On Brothers and Bums
Update: Kent’s Imperative gets deeper into some of the issues mentioned below.
A number of visitors write and ask me why I have it out for my old profession/employers/cohorts. Clearly I am disgruntled and left under a cloud.
The fact of the matter is that I’m not and I did not. I rose faster and higher than most do. I worked on some neat things, I made some good friends, I traveled, and I took a few trips around the proverbial block. I wouldn’t change much if I had a chance to do it over again, and getting back into the mix is still an option if I feel like speeding the ruin of my health.
Most of the people I worked with and for were great, but many were not. Many were bums, or worse. A funny thing happens on the way to protecting the nation: you begin to think your s*** doesn’t stink. Some people carry this too far and think they can get away with all sorts of mischief. Some get it in their heads that they are not working on a mission, that they ARE the mission.
The results are predictable. Failures – when they’re even viewed as such – can be explained away via any number of logical fallacies. In fact, true masters of post hoc ergo propter hoc can turn a failing effort into an even larger doomed enterprise by pointing out that if they only had more money and more people . . .
The flaws that plague any bureaucracy are also present in the IC, though I doubt Dr. Peter ever envisioned that his theories could be taken to such extremes. The fact that both Peter and Parkinson are alive and well in private bureaucracies is merely a detriment to greater profits; that they are so prevalent in the IC is a detriment to our security.
There are any number of books that will point this out, though this piece of commentary serves as a nice primer (found while cleaning up the ol’ hard drive).
I love my old profession and I love my old colleagues (not in a Brokeback Mountain sort of way). It is not a perfect business, but there are plenty who try to make it so. Change doesn’t come easy and it rarely comes from the inside, hence my poking and proding. They know I occasionally kid because I love, and that my critiques are reserved for those who deserve them.