Conspiracy of Competence?

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Dilbert scribe Scott Adams shares his favorite conspiracy theory:

My favorite conspiracy theory is the one that says the world is being run by a handful of ultra-rich capitalists, and that our elected governments are mere puppets. I sure hope it's true. Otherwise my survival depends on hordes of clueless goobers electing competent leaders. That's about as likely as a dog pissing the Mona Lisa into a snow bank.

The only way I can get to sleep at night is by imagining a secret cabal of highly competent puppetmasters who are handling the important decisions while our elected politicians debate flag burning and the definition of marriage.

Read, as they say, the whole thing.

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  1. So the author of Dilbert thinks capitalists are super-competent? Hmf – wouldn’t know it from his strip.

  2. Semi-related: here’s a hilarious Onion story about the guy who de jure is the leader of the country and his power: Bush Grants Self Permission To Grant More Power To Self

  3. Uncle Lumpy,

    I think Scott Adams respects people like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and other super capitalists. Its the middle management that exemplifies incompetency because of the levels of insualtion between their incompetence and CEO percieved company performance that drives him mad.

  4. I’ve often wished the political parties (especially the republicans since they’re running everything) were the running dog lackeys of Capital as is often alleged. Instead they tend to be hijacked by various cults. (Neocons, fundies, and crony corporatists in the republican case).

    Dilbert is more about corporations than capitalism. Corporations are odd. On the inside they tend to be slow, stupid, reality distortion zones. But we all get fed and the electricity stays on.

  5. The reason why the world works despite the incompetence of its political leaders is simple:

    The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient, by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it. Trade and commerce, if they were not made of india-rubber, would never manage to bounce over obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievious persons who put obstructions on the railroads.

    –the real Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

  6. Back when paranoid militias were all the rage, I used to tell folks that I hoped there was a New World Order manipulating all the worlds events bent on taking over the US. Any entity that competent would have to be an improvement.

  7. No, no, no, they’re not ultra-rich capitalists, they’re ultra-rich FASCISTS. Big difference. Of course, everyone knows it’s the Jesuits who really run things. It’s all about the Counter-Reformation.

  8. The world’s plenty big for both the invisible hand and the incompetent. Just because the invisible hand makes the idiot masses seem smart doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of ridiculous idiots in charge of those masses. …and ridiculing the ridiculous at work doesn’t mean you’re against capitalism.

  9. –the real Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

    wow i didn’t know he was such an anabashed capitalist…funny how the left often uses that very book to tie themselves to trees and handcuff themselves to fedral buildings.

  10. Lost in Translation,
    And wasn’t Adams’corporate experience with a government regulated utility?
    There’s a big difference in companies’ “personalities” and effectiveness.

    Whatever, what Adams said was rich!

  11. I’m not exactly sure that saying that the small percentage of people who own most of the world’s wealth are the ones with the most power really counts as a “conspiracy theory”.

  12. Oh yeah, and what’s with a libertarian-themed blog approvingly posting a quip from a well-known individual saying that he’d rather live in a fascist/oligarchic state than a true democracy?

  13. Secret conspiracy? Secret cabal? It can’t be that secret because they have a name… Goldman Sachs. And frankly, considering the mess with which they must deal, the global puppet masters at Goldman are doing a fabulous job.

  14. Dan T.,

    Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don’t you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?

    Wealth alone, even when coupled with power, doesn’t equate to control. I’ve seen the insides of the White House and of a very big corporation in my career, and I can assure you that no one really knows what they’re doing (as William Goldman said about Hollywood executives, “Nobody knows anything”). And the “power” groups that influence these institutions often are not the rich people. At the big bank I used to work for, I recall us cowering in terror at AARP and several rather small consumer advocacy groups. The world is simply too complex and humans too disorganized for a secret cabal to be effective.

    Besides, NOBODY can keep a secret, so any society of immortals who chop off each other’s heads couldn’t remain concealed for very long. Oops, did I type that? Better go sharpen my sword.

  15. I see this dopey compulsion to concoct elaborate conspiracy theories, in order to explain otherwise “incomprehensible” phenomena, as just another manifestation of the “God” gene.

    “This stuff can’t just ‘happen’ all by itself; someone or some thing, some mystical uber-intelligence, must be pulling the strings.”

  16. You don’t say!?

  17. “Conspiracy theory” has become a more or less meaningless label to apply towards any explanation of a situation that you don’t agree with.

  18. Even more comical than conspiracy theory is so-called conspiracy analysis. Conspiracy analysis consists of inflating any evidence that supports the conspiracy and ignoring or suppressing any evidence that doesn’t. This post,of course, is further evidence of the conspiracy.

  19. Lost in translation said, “I think Scott Adams respects people like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and other super capitalists. Its the middle management that exemplifies incompetency because of the levels of insualtion between their incompetence and CEO percieved company performance that drives him mad.”

    Perhaps, but there was a sequence of strips for a while a few months ago, which featured the CEO of Dilbert’s company. He not only came off as fairly clueless, but also not very admirable (though the Pointy-Haired Boss, as always, came off worse, by comparison). I’m still waiting to see any strips that deal with actual, entrepreneurial business people who aren’t trying to run some scam.

  20. I remember Adams once wrote on the topic of whether he was a libertarian or not due to several of his readers accusing him of having libertarian sympathies. What I got from the article was that he is definitely not a libertarian, but that he shares many of the same assumptions. They being that most people are driven by self-interest and the pursuit of pleasure and that not being necessarily bad. Also, that the phrase “We’re from the government and we are here to help you” should create a sense of dread, not relief, in those who hear it.

  21. It’s not paranoia if everyone is really out to get you, right?

    I have a friend living overseas who appears to be going off the deep end with these conspiracy theories. He’s waist deep in the America-rigged-9/11 nonsense. I tried to haul him back in, but he’s way gone already. I’m actually pretty worried about him–he’s always had a penchant for radical politics, but this sort of thing seems a little loony to me. Don’t get me wrong, I think the government is capable of nastiness, too, but I’m realistic about the threat. We went to the moon, too, dangit!

  22. Pro L, nice reference to my favorite Clint Eastwood movie.

  23. Karen,

    Oddball: We see our role as essentially defensive in nature. While our armies are advancing so fast and everyone’s knocking themselves out to be heroes, we are holding ourselves in reserve in case the Krauts mount a counteroffensive which threatens Paris. . .or maybe even New York. Then we can move in and stop them. But for 1.6 million dollars, we could become heroes for three days.

    I don’t know if it’s my favorite Eastwood movie–though it’s up there–but it is definitely my favorite Gavin McLeod movie 🙂

  24. Dick! Hey Dick! I’m running low on lemonade over here…

  25. A certain Chinese seller of wood products is starting to get seriously under my nails.

  26. That’s about as likely as a dog pissing the Mona Lisa into a snow bank.

    You know, if you had a million immortal dogs with a million immovable water bowls in front of them filled by a million of those 2-liter bottle filler-thingies, all next to a million snowbanks, that would eventually happen.

  27. So, Crimethink, you’re saying that the chances of “hordes of clueless goobers electing competent leaders” is about 1 in a million?

  28. I see that the subject of conspiracy theories has come up again. I thought that it was time that this matter was sorted out properly, and I have done so, by developing a Unified Conspiracy Theory.

    Of course you cannot have a conspiracy theory without Jews. Well, they appear twice in mine!

    The whole thing started when Satan sent aliens to our planet.

    The aliens have taken over International Jewry.

    International Jewry controls the remaining communists.

    The communists have infiltrated the United Nations.

    The United Nations now controls the American Government.

    The American Government uses the CIA to control Israel.

    The Jews based in Israel control the capitalists, who own the multi-national companies.

    The multi-nationals dominate the government of my country.

    My government has colluded with the companies that sell tinfoil, that is with Big Tinfoil. It has allowed Big Tinfoil to set extremely high prices for tinfoil hats, and the quality of these hats is so low that frequent replacement is necessary. If I am spending half my income on only one item of clothing, how am I supposed to afford the good things in life?

    Alan D

  29. think Scott Adams respects people like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and other super capitalists. Its the middle management that exemplifies incompetency because of the levels of insualtion between their incompetence and CEO percieved company performance that drives him mad.

    Yeah, no shit. Never ever confuse ‘capitalists’ with the dweeb running your company. The two are often miles apart. See: Cantwell, Maria

  30. Very clever, Alan D, but I’m not fooled. Your UCT is just a smokescreen for The Gnomes of Zurich.

    I still don’t know what they do with the underpants, though.

    Kevin

  31. I still don’t know what they do with the underpants, though.

    They steal underpants for profit. Duh.

  32. “A certain Chinese seller of wood products is starting to get seriously under my nails.”

    Stevo Darkly,
    Suppose “wood” is a code word for crisply-baked dough. And maybe somebody is, you know, being held prisoner in a fortune cookie factory?
    Yikes!

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