Saturday, September 22, 2007

Would it be juvenile to make a joke about "Hoover" and "sucking" here?

The Hoover Institute at Stanford is giving Rumsfeld a job. Naturally this is pissing people off. For example, the BBC article mentions this petition is for people who think that Rumsfeld's appointment conflicts with Stanford's ethical standards.

Alas, I think that petition might be wrong-headed. The ethical appeal is too easy to brush off. But why not make the appeal on other grounds--say, prudential ones? Because while there might be arguments about whether or not Rumsfeld is unethical, it is pretty much unquestionable that he is really really dumb. And surely it is against institutional self-interest to hire someone who's such a demonstrated nincompoop, whose nincompoopery is a matter of high-profile public record. "The Hoover Institute?" people will say, their voices tinged with suspicion and dread. "Isn't that the place that hires people whose claims and predictions are pretty much always wrong, with tragic consequences for all concerned?"

The Institute director responds to critics:
"I appointed him because he has three decades of experience, of incredible public service, especially in recent years as it relates to this question of ideology and terror,"
But doesn't that just make it even worse? Rumsfeld spent three decades trying to figure out how the world works, and failed spectacularly. Three decades ought to be more than enough time to learn how not to be such an utter nincompoop, but it hasn't seemed to help him at all. All this means is that his nincompoopery is probably beyond repair. Now, a normal person, you could maybe hope to educate, apply some on-the-job training. But Rumsfeld? Who knows if there's any way of getting him to say a true thing!

1 comment:

Tucker said...

Is that the same institute that employs Dinesh D'Souza? I'd say that's an institute with proven fondness for nincompoops.