By Kevin Wade and Fay Voshell
Competence is the ability to get things done. The word itself has no particular value judgment attached to it.
Many perfectly intelligent people have been labeled “incompetent,” particularly by conservatives, when actually they are or have been quite competent — at achieving disasters. We have such a person sitting in the White House — quite intelligent, but committed to disastrous ideology. Our present administration is not incompetent in the way its officials go about achieving their goals, using as they do the incredible powers of bureaucracy and executive orders to bypass Congress and override the Constitution. They are perfectly competent in promoting and putting their toxically incompetent leftist ideology into effect.
To put it another way, people who are competent at creating disasters are not necessarily dimwitted, though some are. The problem is not their stupidity. The problem is that their core ideas about how the world works are wrong. If their basic ideas are wrong, everything else goes wrong.
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History abounds with cases of bright people who have been zealously committed to wrong ideas they were expert in putting into action.
Trofim Lysenko was an intelligent Russian peasant who rejected Mendelian genetics in favor of agricultural Lamarckianism. He manipulated the scientific method in order it fit into Soviet communist ideology. Political ideology dictated his agricultural methods, with disastrous results that lingered for decades. German race theorists were bright people, but they were committed to a “science” of race glorifying Aryans and denigrating the rest of humanity. We all know how those race theorists’ ideas turned out. Today’s global warmists are not stupid people, but they go beyond the limits of scientific method, endorsing instead what is basically deluded apocalyptic prophecy. Chairman Mao Zedong’s idea to have citizens smelt iron in their backyards was ineffably stupid, but he himself was a cunning and savvy manipulator who got appalling things done with remarkable efficiency.
It is not hard to find examples of how things have gone wrong because of bad ideas now in ascendency in Washington. A complete list would fill a book, but a random list could include the incompetence of the ObamaCare website and the ACA in general; the incredible expense of trafficking alien children around the U.S. versus the cost of returning them to their own villages; the nonstop printing of trillions and trillions of dollars; the appalling waste and improper payments in Medicare and Medicaid; the corruption of the Food Stamp program and the misuse of the Social Security disabilities program.
The competence to wreak havoc extends to whole nations, which can be completely run into the ground because defective ideology is effectively employed by a bunch of zealous, bright people who are wholeheartedly committed to bad ideas.
As Panos Mourdoukoutas noted in Forbes magazine, recent economic troubles in Greece have been due almost solely to bad ideas put into practice by competent ideologues whose business model very effectively produced economic and societal catastrophe:
For years, Greece had the wrong business model — A Semi-Soviet, semi-Latin model that was backwards — it applied markets and governments in areas of the economy where each institution fails rather than excels. This resulted in a large and corrupt government that lacked the resources to finance its multiple roles in the economy.
With the former Soviet Union as a model, the Greek economy was subject to the excessively intrusive presence of government in the business and professional lives of citizens, directly controlling more than 50% of the economy. Government was active in the pension fund industry, as manager of employer-employee contributions, deciding who would retire, when their retirement would happen, and what pension they would receive.
Government was present in commodity markets, as regulator and gatekeeper, deciding who could be in what kind of business and for how long; and in labor markets, setting labor compensation and employment standards.
The core incompetency that afflicted Greece and that is now afflicting our own country is leftist ideology, including leftist economic policy.
When disaster producing ideas are the foundation stones of governance, no amount of finagling with business models; no new techniques or innovative means to improve efficiency; no new five-year planning commissions; no new agencies created to examine the problems of government will ever succeed in improving those governments, state and federal, as life-killing ideas have no ability whatever to enable society to flourish. As long as our leadership is committed to outdated, disproven and ruinous ideologies, the results will be the same as they have been wherever leftist ideals have been promoted and implemented: cataclysmic failure, both economic and societal.
But with the right ideas put into effect, a country’s turnaround can be rapid. As Mourdoukoutas writes:
But now, in the aftermath of the most recent crisis, the Greek economic model has begun to change. The country seems to have gotten its economic model right: the size of government has been reduced, state-owned enterprises have been privatized, transparency is improving, and calm is returning to the streets of major cities.
Result? Government deficits are turning into surpluses, exports and tourism are soaring, shipping leads the world, and real GDP is turning the corner. Slowly, Greece is rebuilding its brand image.
Simply put: Greece is headed in the right direction, applying the right institutions in the right sectors, releasing the ingenuity and creativity of its people.
What is happening in Greece can happen here. It has happened here. In many respects, it started here.
But the American miracle that is our constitutional republic, along with the gifts it has imparted to the whole world, will not be revived and nursed back to health unless the incompetent ideology of the Left is firmly renounced across the board, both in faith and practice. Leftist ideology is an American political heresy that has no real roots in our history, no consonance with the independence-loving American character, no resonance with American’s highest ideals and therefore no real place in our society.
In the final analysis, one must place a moral judgment on leftist ideology and its deleterious results. At every turn, leftist ideology has been proved incompetent in producing a flourishing society. It has always produced disaster. Always. There is not one exception in all the Left’s brutal, inglorious and destructive history.
In the end, the goal of government is to contribute to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of every citizen. Unless government is committed to and driven by ideals that support those goals, it is not just useless. It is not merely incompetent. It is corrupt and tyrannical.
There is still enough life and enough good in our republic of the United States to return to and to affirm the principles that make us the greatest nation on earth.
The only question is whether or not we will do so.
Kevin Wade is the Delaware’s Republican candidate for the US senate. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Fay Voshell is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and other online publications. She may be reached at email@example.com
First published at American Thinker.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.