What has ended

What ended this week is the illusion that words can substitute for real work and real knowledge. This was the last, spectacular failure of the internet bubble, the final burnout of paper businesses that had no business and paper politicians who had no cause and paper experts whose expertise lay in their bogus credentials or in the wealth of their pals.

We’ll know the details in time. We’ll have years of investigations. We already know the answer. We filled key roles at the top with lawyers and promoters and press agents and cronies, and when we needed them to do their job, they held press conferences instead.

And we filled key roles on the line — police and fire and public safety — with too many people who weren’t up to the job, or whose leaders weren’t up to the job. Frightened by snipers and rumors, they sacrificed the lives of men and women and children in danger, lives entrusted to them, to save their own. They turned in their badges or grounded their choppers. Their duty was hard; they did not do it.

From Mark Bernstein.

In this vein I’d been contemplating a sort of Plato’s Republic post on a character who, having heard many reports about Homeland Security and the billions “supposedly” spent on prep, readiness, and planning for multiple kinds of catastrophe, leaves his house and finds that it was all just a media job, that such a place really didn’t exist beyond a name. He returns home and clicks to CNN to hear more about “reality.” It was supposed to be a joke.

More here at Scientific American on what was known. It’s not just this area, either. There’s plenty of work to be done.

This is not about being perfect or understanding Mr. Hobbes. It’s about competence and honesty.