... or the “ Fred the Shred ” Syndrome
I have just come across an article I had written some time ago and which someone posted online with rather complimentary comments. It is more of a rant than an article and it is rather long, so I do not really expect anyone to read it, but this is a good place to park it for posterity.
I say to the many sweet, kind and generous friends I have made here that they do not have to feel obliged to read it. ;-)
And I also say to them that as soon as I complete the book I am currently writing, I shall return to hound them as before. ;-)
Many years ago I was on the Board of Directors of a small oil refinery, whose management brought a proposal to the Board for a new investment of thirty million pounds for the purpose of upgrading the plant to produce unleaded fuel. Unfortunately for the management, I had accidentally found out that one of the refinery’s chemists had developed a method of producing unleaded fuel without the use of new equipment, in quantities sufficient for our market-share at the time. Naturally I also thought that such an innovation might also prove to be quite beneficial for the refinery in other ways, if patented.
The General Manager and the Chief Chemist were present at the Board meeting and I asked them to explain why they needed the £30.000.000 when they had what appeared to be a genius on the refinery’s payroll, who could produce unleaded fuel for no additional investment. Their reaction was a joy to behold. They both fidgeted and looked everywhere but at me and eventually the Chief Chemist said that this specific method was not new, was well known to everyone in the industry and that our chemist was not a genius.
So, I asked, if the method is so well known, why were they asking us for an additional investment of £30.000.000 instead of using this method which, according to themselves, was so well known to them? It was not very efficient, I was told. Yes, but was it capable of producing enough unleaded fuel for our needs over the next five years? And if so, do they realise that the value of the interest of the required investment alone would more than make up for any inconvenience they might face in producing unleaded fuel without such a large investment? “Yes, but…. “
Both the General Manager and the Chief Chemist spend the rest of the meeting trying to destroy the reputation of the chemist who had proposed the innovative method of saving us thirty million pounds….
For your own sanity’s sake, for your dignity and for your financial benefit, remember this piece of wisdom from an unknown philosopher: “An ignorant fool can be a useful fool. He can wash floors. But a fool with a PhD can be lethal”. Think, for example, who might be the world’s worst banker and you will get my drift.
There is a breed of men and women who manage to hide their mediocrity through energetic activity and extensive thievery of other peoples’ ideas and efforts. I call such people Dynamic Mediocrities…
They usually manage to parrot their way through exams and end up with university degrees, which at times can be quite impressive, giving them the opportunity to apply for positions of authority. When they apply for a position, they usually make sure that a well connected friend makes a few important telephone calls prior to the interview and they somehow manage to slither their way into important organisations.
It is well documented that when a well known UK politician went for a job interview after university (let's call him David Cameron, at random), someone telephoned from the palace, no less, to suggest to the interviewers that it would be a good idea to employ this specific applicant. Not that I am suggesting that the specific person is a member of the Dynamic Mediocrities club, but I am anxiously awaiting the results of the next general election. In truth, he could hardly be worse than the current lot.
You will always find Dynamic Mediocrities at the forefront of any activity initiated by others who actually have the innovative ideas, always ready to lay paternity claims to those ideas if they are successful, but always ready to distance themselves from them should they not reach expectations. If the ideas do not turn out to be a success, then they will be the ones pretending to have been looking elsewhere, whistling indifferently and ready to attack the innovator with accusations of irresponsibility. Since they are themselves such mediocrities, everyone else is naturally better than they in ability and innovation, and so in order to survive, they develop an uncanny ability to backstab everyone else around them, since everyone else is a threat.
Think of Prime Minister Brown and how he always infers that any successes are his own and how his relationship with Blair developed.
It is, unfortunately, a sad fact of life that large organisations are often run by small people, with even smaller underlings whose main aim in life is to demonstrate to their bosses how deserving of a promotion they are, through the shameless manipulation of the organisation’s clientele, associates and partners. This naturally also, nay, ESPECIALLY so, applies to governments, the opposition and their associated organisations.
The extent to which such Dynamic Mediocrities have infiltrated the highest echelons of business and government might be illustrated by recent statements from the US military command. America's deputy chief of military intelligence in Afghanistan Major General Michael Flynn described US spies as “clueless”. That is the CIA the man is talking about. The heavily financed, first shield of innocent American civilians, an organization manned through recruitment from the top universities of the land! So why are they so “clueless”? The probability is that the top echelons are now manned by the Dynamic Mediocrities faction.
Though it is possible that in the UK military a similar situation may exist in the top echelons, thankfully there is a distinct difference and that is that the UK has the best army in the world, bar none. The US army could seriously benefit by taking its correspondence course. However, the reason for the high quality lies exclusively with its enlisted men. Britannia once ruled the waves and a large chunk of world real estate because its working class enlisted men were willing to bravely die for the interest of a ruling class which despised them. In other words, the British working man always manages to save the day for the Dynamic Mediocrities which rules the military and the security services, by sacrificing his life for them, without ever receiving recognition or expecting to be thanked. God bless the British blue collar worker. If there was any justice, the British tomb of the Unknown Soldier would show a man in blue working overalls or in dirty miner’s clothes.
For centuries the British soldier has been asked to die for supposedly patriotic reasons when in fact it was all simply for the financial gain of the few well connected. Far fetched you think? Then I refer you to the Chilcot inquiry of January 5th 2010, where Gordon Brown’s chief foreign policy adviser Simon McDonald said that British companies had “done pretty well” in a recent auction of oil rights and that Britain had “privileged access” to the Government of Nouri al-Maliki, the Prime Minister. He also told those present that “British companies have benefited from the award of oil contracts in Iraq because of the decision to help to overthrow Saddam Hussein.”
And the poor brain washed masses still believe that their children are dying to protect the homeland.
In the private sector the situation is completely out of control. Huge conglomerates deliberately and systematically overcharge their clients, in the hope that their clients will be unable to decipher their invoices. “Which” magazine has found that certain utility companies systematically use the winter season meter readings, when consumption is highest, to determine the monthly payments of clients over a twelve month period, in order to end up with a surplus to be refunded back to the clients at a future date, by which time the conglomerate would have made use of its client’s collective overcharge as an interest free loan. How is this possible? Is there no honour, no shame no sense of fair play? The answer is a simple no.
We have been brain washed into believing that our word should be our bond and that it is dishonourable not to play fairly. And so it is. But these principles were created and enforced by rulers such as William the Conqueror, who had no intention of keeping to such principles themselves. For example, England was divided amongst William’s barons, but how does the king ensure that he has control of those barons? He creates the principles of honour and fair play to such an advanced extent that they become a religion, with horrible and shameful repercussions in case of default. This way, the baron responsible for York, for example, may be far from London, but should he fail to pay his taxes to the King, or fail to provide men in case of war, this religiously empowers the king to move against him with an army which believes that it is acting in a just cause, provided by other barons who will share in the spoils from the York campaign.
In the same way we have been trained to believe that the large conglomerates that rule our lives are honourable and that they play fairly. Yet by and large they are run by the Dynamic Mediocrities who cannot possibly survive fairly in a competitive world but instead can only survive and progress by cheating and backstabbing. So they infuse their mentality into the business of their employer and their employer becomes ensnared in their dishonourable tactics.
Shame on them and shame on us for allowing this to continue.
- De Greek