Tied to the mast
…but orange now and black

The unreason of rational overreach

Neat entry on the Plank comparing Romney and MacNamara. Sample:

As Nicholas Lemann once wrote in a New Yorker piece about the consulting business, the “metrics” and methods used by companies like Bain endow their employees with the sense that they can solve any problem, no matter how shallow their understanding of the industry they’re working in: “[This skill set] is more a simulacrum of intellectual mastery than intellectual mastery itself, but what’s more important is how it feels. It feels as if you’d been given a key that opens up everything.” That’s an almost perfect description of the process behind Romney’s foreign policy speech, in which he transmuted absolute gobbledygook about international politics into a set of rationalistic axioms.

The problem with this approach, of course, is that it undermines the most important rationale for Romney’s candidacy: the idea that he has a special capacity to assess America’s problems and develop reasonable solutions to them. If Romney is superficially competent, but unable to question the underlying premises of the position papers he receives from the Joint Chiefs, the Heritage Foundation, and his own advisers, then like McNamara he will end up applying his efficient mental machinery in the service of absurd, even disastrous assumptions. As one critic of McNamara’s put it, he’ll fall prey to “the most basic flaw of systems analysis: garbage in, garbage out.”

Via the Dish

I’m sorry. I don’t have time right now to tell you why I think this is cool.  Here’s Spock:


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