If you’re one of those smart asses out there thinking to yourself, “Hey, you just mentioned his name in the title,” don’t be so proud of yourself.
I broke my no carb resolution on January 2nd and I mentioned his name twice in the title.
If you read nothing else all year (including this piece), I recommend Donald Trunp’s Year of Living Dangerously, by Susan Glasser. It’s a cautious look into the rear view mirror.
The 1969 satire, The Peter Principle puts forth several “laws” of business hierarchies and interpersonal relationships.
One such principle is that if anything can go wrong, it will. I have chosen that one for my epitaph.
The main theme is that people tend to rise to their level of incompetency. That is, people in a business hierarchy keep getting promoted until they reach a point where they suck, at which level they remain until retirement.
A more serious study was released in 1999 by David Dunning and Justin Kruger entitled, “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments.”
The condition described by these two Cornell scholars has become known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect.
It gets a little wonky here, so hard core Trumpsters may want to disengage now. That probably goes for Mike Pence and the evangelists, as well.
We all know people who infuriate us because they think they know everything when in fact, they know very little. You can’t argue with them because they lack a basic understanding of the very subject in which they claim expertise.
Imagine someone who writes (or tweets) childishly and capitalizes words like “button” or “country” or uses exclamation points and question marks indiscriminately. Imagine someone like that thinking of themselves as a great writer.
The problem is that they don’t know enough about grammar or punctuation to recognize their own illiteracy.
This may bring to mind someone in your own life. If it brings to mind the leader of the free world who likes to brag about the size of his nuclear button, you should be concerned.
On a larger scale, the Dunning-Kruger Effect explains how people with limited knowledge can truly believe in their own, non-existent expertise.
Paradoxically, as people gain knowledge, their understanding of their deficiencies increase.
In a speech in Arizona leading up to the vote on the tax bill, Trump said, “I understand the tax laws better than almost anyone, which is why I’m the one who can truly fix them.”
I don’t know if anyone believes that claim, but they would do well to listen to what Jack Mitnick had to say about Trump’s tax chops.
Mitnick prepared Trump’s 1995 tax returns which allowed Trump to skate on 18 years of taxes. When asked what part Trump played in the preparations of that return, Mitnick replied, “None whatsoever.”
Mitnick went on to say that Trump had neither knowledge nor interest in anything having to do with income tax or income tax law.
In 2016 Dishonest Don said, “Nobody knows more about debt. I’m like the king. I love debt.”
It’s hard to argue with that. He definitely loves debt and we know that he wants to be king.
Trump has also claimed unique expertise on campaign contributions, Facebook, the U.S. government, Cory Booker, politicians, jobs, trade, the military, ISIS, the “horror of nuclear,” the visa system (not the credit cart) and so much more.
As with most of what he says, it is, in his own words, “fake news.”
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