Knowing not that they know not.

Knowing not that they know not.

Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 3/28/14


My great aunt was rather well known in Texas legal circles. She was the law librarian at SMU in Dallas from 1947 – when the law school established its own separate library – until the early 1970s after she completed the project that gave SMU its half-million plus volume Underwood Law Library.

She was one of the brightest people I have ever known. She held multiple degrees from some of the most prestigious institutions and she earned them during a time when there was more academic rigor and during a time when not so many women earned college degrees. She was literate in every good sense of that word.

But she spent her entire career in the cloistered world of academia. It was a running joke in a family that loved her dearly that outside those ivied walls, she didn’t know the first bloody thing about how anything worked.

Tell her that electricity comes from boiling huge quantities of water by burning coal and she’d be astounded. Explain to her that McDonald’s sells hamburgers more or less at cost in order to gain the chance to sell a Coke at 300 percent profit and she would marvel.

Her understanding of how business works, how fortunes are made and lost, how markets set prices, how capital is raised and from where – really anything not having to do with her narrow area of professional expertise – was next to zero.

But to my aunt’s credit, she knew that she didn’t know. The same cannot be said for the current set of faculty lounge expatriates now running the country.

From the president on down, next to nobody in the executive branch of government has any executive experience. They know not. Yet they know not that they know not.

None has ever signed the front of a business check. None has ever so much as been a department head in a for-profit business. Most have never worked for a for-profit business. None has ever risked their own capital in a business venture or sweated a payroll or signed a personal guarantee on a business loan.

This crop of academics doesn’t know anything about how anything works yet they believe that they are especially suited to manage every aspect of the largest, most intricate and most diverse economy on Earth.

But they can’t because no one can. The U.S. economy draws its strength not from the top down but the bottom up.

Obamacare alone has done more to discredit big, activist government run by a small corps of hyper-educated elites than a thousand of the best speeches that any conservative could ever give.

None of the lofty expectations of an Obama presidency has come to pass. Not one. Government is more divided and gridlocked than ever before. Racial animus is on the rise. The country’s financial condition has deteriorated alarmingly. Fewer people are working and the ones who are have less money in their pockets to show for it.

The world isn’t a faculty lounge. It’s a complicated, dynamic place that tends to smack down idealistic theory.

Men and women who have actually run things understand this. They tend to know that they don’t know and to be especially suspicious of the things they know for certain.

Such humility – born of experience – would have served this administration well.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. Linda E. Montrose says:

    This is not anything new. There is a tv show that shows this exceptionaly well called Undercover Boss. The owner or ceo of a business goes undercover to see just how the company runs and how to make things better. In the shows I have seen of this, the boss knew next to nothing of how the day to day operations work or what it takes to get the product out to the consumer. Things are not like they are on paper where most of the policies are made on how things should run. The paper way and the physical way are often not anywhere near in sync. It takes people at the ground level to make things run smoothly, the ones with the actual hands on are the ones who know what works and what doesn’t. Not the ones who run things from an office somewhere who knows nothing about what physical labor is involved or time involved in getting their products out to market. It doesn’t matter what business it is, the mechanics of it is the same and no one who runs things from a desk is going to actually know this unless they have done it themselves. Government is no different. People who SHOULD be in office are the ones with hands on experience who knows the mechanics of how things are done on a practical basis. These utopian ideals have never worked no matter how many times they have been tried, but the liberals keep beating a dead horse on this issue. It has only lead to the mess we are in now. A community instigator knows nothing about business, nor does anyone who has spent their lives with their noses in books with no experience in the real world. The thing about it is convincing the public to not vote in people who know absolutly nothing about what it takes to run a business. And if you honestly think about it, the government is nothing more than a business and needs to be run like one!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *