do this until the printing press is taken away from them or the dollar’s value collapses.

      Trouble is, either of those scenarios is going to result in a wide variety of terrible outcomes for almost everyone, even many of the Cloud People.

      • You can’t have a petro dollar if you remove oil from your economy.

        They are lighting themselves on fire with a joyous exultation and taking you with them.

        Maybe they get more points, the more misery and souls they destroy.

  16. “First rate men attract first rate men, while second rate men attract third rate men.”

    Now add women into the equation. The LAST thing any female manager wants is men who can act independently, think creatively and debate the available options.

    • For even more fun try managing a group of mostly third rate women. Nothing but cliques, infighting and personal agendas. That the business has to be successful in order for them to keep their jobs is lost on at least 75% of them.

    • “I don’t want to understand women. Women understand women, and they all hate each other.” – A Bundy

      • And yet, how many will pause from their cat fights to proclaim, “If women ran the world there would be no more wars”?

        • They would be right because women will obliterate the human race by nuking the entire world over some perceived slight, trivial dissent or for likes on social media.

  17. Is this not the Peter Principle writ large? At least on a national level McConnell, Pelosi, ad nausea are poster children for confirmation, expect in their case they’ve arisen several levels above their competency.

  18. Semi-related:

    Is it me or did the Duran botch their analysis of the purported peace overtures between the CIA managers and the Russians?

    The entire point of that exercise is to buy time for the collective West to rest, refit, and rearm the Polish, Romanian, and Bulgarian forces they plan to fold into Western Ukraine, probably fighting under the Uke flag.

    • I wrote about this behind the green door. No one seems to know what is happening at the moment, so everyone is guessing. We know the Russians are massing a huge force, but what they plan to do with it is a mystery. Their very odd behavior in Kherson suggests they have something else planned, but no one knows.

      On the other hand, the overtures from Washington do not make a lot of sense either. There appears to be a schism in Washington and maybe in the West generally. One side wants to wind this down with talks and the other side wants to escalate. Of course, this could just be more narrative making from people who traffic in stories.

      • I don’t think Russia wants the war to end anytime soon. They’re doing just fine selling their resources to Asia, and are working to re-order the Middle Eastern & Asian world away from Western (American) dominance. It’s the West that’s in trouble at the moment.

        Maybe that’s what Western leaders want too, who knows. They seem to work to destroy our Western countries. But either way, Russia is benefitting from this war.

      • The Kherson withdrawal is all about the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric dam which is located upriver to the NE. Ukraine has been trying to destroy this dam for weeks now because it would seriously flood a huge region downstream, including inundate Kherson under 3 meters of water. No military force can withstand that kind of impact and still be viable to fight. And the infamous Ukrainian offensive was awaiting that flood to trap and immobilize the Russian forces before going on the attack. Not anymore. Russia has withdrawn to safer ground and allowed the UFA to occupy this region and be at risk should Russia now chose to blow the dam if need be. Methinks the upcoming Russian offensive is going to come from the north and south, and split Ukraine in two along the Dneiper River.

        • Somewhat fanciful. Russia took Kherson opportunistically at the start of the war – they didn’t fight for it. They don’t need it and they don’t want it. It might have served as a bargaining chip, but Ukraine are not bargaining, so Kherson is a pointless drain on Russian resources. There is no defensible border north of Kherson so Russia has pulled back to the other side of the river. That’s all. This war is going pretty much how I predicted it from the beginning so I don’t even think I’m sticking my neck out here.

      • Whatever the reasoning behind certain moves and posturing, it seems to me that the war has reached a point of high stakes—existential for *both* sides. That’s not good. Doubtful we’ll see immediate collapse of either side, but one side or the other will lose world credibility if we don’t reach a negotiated stalemate.

    • They are working from the wrong assumptions.

      They appear to still be under the impression it is real rather than a predefined dance so will always come up with the wrong analysis.

  19. Not only are third rate men and women being promoted (or “selected” not elected), but also joggers and joggerettes, who are largely sub-third rate as a whole. One would not be wrong thinking a collapse of some magnitude can’t be too far off.

    • usNthem: For various reasons the term ‘collapse’ scares people, or sounds too apocalyptic or tin-foil hat. But what we’re already living, in daily life, is a collapse of order and competency in countless ways. Navigating through an endless phone tree (after having exhausted all online ‘help’ and ‘faq’ information) only to finally get to speak with a live person . . . from Bangladesh. Who has no idea what your issue is and just further screws things up.

      Being informed online that store ‘x’ has item ‘y’ in stock, calling ahead to confirm this, and arriving to find the item is nowhere to be found. And either no one is at the customer service desk, or there’s a long line . . . or your tormentor is named Shaniqua or Pradha.

      We’ve all lived these scenarios, but if you consider them in total – their frequency and overall number – I would argue the ‘collapse’ is already here. I don’t expect widespread starvation in ‘murrica, but I do expect lots of jobless people and increasing government bennies chasing fewer real consumables. I know my older son – working full-time and earning decent money – couldn’t make it supporting his wife and son without our financial help.

      Does anyone here truly expect things to improve – either demographically or politically or economically – in the next year? In the next five years? How many truly believe we’ll somehow ‘muddle through’ because ‘we always do’? There have been countless cases in history where many people lost everything. Whether through war or invasion or financial malfeasance – or due to disease or drought or family or national leader’s death.

      The lure of normalcy bias – that everything will continue as it has been because that’s just how things always go – is terribly strong and hard to resist. But Americans – and White people in general – have been living in a bubble – an historical anomaly – since the end of hostilities in 1945. Just because one individual or another hasn’t experienced the fallout in his personal life doesn’t mean the bubble hasn’t already popped.

      • 3g4me –
        That normalcy bias seems a force almost as strong as gravity – very difficult to deny or overcome.
        Spot on about our living in an historic anomaly. Here’s hoping we do not see a reversion to the norm of, as Hobbes put it: life is nasty, brutish, and short.

    • South Africa still has a power grid, water and sanitation. Ditto for Detroit.
      Maybe not 100% of the time, but they exist.
      Rome never “fell” and the US and The West have a LONG way to decline before hitting Mexican or even Indian levels.
      My young sons may never fly on the The Concord or live to see white men walk on other worlds, but my dozens of yet to be born grandchildren will be like unto gods to the brown hordes of this earth.

  20. Elon Musk made some pretty on-point comments about MBAs and leadership in an company about a year and a half ago. “The path to leadership should be through doing useful things and working your way up. The path should not be through going to MBA business school and parachuting your way into being the boss. There are more people who know how to make PowerPoints then there are people who know how things work and how to make useful stuff”.

    I know he is not one of your favorites, Z-Man, but he definitely is very goal-oriented and knows what stands in the way of actually achieving goals.

    • I love the guy (Elon). My favorite African-American.

      He may very well go out in a blaze of glory, but my god, what a way to live one’s life.

      The happy warrior.

      (Purportedly gave SBF from FTX a hard pass when looking for $$$ to buy Twitter. Seems blazingly obvious in hindsight, but plenty of “smart” people took the bait. Or they just wanted to steal.)

    • Ah, yes. As I was reading today’s post discussing these topics, and their manifestations in the business world, the well nigh omnipresence of MBAs came foremost to my mind.

      People parachuted into businesses about which they very likely have almost no knowledge, yet thinking themselves well-fitted to tackle any business challenge? And just like the Edumacation Racket, arising when third raters agglomerate into teaching MBA programs, and just like in schools of Edumacation, sure that they are Masters of All Trades while often not even being Jacks of Any Trades, being mere idealogues. These trade schools take as their prime directive the necessity to inject their haughty (for no real reason) graduates into the world of commerce to serve as a beachhead for later waves of MBAs from the borg. Parasitic mercenary scum, the Vanguard of Neoliberal Finance Capitalism, chewing at the wires of any genuine economy.

      • JerseyJeffersonian: My husband often shares with me his work travails – usually involving someone who brings zero income or profit to the employer. Some new diversity hire in the IT or accounting field, who has no idea how the business actually works, or who actually generates the money that pays their salaries. There seems to be at least a 10:1 ratio of the useless/support staff to the actual business creators/earners – and this is a relatively small private company.

        No danger to my husband’s job – the company owner knows who’s bringing in the big bucks and all the sales/transactions are tracked daily – but all these layers of intermediate people have their own agendas or conceptions of what their actual job function is – and if that turns out to cause the money producer a problem or force him to find a work around – that’s not their concern.

        The danger of company and economic growth writ large. Success seems to always sow the seeds of destruction.

  21. “These are not positions that demand leadership, but rather roles that demand obedience.”

    I feel a Tom Petty song coming on

  22. Regarding big business: the talent deficit in upper management is simply a function of the agency effect. The gap/misalignment between owner/shareholders and management explains most of the dysfunction. When owners like Musk run businesses, they usually run them better. This will be a controversial assertion on my part, but having spent over 35 years analyzing public companies in various capacities, I can tell you they are in general better run today than 40 years ago. This is a complex topic worth exploring more in future Zman essays.

    Regarding politics: the incompetence is a feature, not a bug. The Oligarchs are happy having total mediocrities “in charge”. The legislation is written by corporate lobbyists in K Street law offices and sold to the public by the carny Congress-critters. The Oligarchs wouldn’t risk letting a truly capable person accumulate too much independent power. Even Trump, a semi-capable huckster, provoked a vitriolic reaction. Imagine the kind of reaction awaiting a very capable guy like DeSantis who really does pose a threat to the WEF crowd.

    • “I can tell you they are in general better run today than 40 years ago.”

      I agree. There was more slack 40 years ago. Those companies that didn’t or couldn’t adapt went to the wall. Which was a large chunk of US manufacturing.

      • No, many of those companies, who actually hewed to their business missions, were put up against a wall and shot by the Smartest Guys in the Room who profited from leveraged buyouts and labor arbitrage, flourishing in the engineered legal and financial environment envisioned by globalist forces, our people’s national and social well-being be damned.

        • Yes, that also true. The Gordon Gekkos and Mitt Romneys did their bit in destroying US manufacturing.

      • That’s going to change very quickly with the retirement of the competent baby boomers and their replacement with the diversity, equity, and inclusion generation.
        There are going to be just too few competent people left to keep companies functioning at top performance levels.
        Companies decided long ago not to spend money on apprenticeship programs for competent white men and their skills,
        Now they will reap the reward.

    • “I can tell you they are in general better run today than 40 years ago.”

      What do you mean by “better”? It would take a pretty good argument to convince me you’re right, but I’d enjoy an essay supporting your contention.

      • Agreed. Nothing against DeSantis, but he really seems like a new comer riding a black swan event, Covid.

        He’s well educated, as in attending Ivy League schools. Did his time in military as a lawyer. Then ran for political office and never looked back. This is a resume of so many pol’s, that I can’t name them all. A man who decided that law, politics, and power are laudable career goals.

        I’m not there yet. Too much experience with those types locally.

        • Supposedly there is at least one DeSantis interview where he reports being revolted by the anti-American attitudes he encountered at Yale.

          Trouble is, that was about 20 years ago. That’s plenty of time for people to change.

          • Howard, I’m surprise at your response. Don’t you know that the term we now use is “grow”? I’m certain DeSantis has grown over 20 years.

            But you point as to which direction remains solid.

    • A rare exception in the capitalist world: When Berkshire Hathaway (Buffet & Munger) acquired a company, they tended to do no more than become its new owners. They tried to keep the existing management in place, thinking that they were the very people who had built a highly successful business and it would make zero sense to be rid of them.

      At least, the above is the story told in books by/about Buffet in the 1990s.

  23. Military “Leadership” is a contradiction in terms. They are bed to be future bureacrats. That’s how you get promoted, especially on the Commission Officer side. Less so as NCOs and probably the least with Warrant Officers.

    Good article from a Boomer Libertarian:

    * Z, we ALL know Massachusetts sucks. New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine are the great white North. The only three states that claim they want diversity more than Massachusetts. Except of course people living in Lewiston. It’s fun busting your balls on it. You try to hide it but it’s clear that a big portion of your life spent forming your opinions was done while you lived up this way.

      • Thank you, Captain Spelling-Grammar.

        Yes. There is a great deal of Brown nosing and fellating that goes in once you make it to a field grade rank (O4 or above) of Major.

    • I’ve held for a long time (and based on conversations with retired ones) that the most fatal mistake in prosecuting the Twenty Years War is that we simply wore out the class of competent war fighting NCOs in all branches. They’re broken and retired(ing) in droves. Not helped by the fact that the tooth to tail ratio in the modern armed forces is so out of balance. Have met guys that did 8-9-10 combat tours—some in the big sandboxes, some in the little unheard of ones. But it wore them out and they never really managed to create a new class behind them.

    • From watching firsthand during my time in the military, the belief that the best leaders are promoted is a myth. Politics is central to upper management’s decision-making process.

      Here is one example:

      Ranking boards are very important to a sailors advancement to the next rank/pay grade. The goal is to have an evaluation marked “Early Promote” (EP) and to be ranked in the top 5. Selection boards for E-7 and above look for these key markers when deciding who is promoted.

      At the E-5 ranking board, all 1st Class Petty Officers (E-6s) vouch and push for their best E-5 sailors to get them a ranked EP. My choice was an E-5 jet engine mechanic who worked in my division. She would arrive at work around 0445 and stay until 1800 most days. As a floor supervisor, she directed the efforts of 4 separate shops composed of around 80 personnel. Myself and other 1st classes in the engine division expected it to be an easy call to get her ranked highly over the rest of the E-5s of the command.

      It was going good until another 1st class from the supply division started asking questions. “How much college does she have? What volunteer work is she involved with?”

      Needless to say, our sailor was not considered competitive enough for a ranked EP due to a lack of outside activities. Her 60+ workweek hours fell to the wayside of importance.

      So no, the military has a spotty record for selecting leadership excellence. A lot of our best and brightest recognize this, and usually decline re-enlisting to head on to the private sector.

      As Z discussed, these issues also plague private businesses and corporations.

  24. All true, and most importantly, it defines the problem narrowly and specifically. That information has great value. In addition, even bloated managerial ranks are few in number compared to the workforce or population-at-large, so it’s a relative small problem in magnitude. Last, second or third rate managers are not natural leaders nor even the up-by-your-bootstraps variety. This means that they are essentially cowards and will flee when the going gets existentially tough. In this respect, emergent behavior is a powerful thing. It doesn’t take much to start a stampede for the exit. This means that a focused remedy can be leveraged into a wave of change rather quickly. Smarter, not harder.

  25. Z: “Mitch McConnell diverted tens of millions of dollars to safe Senate races, but starved out many contested ones, because that served his interests as the senior manager of the party. It is better for him that a third rate zombie like Murkowski returns to the Senate than a potential threat like Blake Masters gets promoted into the Senate.”

    There’s a story which is starting to break this morning, which claims that Mitch McConnell took $2.5 Million from “FTX DIGITAL MARKETS”.

    This is the purported Schedule A:

    This is a Twitter thread about it:

    • I went back and looked at that Twitter thread – I kept wondering, how could some random miscegenating black dude have stumbled upon that particular “Schedule A” – and then it hit me.

      If that “Schedule A” is legit, and if it was intentionally leaked to miscegenating black dude, then I’ll betcha dollars to donuts that it was the work of Ginni Thomas.

    • Wait until the Dems and Repubs join up to keep Pelosi as speaker as an act of “bi-partisan” standing together (against you).

      Now the obvious rigging is cemented they are going to openly piss in everyone’s face to make sure you understand the humiliation.

  26. Private rule could be good, so long as there are some sort of limitations. In general, there have always been these limitations because even strongmen need the support of their vassals. Everyone complains about serfdom, but one thing the lord could not do was disenfranchise his serfs. Yeah, they were tied to the land, but the land was also tied to them. Consider that next time the Fortune 500 firm decides it needs to right-size itself.

  27. > The solution to that is the solution all second rate men find and that is to promote third rate men.

    One of my favorite examples of elevating non-threatening third rate men was an all-employee meeting we had where our new president introduced everyone to her new lackey. The guy started at self-deprecation (“I really don’t know much about this industry”), always a bad sign. Somehow, it got even worse when an employee asked the innocuous question of when he and his family were moving the our location permanently, and he meekly explained how he was currently going through a divorce.

    Management was either filled with guys like this, or absolute sharks who would casually curbstomp you before going to lunch without a pang of guilt. My old manager would promise his underlings something, not follow through, and tell them with a straight face he never said anything of the sort.

    > It is better for him that a third rate zombie like Murkowski returns to the Senate than a potential threat like Blake Masters gets promoted into the Senate. Instinctively, Mitch McConnell selects third rate people because it serves his interest.

    This is hilarious, as the GOPe is now banging on the mantra that they had bad candidates and that was the reason for the failure. Also, it was somehow Trump’s fault. We’re seeing murmurings of revolution against old Mitch, so it will be interesting if it goes anywhere.

    • Chet Rollins: “We’re seeing murmurings of revolution against old Mitch, so it will be interesting if it goes anywhere.”

      That was Rick Scott’s 24-hour initiative, but he had already been cut off at the knees before I went to bed last night [although, admittedly, I stayed up pretty late last night, ’til about 2AM].

  28. “The people at the top, the senior managers, want to keep the pot bubbling so that they can spot the managers with potential and promote them into middle management. They do not want the natural talent boiling off because it is blocked by a ceiling of mediocrity.

    “The military has always suffered from this problem. Peacetime armies tend to develop a leadership class that is good at politics, but not war fighting. Wars always result in changes at the top and a restructuring of the officer class.”

    As you point out later in your essay, the people at the top are themselves a thoroughly third-rate lot. The emphasis on “leadership” paradoxically highlights the fact that there is just about none in the USA in either politics, the military, or business and all these honchos are desk jockeys “covering their asses” and promoting other yes-men to be their lieutenants.

    As for wars resulting in changes, I’m not so sure about that. Look at the general staff of the British and French armies in WW1 — I don’t recall mass purges of their ranks. General Sir Douglas Haig, for example, was awarded an earldom after the war. His even more incompetent predecessor, Sir John French, was made a viscount, and then also made an earl.

    Western societies are ossified from top to bottom. The natural consequence of this is a Joe Biden, a Liz Truss, and an Emmanuel Macron.

    • > Western societies are ossified from top to bottom. The natural consequence of this is a Joe Biden, a Liz Truss, and an Emmanuel Macron.

      The classic solution to this was a man who came along through force of will and completely wiped the slate clean. The current apparatus is explicitly designed to not allow this to happen, but a top-heavy and sclerotic institution slowly loses its ability to keep out outsiders, which, along with its inability to lock the masses in support of them, usually spells doom long-term.

      • Chet Rollins: “The classic solution to this was a man who came along through force of will and completely wiped the slate clean.”

        God Emperor Trump certainly fulfilled the ‘force of will’ role in 2015 & 2016.

        But then he got cold feet when he dipped his toe in the Rubicon, and never summoned up the nads necessary to ‘wipe the slate clean’ [i.e. drain the swamp].

        • I don’t think that was ever really in the cards. Even if Trump governed twice as good as he campaigned, this was just out of the realm of possibility.

        • Trump didn’t understand politics—at least not to the level of today’s typical duplicitous pol. He understood private power as the owner/operator of a private company, Tump Inc. He assumed he could tell folks what to do and if they didn’t do it, “fire” them. He didn’t dip his toe into the Rubicon, he jumped with both feet into a snake pit called Washington, DC.

          He learned slowly, too slowly (and that’s his fault I agree) and was struck down before he could fully put to work his new knowledge. However, those attempting to walk in his shadow—Trumpists—seem to have taken that lesson to heart, which is one reason they are fought against by both Dem’s and many Rep’s (old school types still in office who relish their role as the Washington Generals).

          Here in AZ, we saw all of these new Rep (Trumpist) candidates campaigned against simply by associating them with Trump. Trump association got them through the primaries, but could not overcome the Dem election fraud machine.

          I’ve never seen a politician who has created such ire as Trump. Now the meme being pushed is that we need to move on to Trump lite—someone without the baggage—DeSantis. But is this another Trump, or someone who will go along to get along—a gate keeper as we use the term?

          I’m betting gate keeper.

          • I wouldn’t trust DeSantis if he said the sky was blue and the grass was green.

            That dude’s resume has “Deep State” written all over it.

          • The great Padraig Martin on Gab says DeSantis and Trump are playing a game, called:

            Don’t be afraid of lying to liars.

            Desantis kissed the Wall, sure. And then proceeded to deftly break up the J**ish and black power centers in his state, using their own greed against them.

            When threatened with the usual accusations, he could point to the Wall and a toothless “law”.

            I’ll bet Heavy D and Red Skull T are baiting the Beltway with a pretend catfight.

  29. In the military sphere the rulers are forced to replace the politicians in the officer ranks with genuine wartime leaders.

    Oh, there’s a popular and effective alternative to that method. The enemy mounts the heads of the incompetent leaders — political and military — on pikes around the city they’ve conquered. Incompetence problem solved!

      • Götterdamn-it-all: “they make a giant pyramid of the heads of the rest of the population…”

        The skulls of males, at least, and maybe the skulls of some of the uglier/nastier/harpier of the females.

        But the comely females tend to become concubines.

        The big question for the comely females is what happens to them when they hit peri-menopause, and they’re no longer of any use to anyone?

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