Quote of the Day: Conspiracy or Incompetence?

 

“Whenever you’re faced with an explanation of what’s going on in Washington, the choice between incompetence and conspiracy, always choose incompetence.”  — Charles Krauthammer

I still miss him. Charles Krauthammer was able to observe the political landscape with savvy and insight, and often nailed the Washington scene accordingly. But when I read this quotation, I wondered if Charles would make the same observation, given the events of the last five to ten years.

I think today he would come to a different conclusion.

Instead, he would likely say that rather than choose between incompetence and conspiracy, an astute observer would need to say that both incompetence and conspiracy apply.

A person wouldn’t have to go far to recognize that several events, to be described accurately, would include both attributes:

  • The Russian hoax—clearly the plans of the FBI were insidious and lawless—a conspiracy extraordinaire—but the sloppiness of their efforts has also damaged the agency’s reputation forever.
  • Hillary’s efforts to take down Trump were baked into the conspiracy pie, and her explanation for covering her deletion of 30,000 emails was laughable.
  • The Great Reset continues to proceed in the background, with the international set conspiring with our own elites(so to speak), already wreaking havoc on our economy.
  • Modern monetary theory (MMT) is lauded as the most progressive approach to managing the economy, defying reason and common sense, while its proponents continue to defend it with misguided hopes, expectations, and dreams.
  • Marxism is raising its ugly head again (called only “socialism”), pushed by the elites in their attempt to control society, while choosing to ignore the disastrous results of the Marxist agenda in the past.
  • COVID-19 management has been a farce, as Washington bureaucrats bumbled and stumbled in their efforts to figure out how to protect the population, yet using strategies that are obvious attempts to increase their control over our citizens.
  • The commission investigating the January 6 “insurrection” is an embarrassment to anyone who knows what actually happened. This group is conspiring to ensure that Donald Trump is punished for having been our President, and they are dragging out their investigation with irrelevant interviews of people, just to smear as many people as they can along the way. Their efforts are an insult to our country and the world.

The list could be much, much longer, but it’s clear to me that we are governed by ignorant and incompetent bureaucrats who have exaggerated views of their own competence, and who are determined to unite in an effort to destroy the freedoms that we treasure.

What do you think of my analysis?

Feel free to add to the list!

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn: What do you think of my analysis?

    Excellent. Do you ever get bored being so good?

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Susan Quinn: Feel free to add to the list!

    Don’t wanna! This is quite bad enough already.

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Percival (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: What do you think of my analysis?

    Excellent. Do you ever get bored being so good?

    “So good” as in . . . what? I keep telling people you have not seen my nasty side!

    • #3
  4. Neil Hansen (Klaatu) Inactive
    Neil Hansen (Klaatu)
    @Klaatu

    I think your analysis is tainted by confirmation bias and that is exactly what Charles Krauthammer warned against.  Take a moment and attempt to steelman the arguments made by those who disagree with you in each of these instances and see if the idea of a nefarious conspiracy is the best explanation.

    • #4
  5. John Park Member
    John Park
    @jpark

    Lois Lerner, perhaps.

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Neil Hansen (Klaatu) (View Comment):

    I think your analysis is tainted by confirmation bias and that is exactly what Charles Krauthammer warned against. Take a moment and attempt to steelman the arguments made by those who disagree with you in each of these instances and see if the idea of a nefarious conspiracy is the best explanation.

    You bring up a valid point. I checked one definition of conspiracy:

    to join in a secret agreement to do an unlawful or wrongful act or an act which becomes unlawful as a result of the secret agreement accused of conspiring to overthrow the governmentconspired to monopolize and restrict tradebSCHEME2to act in harmony toward a common end. Circumstances conspired to defeat his efforts.

    You were the one who used the word “nefarious,” not me. I would suggest that the items I listed were not done in good faith, were done to do harm, in some cases broke the law, were done in secret with the intent to deceive. Although I do have a bias against the Dems, I think that my use of the word here is justified. But we can disagree.

    • #6
  7. Neil Hansen (Klaatu) Inactive
    Neil Hansen (Klaatu)
    @Klaatu

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Neil Hansen (Klaatu) (View Comment):

    I think your analysis is tainted by confirmation bias and that is exactly what Charles Krauthammer warned against. Take a moment and attempt to steelman the arguments made by those who disagree with you in each of these instances and see if the idea of a nefarious conspiracy is the best explanation.

    You bring up a valid point. I checked one definition of conspiracy:

    : to join in a secret agreement to do an unlawful or wrongful act or an act which becomes unlawful as a result of the secret agreement accused of conspiring to overthrow the governmentconspired to monopolize and restrict tradeb: SCHEME2: to act in harmony toward a common end. Circumstances conspired to defeat his efforts.

    You were the one who used the word “nefarious,” not me. I would suggest that the items I listed were not done in good faith, were done to do harm, in some cases broke the law, were done in secret with the intent to deceive. Although I do have a bias against the Dems, I think that my use of the word here is justified. But we can disagree.

    It is the assumption the actions were not done in good faith which I believe is mistaken.  Can you not imagine a good faith reason government officials would take extreme measures to prevent the spread of a deadly virus?  Or a member of Congress wanting to find out what led to a violent attack on the Congress itself?

    • #7
  8. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    I’ve been reading (listening to) The Federalists Papers.  They are inspiring in that they show how ahead of their time the founders were in their thinking.  To the point here and maybe the foundation of Charles’ thinking, the way things were laid out to operate, it would be incredibly difficult for a large conspiracy to develop and get away with much.  I think we see and should be obvious as a given to mankind being involved, that there are mini conspiracies all around, but I believe I agree with Charles that the main issue is incompetence.   And I’m not sure the founders realized how incompetent we could become.

    • #8
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Neil Hansen (Klaatu) (View Comment):

    I think your analysis is tainted by confirmation bias and that is exactly what Charles Krauthammer warned against. Take a moment and attempt to steelman the arguments made by those who disagree with you in each of these instances and see if the idea of a nefarious conspiracy is the best explanation.

    You bring up a valid point. I checked one definition of conspiracy:

    : to join in a secret agreement to do an unlawful or wrongful act or an act which becomes unlawful as a result of the secret agreement accused of conspiring to overthrow the governmentconspired to monopolize and restrict tradeb: SCHEME2: to act in harmony toward a common end. Circumstances conspired to defeat his efforts.

    You were the one who used the word “nefarious,” not me. I would suggest that the items I listed were not done in good faith, were done to do harm, in some cases broke the law, were done in secret with the intent to deceive. Although I do have a bias against the Dems, I think that my use of the word here is justified. But we can disagree.

    Conspiracies have been discounted as a class by the application of the suffix “theory.” Illegal unsecured servers containing communications classified at the highest level? Conspiracy theory. An utterly false dossier being used to justify otherwise illegal surveillance? Conspiracy theory. Donald Trump being targetted by such surveillance both before and after being elected President? Conspiracy theory. Actions by Putin being incapable of triggering unprecedented inflation one year before the invasion of Ukraine? Conspiracy theory.

    See? It’s easy.

    • #9
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):
    And I’m not sure the founders realized how incompetent we could become.

    I think they did know. They put checks and balances in place against it. Unfortunately, we tore those out of the system, allowing power to be concentrated in Washington. They also knew that it wouldn’t last. They were students of history. The system of the Roman Republic was pretty good. Many of them revered Cincinnatus. They knew that the Roman Republic only really lasted a few centuries before falling to the Principate. They knew of other examples from history, too. But all that they could do is try to make it work while they lived and pass down warnings to those to whom they left the republic they founded. It was fewer than a hundred years before their warnings started to go unheeded. A hundred-fifty years later, their descendants were removing the fences they had erected.

    • #10
  11. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    The whole redefinition of sex generally, the perversion of childhood sexuality, and the advocacy of abnormal sexual deviancy in adults.

    The negating of the concepts of motherhood and fatherhood, the hindering of fathers to father their children, and the replacement of fathers with the federal government.

    The redefinition of marriage.

    And the increasing propensity of the government to view children as property of the state.

    • #11
  12. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    The problem with choosing incompetence over conspiracy is the underlying assumption that widespread chaos and destruction requires competence. It clearly doesn’t. It just requires an appeal to base human nature (see people climbing all over each other to get to the top of the victim-status hierarchy and many of the same people falling for promises of a “free” lunch). A virtuous and free society is the exception, not the norm. 

    There’s also this underlying assumption that conspiracies require coordination. I think that’s only marginally true. A few people with money and influence (Zuckerbucks) can affect outcomes without direct instruction to people ideologically already in their camp. 

    In short, it’s so easy being a “competent” leftist because leftism is about division and destruction, not unity and creation. It’s of the devil.

    • #12
  13. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Let me say that conspiracies do exist, that’s why they’re illegal; and they make up a surprisingly large number of criminal charges.  And conspiracies are by definition wrong, and by definition involve two or more people.

    And since conspiracies involve wrong-doing, the thing that people don’t do is talk about them.  If they do, they lie about their intentions.  This is fundamental to a conspiracy.

    When two people are standing in front of you, and are lying to you, for a comment end, it is a conspiracy.  Or if they are telling you the truth in such a way that you won’t believe it, it’s a lie, and it’s a conspiracy.  If one person is lying to you, and someone else knows about it, and for the purpose of furthering a common end says nothing, that is wrong, and it’s a conspiracy.

    In recent years, there has been a wonderous emphasis on “transparency”.  Firstly, why would someone tout transparency except that there is a lack of it, and a preponderance of concealment and deception?  Secondly, why does it always seem to turn out that those who tout transparency the loudest seem to be the least transparent.  It is because those who tout transparency know that most everyone wants the truth, and this is what those who tout transparency want to hide.  So they lie even about lying.

    Every time two or more journalists, or politicians, or corporate executives, or doctors, or lawyers, or used car salesmen, lie to you for a common goal they are engaging in a conspiracy.

    There may be incompetence mixed in, but there is always malice.

    The reason today that people see so many conspiracies about, is that they are getting more plentiful and progressively grander in scope.  To close one’s eyes to seeing a “conspiracy” is to live in a fool’s utopia.

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Neil Hansen (Klaatu) (View Comment):
    It is the assumption the actions were not done in good faith which I believe is mistaken.  Can you not imagine a good faith reason government officials would take extreme measures to prevent the spread of a deadly virus?  Or a member of Congress wanting to find out what led to a violent attack on the Congress itself?

    My issue with the virus is the government’s insistence that it is following the science, when in fact it is not, particularly regarding the wearing of masks. They have paid no attention to the studies that the masks are barely helpful, but instead of leaving the decision to wear a mask up to the citizen, they have repeatedly required mask wearing. They choose to accept some “scientific” decisions and reject others, in fact banning the information that contradicts their opinion from social media. The investigation of 1/6 could be justified, except they are demanding interviews with people who were not involved, e.g., Ginnie Thomas, and then demanding that Clarence Thomas resign. It is how they are conducting the investigation, not just the decision to do it.

    • #14
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Flicker (View Comment):

    The whole redefinition of sex generally, the perversion of childhood sexuality, and the advocacy of abnormal sexual deviancy in adults.

    The negating of the concepts of motherhood and fatherhood, the hindering of fathers to father their children, and the replacement of fathers with the federal government.

    The redefinition of marriage.

    And the increasing propensity of the government to view children as property of the state.

    Thanks for adding to the list, Flicker. And well done.

    • #15
  16. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Krauthammer  was a smart, thoughtful guy, but deep down he was a neoconservative elitist.

    He would now be an active part of advocating the total lack of conspiracy theories and all for the  “incompetence” narrative. I have little doubt of that.

    I’ve come to realize that anyone who is/was allowed to work for The Washington Post and allowed onto the network Sunday shows as an analyst. had/has an agenda that is in full compliance with our Intelligence agencies goals.

    And everyone who had Democrat sensibilities except for how the US should wield its power globally as Charles K. had, is no friend of people like me.

    I used to be a fan, and read almost everything he wrote. Now I’ve wised-up. Live and learn…

    • #16
  17. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: What do you think of my analysis?

    Excellent. Do you ever get bored being so good?

    “So good” as in . . . what? I keep telling people you have not seen my nasty side!

    You cannot have a nasty side . . .

    • #17
  18. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    Flicker (View Comment):

    The whole redefinition of sex generally, the perversion of childhood sexuality, and the advocacy of abnormal sexual deviancy in adults.

    The negating of the concepts of motherhood and fatherhood, the hindering of fathers to father their children, and the replacement of fathers with the federal government.

    The redefinition of marriage.

    And the increasing propensity of the government to view children as property of the state.

    I agree with @susanquinn‘s take on the CK quote, and I was a big fan of his. I think the above list of recent developments demonstrate how times have changed, and quickly. 

    • #18
  19. Hank Rhody is a different guy altogether Member
    Hank Rhody is a different guy altogether
    @Misthiocracy

    It’s not technically a conspiracy for competent folk to take advantage of governments’ incompetence.  There’s always profit to be made from the mistakes of powerful institutions.

    • #19
  20. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Hunter’s laptop! Attested to by 51 former intelligence professionals as having all the hallmarks of “Russian disinformation.”

    I’m beginning to think that our “intelligence professionals” couldn’t correctly identify the Moscow subway weekday schedule.

    • #20
  21. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    I can give you good faith at the outset of Covid – although it had already become politicized as the Dems seized it as a stick to beat Trump from the very beginning (“racist”, “reckless development of vaccines I will never take”). But the Jan 6 commission has been a witch-hunt from the get-go, and clearly the ‘Republican’ members are so far removed from ‘good faith’ they couldn’t spot it with the James Webb telescope. 

    • #21
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Franco (View Comment):

    Krauthammer was a smart, thoughtful guy, but deep down he was a neoconservative elitist.

    He would now be an active part of advocating the total lack of conspiracy theories and all for the “incompetence” narrative. I have little doubt of that.

    I’ve come to realize that anyone who is/was allowed to work for The Washington Post and allowed onto the network Sunday shows as an analyst. had/has an agenda that is in full compliance with our Intelligence agencies goals.

    And everyone who had Democrat sensibilities except for how the US should wield its power globally as Charles K. had, is no friend of people like me.

    I used to be a fan, and read almost everything he wrote. Now I’ve wised-up. Live and learn…

    That sure is a lot of assuming, Franco, about a dead fellow. I’ll remind you that at one point he was a Democrat and changed over. I have a hard time believing that he’d go along with the garbage coming out of our intelligence agencies, but who knows?

    • #22
  23. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Perhaps people are getting hung up on the coordination aspect of ‘conspiracy’. What if we said: in a choice between incompetence and bad faith, choose bad faith?

    • #23
  24. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):

    Krauthammer was a smart, thoughtful guy, but deep down he was a neoconservative elitist.

    He would now be an active part of advocating the total lack of conspiracy theories and all for the “incompetence” narrative. I have little doubt of that.

    I’ve come to realize that anyone who is/was allowed to work for The Washington Post and allowed onto the network Sunday shows as an analyst. had/has an agenda that is in full compliance with our Intelligence agencies goals.

    And everyone who had Democrat sensibilities except for how the US should wield its power globally as Charles K. had, is no friend of people like me.

    I used to be a fan, and read almost everything he wrote. Now I’ve wised-up. Live and learn…

    That sure is a lot of assuming, Franco, about a dead fellow. I’ll remind you that at one point he was a Democrat and changed over. I have a hard time believing that he’d go along with the garbage coming out of our intelligence agencies, but who knows?

     

    Susan Quinn:

     

    I think today he would come to a different conclusion.

    That’s not an assumption?

    You don’t have to remind me about his change of heart – as it were. I know. But what caused him to change? 

    Assuming the change was genuine, it was about Americas projection of power and Democrats hostility to Israel as I recall.

    If George Will (who I’d put in the same general category as Krauthammer, a moderate erudite pundit who is allowed to appear on the right screens and pages) hasn’t woken up, what makes anyone think Krauthammer would be different? 

     

    • #24
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Franco (View Comment):
    That’s not an assumption?

    I knew you’d get me on that one! But I only made one assumption. 

    You make a good point. We don’t know. But my recollection is that Krauthammer grudgingly accept Trump, as did many of us. That means at least he wasn’t a Never Trumper. But let me check on this . . . assumption. . .

    • #25
  26. Neil Hansen (Klaatu) Inactive
    Neil Hansen (Klaatu)
    @Klaatu

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Neil Hansen (Klaatu) (View Comment):
    It is the assumption the actions were not done in good faith which I believe is mistaken. Can you not imagine a good faith reason government officials would take extreme measures to prevent the spread of a deadly virus? Or a member of Congress wanting to find out what led to a violent attack on the Congress itself?

    My issue with the virus is the government’s insistence that it is following the science, when in fact it is not, particularly regarding the wearing of masks. They have paid no attention to the studies that the masks are barely helpful, but instead of leaving the decision to wear a mask up to the citizen, they have repeatedly required mask wearing. They choose to accept some “scientific” decisions and reject others, in fact banning the information that contradicts their opinion from social media. The investigation of 1/6 could be justified, except they are demanding interviews with people who were not involved, e.g., Ginnie Thomas, and then demanding that Clarence Thomas resign. It is how they are conducting the investigation, not just the decision to do it.

    Someone justifying or rationalizing their decisions in a manner you find unpersuasive or even factually inaccurate isn’t evidence of bad faith.  The conflict between security and liberty is one of the most basic in politics.  People accept different levels of risk and that is not going to change and when you add the natural political CYA impulse most public officials are going to err on the side of security.  That isn’t evil but human.  It takes a certain level of courage for a political leader to do otherwise.

    Where has the 1/6 Committee demanded Justice Thomas resign?  What about the investigation is problematic?

    • #26
  27. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Why the reference to Marxism? Do you think there is a good, non-Marxist, socialism?

    • #27
  28. Neil Hansen (Klaatu) Inactive
    Neil Hansen (Klaatu)
    @Klaatu

    genferei (View Comment):

    Perhaps people are getting hung up on the coordination aspect of ‘conspiracy’. What if we said: in a choice between incompetence and bad faith, choose bad faith?

    I think it is the assumption of bad faith by those on both sides that has led us to the vitriolic partisan divide we have now.  Our system of government only works when those with different ideas, priorities, and interests can discuss and compromise.  Assuming your opponent is acting in bad faith makes that difficult if not impossible.

    It used to be a conservative criticism of the left that they saw us as evil while we simply saw them as wrong.

    • #28
  29. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Neil Hansen (Klaatu) (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Neil Hansen (Klaatu) (View Comment):
    It is the assumption the actions were not done in good faith which I believe is mistaken. Can you not imagine a good faith reason government officials would take extreme measures to prevent the spread of a deadly virus? Or a member of Congress wanting to find out what led to a violent attack on the Congress itself?

    My issue with the virus is the government’s insistence that it is following the science, when in fact it is not, particularly regarding the wearing of masks. They have paid no attention to the studies that the masks are barely helpful, but instead of leaving the decision to wear a mask up to the citizen, they have repeatedly required mask wearing. They choose to accept some “scientific” decisions and reject others, in fact banning the information that contradicts their opinion from social media. The investigation of 1/6 could be justified, except they are demanding interviews with people who were not involved, e.g., Ginnie Thomas, and then demanding that Clarence Thomas resign. It is how they are conducting the investigation, not just the decision to do it.

    Someone justifying or rationalizing their decisions in a manner you find unpersuasive or even factually inaccurate isn’t evidence of bad faith. The conflict between security and liberty is one of the most basic in politics. People accept different levels of risk and that is not going to change and when you add the natural political CYA impulse most public officials are going to err on the side of security. That isn’t evil but human. It takes a certain level of courage for a political leader to do otherwise.

    Where has the 1/6 Committee demanded Justice Thomas resign? What about the investigation is problematic?

    In at least four or five of Susan’s bullet points, lying was employed.  That negates any presumption of “good faith”.  And my comment about sex, family, and fatherhood revolve around lies concerning so-called gender fluidity, child sexuality, and toxic masculinity.  Again, lies demonstrating bad faith.

    • #29
  30. Neil Hansen (Klaatu) Inactive
    Neil Hansen (Klaatu)
    @Klaatu

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Neil Hansen (Klaatu) (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Neil Hansen (Klaatu) (View Comment):
    It is the assumption the actions were not done in good faith which I believe is mistaken. Can you not imagine a good faith reason government officials would take extreme measures to prevent the spread of a deadly virus? Or a member of Congress wanting to find out what led to a violent attack on the Congress itself?

    My issue with the virus is the government’s insistence that it is following the science, when in fact it is not, particularly regarding the wearing of masks. They have paid no attention to the studies that the masks are barely helpful, but instead of leaving the decision to wear a mask up to the citizen, they have repeatedly required mask wearing. They choose to accept some “scientific” decisions and reject others, in fact banning the information that contradicts their opinion from social media. The investigation of 1/6 could be justified, except they are demanding interviews with people who were not involved, e.g., Ginnie Thomas, and then demanding that Clarence Thomas resign. It is how they are conducting the investigation, not just the decision to do it.

    Someone justifying or rationalizing their decisions in a manner you find unpersuasive or even factually inaccurate isn’t evidence of bad faith. The conflict between security and liberty is one of the most basic in politics. People accept different levels of risk and that is not going to change and when you add the natural political CYA impulse most public officials are going to err on the side of security. That isn’t evil but human. It takes a certain level of courage for a political leader to do otherwise.

    Where has the 1/6 Committee demanded Justice Thomas resign? What about the investigation is problematic?

    In at least four or five of Susan’s bullet points, lying was employed. That negates any presumption of “good faith”. And my comment about sex, family, and fatherhood revolve around lies concerning so-called gender fluidity, child sexuality, and toxic masculinity. Again, lies demonstrating bad faith.

    You’re assuming the lies.  people can, and often do, believe things which are not true.  They can also lie to protect themselves rather than harm another.

    • #30
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