Saturday, December 18

On Rumsfeld and Socrates

People have been calling for Mr Rumsfeld's head. This list of things which he is accused of screwing up is staggering. I have not (and will not) join them for the following reason. I think that most of those who have called for his head, are either ignorant of the reason I posit, or have a partisan axe to grind.

Socrates was told by the Delphic oracle that he was the wisest man in Athens. He thought this odd, because in his own personal estimation he felt himself to be quite unwise on most matters. So he quested out, and bugged and harassed his neighbors seeking their wisdom. And lo, he found that people, while wise in matters relating to their specialty, had no special wisdom outside their sphere of expertise. In fact he found quite the reverse, they felt their expertise granted them wisdom outside their field, but in fact this confidence was an error in judgment on their part.

What does this have to do with Mr Rumsfeld. Well, none of his detractors I hold have any sort of expertise in the job Mr Rumsfeld is performing. But this does not give them any pause in putting their opinions in print, on the air, and out into the blogosphere. They claim that by merely judging his results they can decide if he was qualified.

People complain about the appropriations and supplies our soldiers in Iraq receive. Well, I can give you a ball of twine, some gum, paper, and a few sticks and direct you to build a spaceship. But I might be out of line, if I complain that you fail. Congress sets appropriations, not Mr Rumsfeld.

So to those complainers, I would ask, what are your qualifications for putting your complaints forward? Are you qualified and knowledgeable enough about Mr Rumsfeld's day to day work and decisions to make a decision? To these questions, I would submit that the answer virtually all of the cases is that the persons complaining are not qualified and not knowledgeable.