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January 20, 2022

Incompetence, the sister of corruption

USR House lawmaker Claudiu Nasui (photo) has published on Facebook some data on the National Agency for Equality of Chances between Women and Men.

A government body that is only several years old, the fruit of the European current of correcting the gender gap. But while the principled intentions are praiseworthy, concretely the said agency seems to be more of a comfortable sinecure, like so many others. Almost ¾ of its budget covers only expenditures on personnel. Personnel which also absorbs, in the form of goods and services, most of the remaining sums.

Has something changed in Romanian society in the sense of a more real equality of chances? The fact that we have the first female Head of Government in national history says nothing but that the promotion of a woman often depends on an interested man – in this case, Liviu Dragnea, who also appointed a woman – who is close to him and owes him everything – at the helm of a traditionally masculine ministry: the Interior Ministry. “Forms without substance,” as Titu Maiorescu once said about a specific national ailment, this is also what the said agency seems to be. Especially since at its helm, with a salary to match, is another person with significant shortcomings in terms of intellectual training.

The new Education Minister is not the only one who makes embarrassing grammatical mistakes, but the lady concerned nonchalantly mixes up a trade with a machine. It is hard to understand how their social and professional rise occurred with such voids in general knowledge. To be efficient, the current democracy relies on meritocracy. In other words, it encourages placing the right person at the right place.

Our political class, in the wide meaning of the term, is very poorly prepared. Before being corrupt, it is less than mediocre. How could you have moral principles to fight for when you are, at leas in a certain sense, an imposter? It is not by chance that the business of plagiarised doctoral theses has grown in recent years. It was an attempt to conquer honourability without merit, giving the impression that you belong to the elite.

People appointed in offices far more important than the one held by the lady with the ‘fork lift,’ deprived of basic knowledge in the fields they will coordinate, can only generate chaos and blockages that affect many others. Incompetence is a disease just as severe as corruption. The technocrats were sworn at to make room for the incompetents – there’s an involution that costs us.

Moreover, corruption and incompetence go hand in hand very well, because one depends on the other. The solution is not to appoint professionals from who knows what fields in offices endowed with political responsibility, but to depoliticize society as much as possible and to cultivate criteria of political professionalism for the ruling elites. In other words, political efficiency criteria should be more precisely quantified. So that we could more clearly answer questions regarding the political actions of some politician. What did Emil Boc leave behind? What about Dacian Ciolos? What about Liviu Dragnea? Otherwise we reach the next elections without knowing why it is or it is not worth voting for a leader who spent a few years in power.

Moreover, an average baggage of general knowledge should be an eliminatory criterion for politicians. In this sense, the French model would suit us better than the American one. It is embarrassing to boast we too have a few Trumps, who commit blunder after blunder, instead of decrying the fact that we do not have intellectuals like Emmanuel Macron at the helm. One of the serious PR blows that former French President Hollande suffered was one of his friends mentioning the small number of books Holland had at home, proof of deficient intellectual vivacity.

In our country nobody thinks asking Mrs Dancila what she reads in her spare time. It would probably be considered a discriminatory question. Only the communists, hypocrites, were pushing female janitors at the forefront to humiliate intellectuals. It was only cheap propaganda to hide the nomenclature’s huge advantages.

Democratic meritocracy entails that the well-paid should offer professional performances of a higher social value. We should enjoy the products and services of professionals if not out of philanthropy then at least out of the ego of a job well done.

Otherwise, the corrupt will steal our income and the incompetent will deprive us of quality of life.

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