Our young workforce is evaporating. As a result, employers struggle to find workers. We have no one to blame but our new virtuous and smarter-than-thou cancel culture of hate.
As a person who has executed a significant amount of corporate strategy, and has had to deal with some of these related issues in conducting staffing planning for my clients – I hope at least, that I bear a clean and direct grasp of how the employment market is affected by certain factors. This may not be popular, and my intention is not to excuse-make for this generation – nonetheless it is the truth.
These conditions did not exist 15 years ago and earlier – so be careful about quick comparisons to one’s ‘bootstrapping’ past. As a 24 year old in the United States of America (this is not me, this is a collection summarizing what I have heard or observed from this generation)1
I don’t need a car, as I can Uber or Lyft.
Nor especially do I desire to have car insurance, which both penalizes me for being 24 and rises 12% a year. They use all that obscene profit to compete for the most clever and worn-out ad campaign. Hey ‘Flo’, how ’bout you bundle this. Fuck that lizard and oversized turkey.
My parents’ house has appreciated 150% since I was in high school and offers ample room for a home improvement loan since they have been paying their mortgage for 28 years now.
My brother is disabled with autism spectrum disorder. This crushed my mom. She needs me, and sometimes it is like I am her only friend. Between them both working to make ends meet, I cannot leave them without help.
My parents are both ill/addicted, and hide this from their friends and employers. I am there to help out so things don’t unravel.
Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance goes up by 14% a year for absolutely no reason. We’ve never had a claim be accepted in 28 years, yet it is ‘mandatory’ – I get the game.
The coffee I make for myself and my parents is better and less costly than you can get at an office or Starbucks by far.
Taxes skyrocket between 40 K and 80K in income… the extra insane level of effort is not worth it at all. I pay very little to no tax now.
If I make $40,000 in income or less, I get free healthcare now. If I make $80,000 I have to pay hundreds of dollars a month for it. Fuck that… The doctor does not listen to, nor help me, anyway. Why should I then also pay for that?
President Barack Obama in a June 3, 2020 ‘Town Hall’ meeting, placed a Mark of Cain upon my race, deeming it a ‘plague of our society’ and declared that I bore an ‘original sin’, one which I carry because of my skin color and/or gender. There are no measurable objectives of success in this, so it will never end – I am forbidden to speak my view or exist as a full rights-bearing citizen in the meantime. I am not the horrible monster these people have crafted as the focus of their hate.
Rent is just a useless and overpriced expense, it builds nothing for the future. Plus I have to have a ‘roommate’ in order to afford it now.
Renting forces me to live in dangerous places where crime is skyrocketing and I might be a target because of my gender. Rent forces me to earn more (diluted enormously by taxes and healthcare premiums) as well.
I survive on 1 meal a day because my endocrine/microbiome system is so damaged that if I do not fast most of the day, I gain weight like crazy. This also keeps food costs low.
I feel like crap most of the time. My asthma, allergies, and food sensitivities are insane. I am gluten intolerant and it is almost impossible to avoid that shit. I have to avoid so many foods now that eating out is a disaster to my body.
If I am to work, I have to shave and shower every day, and workout for an hour each day in order to be at my optimal appearance. I can do that, but what a pain in the ass, just to pay bigger tax, gas, auto insurance, and medical insurance bills.
I can work from home in my lower income part time endeavor. I can work my own hours.
No traffic. What idiot thinks I am going to sit in a car for them, for 2 hours a day any more? Not someone I trust.
Employers want me to get three or four shots, and accept a subscription to more shots, just for the ‘privilege’ of working under some Boomer-fanatic overseer who wants 10+ hours per day out of me to show my ‘commitment’ and that I have a ‘work ethic’. I am willing to work very hard, but I am not an idiot.
My gender and/or skin color is very unpopular now – I am already a minority in colleges, and yet I still cannot attend the college of my first choosing, and I won’t get promoted, so it is better to be in business for myself where I will not face discrimination.
Being intelligent does not get one into university, rather you can be dumb as a door-post as long as you have straight A’s. It is just not worth the effort of kissing teacher asses, who are politically biased against you by their Union in the first place, in order to convert a couple B’s into A’s.
My boss will be frightened, nepotistic, and chosen for their correctness, not competence. I am not willing to cast my pearls before swine.
Knowing a trade is much more valuable than having a degree now. Work for yourself, part time is the way to go. If you can fix a pipe, circuit board, or electric motor, you are far more valuable than a college educated cubicle-dweller managing the overdue payment notification team.
I refuse to be put on a unit-rate based ‘performance enhancement system’ which only offers me a livable wage if I work at an unsustainable pace – leaving me little work/personal life energy balance.
Video games are incredibly real and immersive now, and highly addictive, on large 4K screens with fantastic sound. There is a new one each week. The social network around them is incredible, a lot of people just like me.
My chances of catching Covid are higher the more I go out and huddle with people in small, poorly ventilated work spaces or restrooms. I cannot afford to give Covid to my parents. What would I do if one of them dies?
I am constantly instructed as to how incorrect and unacceptable I am, in the workplace. It is justice and virtue to have fewer of me around, thus they will get their wish.
I’ve seen what the industrial workplace did to crush/steal from my once vibrant and loving parents and disrupt my home, and I will never let that happen in my life. I’m not funding the next oligarch war or Greek island yacht from my hard efforts. If I work hard, it is going to be for me.
Online porn is far less trouble than a real live friend of the opposite sex. Having one of those is like owning a monkey, with a chance of accidental pregnancy. Plus, after all, I live in my parents’ basement…
Cancel culture has made existence in public a miserable chore. Some people literally believe they hold a righteous license to truth and regard me as a ‘Nazi’ the moment they get the notion that I might not agree with their Narrative 100%. Go scream at someone else.
I can get my food and booze delivered to me at my doorstep.
Living in a micro environment so as not to place undue burden on my parents, is actually kinda’ cool. Plenty of savvy devices to make life workable. YouTube shows how it is both do-able and fun.
I enjoy three-day excursion outdoor activities. It is a very rewarding and refreshing break from the same-same. I cannot do that with a ‘job’.
I can’t take the risk of arrest, drug test detection by an employer, or accidental overdose by having to find a new supplier for the drug of ‘my choice’.
I don’t want the burden of children. I probably should not be a parent either – how the hell am I going to inspire them? I don’t want to subject anyone to this life, especially an innocent person and against their own choice.
I don’t want to introduce children who look like me, into a world which will vilify, hate, and disadvantage them by their appearance. So there is no reason to get married.
My eyes have been opened to the fact that there is more going on around us than is acknowledged. I don’t know exactly what it is, but enough evidence is there to conclude that we have been lied to significantly. I do not possess an aversion to a new paradigm or ontology – instead, I despise being lied to, and being led by persons who think they bear the right to lie or conceal.
All my old friends are local, in the same boat as me, we share the same interests, and we hang out and talk about this predicament. Who needs new friends?
We don’t go to restaurants or bars to hang out, as that costs too much and is not near as much fun.
I am not working, just because I should work… You need to inspire me with a mission where I can contribute value. Amazon and TwitGoogFace dominating the world is not a suitable ‘mission’.
I do not trust our national leadership, nor do I feel I can change what is occurring, nor would they let me. If life does not take me seriously, then I’m not going to take it seriously, in return. It’s just simple action-reaction.
They would gleefully sacrifice my life in a military conflict, but won’t even bother to count me as an unemployment statistic – preferring instead to replace me with imported voters. I am willing to lay down my life for my fellow citizens, but not for an encroaching third-world culture which is teaching hate, demeaning and replacing me – and from whom I get the stark impression that they would never fight alongside me in return.
There is a name for this process. It has been done before. Our Constitution was written so as to preclude it ever happening again. Unfortunately we were way too smart to have a Constitution any longer – thanks in part to our fake skeptics, ‘doubting’ everything except what was important to doubt.
Yeah yeah… We know, you are a skeptic. Yawn. But what else have you done, aside from foist your name inside a list of dead scientists, among whom you would otherwise never merit inclusion? Is your ego that fragile and desperate? A sweep through some analytics regarding social skeptics reveals some startling, yet not totally unexpected results. Psychologists who have inchoate activated the fragile and angry – a thunder chamber of sycophants dictating to everyone else what we all should think.
Remember the old game show called Hollywood Squares? The tic-tac-toe styled game set after which the show was themed, was staffed by a rotating/regular cast of celebrities who would answer questions on behalf of the game show participants. These celebrities were people who were supposedly famous, but for the life of us, no one back then who watched the show could recall why they were famous. These celebrities were famous simply for being famous. I always suspected that some of the ‘celebrity’ participants were in fact no-name citizens who had been inserted into the group of actually famous people, and were presumed to be themselves famous from then on.
Well that model bears curious utility inside the skeptic movement. Skeptics today stand upon a perch of celebrity that is derived simply from pretending to be skeptics in the first place – and a habit of promoting themselves opportunistically inside rosters of names which include personages of true brilliance, accomplishment and renown. However unlike Hollywood Squares, many of those personages are now deceased, fully unable to object over such abuse of their legacies.
Wikipedia maintains a suitably comprehensive listing of America’s most noteworthy (notorious) social skeptics (Wikipedia: List of scientific skeptics).1 Given the reality that Wikipedia allows social skeptics to run amok inside the bowels of its editing and practices of dissenting editor abuse, I feel fairly confident that all the acceptable Who’s-Who of social skepticism are therefore listed therein. Skeptics who are not listed in this tally have committed a misstep in some regard, as viewed by the Cabal – violated the Ministry of Truth’s policy on compliance in some way which has prompted their exclusion from the club. They have failed in their mandatory Schapiro Utterances. With the exception of those who earned their notoriety by actually accomplishing something of merit in their careers, something besides just declaring themselves to be a skeptic, I think we have the right listing inside the Wikipedia lineup (see footnote 1 above).
/philosophy : sophistry : agency/ : a false appeal to an authority who is simply ‘famous for being famous,’ or who is simply enjoying their 15 minutes of fame in the club, and do not stand as a credible authority independent of this pseudo-status. This includes personages who are simply famous for being a famous skeptic.
Were I a prominent physicist or mathematician, I would not want to be included within this group.
This is a cache of persons so desperate to get their names inscribed into a science hall of fame, alongside the likes of Brian Cox, Stephen Jay Gould, and Richard Feynman, that they would literally do and say anything, attack anyone, and push any form of half baked science – sell their very integrity – in order to be counted among such company. I never really completely grasped what was occurring in the minds of these poseurs, until this last decade of philosophical study. After decades of watching social skeptics and how they behave, I have come to the conclusion: It is all about the celebrity. Not one issue of advocacy entails an actual improvement in the lot of mankind. Feckless meaningless targets foisted to provide a theater stage, upon which they can show their wares – that seething miasma of the wont to be the smartest person in the room. They bear such a need to be right – that they must be identified with science, even if it costs every friend or ounce of self-respect they can bear forfeit.
No. It’s not by arguing with “kindness & care” that you break academic mafias, criminal organizations, impostors (psychologists) & lobbying groups. It is by exposing them, making their lives miserable & targeting their audience. ~Nassim Taleb
So I thought I would take a quick walk through some of the statistics with regard to the profiles these pretenders have published on Wikipedia, just to see if some of my experience-based, yet nonetheless preconceived notions about the makeup of American skeptics, panned out. I was not disappointed. It was actually worse than I had thought.
Light Representation of Relevant Degrees or Fields of Study
I am not sure whether to laugh or cry when I examine this first listing. Of the 81 celebrity wannabe and deceased skeptics inside the Wikipedia lineup, the largest contingent by far is represented by those who possess no degree, and have never served in any actual function which involves science, in their entire lives. The second largest, and first real professional group comprises psychologists, behavioral scientists and psychiatrists. This is followed by (refreshingly) physicists, philosophers and medical skeptics, tailed finally by a scant smattering of other science discipline representations.
That is a rather precipitous drop-off after ‘psychology’ and ‘none’. Should not this familiar Pareto bias concern those in the Cabal, at least a little?
Not simply over the matter of lack of qualification, but moreover concerning the propensity for establishing conclusion through the ease of ad hoc and pseudo-theory claims based upon the notion, ‘your mind created this’. A non-testable conclusion which explains everything, anything and nothing, all at the same time. A cadre of psychologists and magicians do not make for good investigators – as they both are experts in abductive inference – which is weak in its bootstrap, methodical and probative strengths.2
What one should note with grave concern, is that those professional groups in red, those who conduct real Karl Popper science based upon authentic disciplines of deduction, probative study and hypothesis, these compose a mere 15 individuals among the 81 skeptics listed. Of even more importance, half (7) of those individuals are also dead! A single engineer and a single mathematician? – yet 35 people who have not set foot in a university or a lab? C’mon guys, you have to do better than this. Does the idea even ever cross your mind to apply skepticism to yourselves?
Notoriety Attained through Invalid Thunder Chamber Promotion
Exhibit 1 to the right, demonstrates the breakout of the celebrity wannabe skeptic lineup in terms of how they attained their current notoriety. 11% of the listed members were inserted into the tally because they actually did something with their lives, of noteworthy accomplishment besides being a skeptic. Only 11%. Let that sink in, and you begin to understand inside this first graph that this is a peer pressure club. A club which foisted its approved names upon an important Wikipedia page, and then inserted the likes of Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov, without their permission, in order to assuage their enormous egos. Of this thin margin 11% however, many of the accomplished scientists who employed skepticism as a part of science (how it is supposed to be employed), are now deceased – no longer able to stand up and say ‘No, this is not what I meant by being a skeptic. We were not trying to establish another religion, nor another persecutor of science.’
The notoriety of the skeptics who have inserted themselves into this charade in reality stems merely from active promotion by their club. This club of pretenders composes 86% of the entire listing. The lineup actually includes 70 out of 81 persons who belong to science enthusiast activist congregations like The Skeptics Society, Center for Inquiry or Skeptics in the Pub. An abysmal set of surreptitious contrivances – the epitome of not simply echo chamber, rather of appeal to authority thunder chamber.
Thunder Chamber – an appeal to authority version of echo chamber, much more imperious in its insistence and intimidating in its effect. A club of science communicators – catalyseurs seeking conflict between laypersons and scientists, to enable furtherment of their power as a furtive liaison therein.
This is how they obtained the visibility implied by the Wikipedia lineup – through club authority and intimidation. It is transparently unethical.
Little Relevant Qualification or History of Professional Accountability
Exhibit 2 outlines the portion of the members listed in the tally, who actually attained a degree or have done work inside a discipline which might even be considered as science. A mere 57% of this group of skeptics maintain a career or background which would allow them to be trained in skepticism or the scientific method in the first place.
43% of this group bears no scientific qualification other than ‘self-identified skeptic’. If you remove the deceased scientists from the qualified group, this number of non-science trained ‘scientific skeptics’ jumps to 49% of the living total roster of ‘science skeptics’. Half of those determining the scientific skeptic worldview, the most vocal half – bear no scientific credential whatsoever.
A full 35 members or 43% of the list (both living and deceased), as you can see in the ‘Relevant Field or Degree’ graphic above right, possess no degree, background nor experience in any professional or social task which would serve to hold them accountable as to their ability to apply skepticism or science. This ‘being held accountable’ in a professional context is a critical qualification when one is evaluating their candidate celebrity skeptic. People who have performed in a career wherein they are regularly held to accountability (skin in the game), tend to act in completely different fashion from people who began their career as performers or celebrities, or have rarely ever had to produce anything other than ‘critiques’ of others. In a social context, one can get away with pretty much anything; much like in high school. Perhaps then it is no coincidence that high school style bullying often becomes a praxis, best method and club milieu of science skeptics.
Hold no Peer Accountability and Tend to Think Like a Stage Performer
Eighteen members of the Exhibit 3 group, or 22% of the entire tally, were stage or even professional magicians or illusionists. Another 21 were podcast hosts or convention organizers. People who get a charge out of manipulative influence tend to nurture a deception game running as a background theme – as this is their life blood. Even if their primary act is to put on a display of magic – under the context of ‘this is an illusion’; make no mistake, a magician craves the heady rush of a deception – and this foible does not end at the stage exit. The more deep and pervasive the fake, the more satisfying the ploy. I am a fan of the ‘It takes one to know one’ method of expertise validation; however all such deliberations are executed inside the context of complete transparency/accountability. In skeptic clubs, and in situations where only unaccountable critique is exercised, these individuals can claim no such congruence with an ‘it takes one to know one’ ethic. Yes, ‘It Takes a Thief’ – but we do not then appoint that thief, chief of police nor head of the FBI. Heck, even those roles stand under accountability as to their performance. Skeptics are never held to account.
An epistemic commitment to exposing fraud, when executed under the desire to profit, ridicule and sway public opinion by means of publicity stunts, comes commensurate with a bias for self-aggrandizement and hyperbole. Attracting attention to self is not the same thing as marketing, and plays a key role in all such pathologizing of the supposed credulous and woo believer.
It is not a coincidence that nearly half of the celebrity wannabe skeptics in the analysis turned out also to be stage magicians and podcast hosts. This summation did not include those who merely attended or presented at skeptic media events. Take this as a curious warning. The ability to unaccountably control what large numbers of people perceive and believe, is an intoxicating and addictive opiate indeed. If your primary goal is to derive money/attention from such activity, you may make no claim to scientific or skeptical elevation over those you mock or deride.
Are Getting Old as a Group: Either Deceased or Average of 61 Years Age
21% of our tally of famous and wannabe famous skeptics are already dead – as is shown by Exhibit 4 to the right. The rest of the group of 64 are inching closer to their own Kuhn-Planck Paradigm shift event each year. Tick-tock, tick-tock. There are very few individuals in the tally, four to be exact, who are below the age of 35. Of those who are young in the tally few are individuals whom, without enormous social backing, would be desirous to carry forward the torch of the 1972 Skeptic’s Handbook. There are no new Michael Shermer’s and Carl Sagan’s budding within this group of attention-seekers. Most skeptics in the younger group tend to be angry, punk and Goth accentuated podcast hosts – devoid of any qualification; being more concerned about who it is they hate than any particular cause of suffering and enlightenment on the part of mankind. In my best estimate, zero of these four people will continue inside the formal skeptical movement after the current Cabal dies off.
This does not bode well for social skepticism. Sixteen years left, for your critical thinking fantasy to play out. Each year you can feel your Cabal’s control on the mind of the American public slipping away from your pretend science, corporate apologizing and ignorance cultivating hands.
Few Have Been Involved in Any Actual Science
81% of the list is composed of poseurs who are called in ethical skepticism, Jamais l’a Fait. They have never done science- never been held to account regarding their dispensation of poorly crafted skepticism. This was supposed to be a ‘list of scientific skeptics’ – yet the vast majority of those in the list are not professionally skilled in such a task at all.
Jamais l’a Fait – Never been there. Never done that. Someone pretending to the role of designer, manager or policy maker – when in fact they have never actually done the thing they are pretending to legislate, decide upon or design.. A skeptic who teaches skepticism, but has never made a scientific discovery, nor produced an original thought for them self. Interest rate policy bureaucrats who have never themselves borrowed money to start a business nor been involved in anything but banks and policymaking. User manuals done by third parties, tax laws crafted by people who disfavor people unlike themselves more heavily, hotel rooms designed by people who do not travel much, cars designed by people who have never used bluetooth or a mobile device, etc.
Exhibit 5 shows this most distressing statistic in the entire analytical results set. Inside social skepticism, few of the living members have actually done any real science.
Too Heavily Represented by Psychology and Soft Sciences
Finally, Exhibit 6 shows that the majority (67%) of those in the more valid professional subset of the Wikipedia skeptic lineup, work inside the softer sciences of psychology, medicine and philosophy. If however, you add to this soft science group, those 35 individuals who bear absolutely no science experience whatsoever, you end up with 82% of the entire tally representing persons lacking in deductive and objective scientific experience.
Psychologists who have inchoate activated angry promotion-minded sycophants – bent on telling everyone what to think, under the guise of ‘critical thinking’.
Psychology functions off of inductive and subjective inference and evidence sets. It is not that these disciplines are unimportant or inappropriate, rather simply that – if a group is going to foist a claim to scientific and technological prowess – especially claims of absence, or conclusion that all observations are MiHoDeAL (Misidentifications, Hoaxes, Delusions, Anecdote and Lies) in nature – exorcised inside a context of supposed hard nosed epistemology – deduction and objective science. Then perhaps they should select a membership which is more representative of disciplines which function upon those value sets.
All this cast of Cabal characters is going to do, is to foment conflict between the public and science. After all, this is what serves to both obscure them from being held accountable, and as well serves to legitimize their methods and purpose in the eyes of a duped science and lay public.
Inside ethical skepticism, we believe that the appropriate discipline skills, as well as depth of experience, need be brought to bear inside any claim to represent science or the philosophy of science, skepticism. When you excise the legitimate 11% of this Wikipedia celebrity tally, those who actually made a difference in the world before they were ever considered skeptics, the remaining 89% compose a pitiful Cabal, a cast of characters which falls substantially short of what humanity demands from such an important social-scientific entity.
Skeptics, we demand better. You have 16 years left in which to ply your fake wares. You need to up your game.
The Ethical Skeptic, “A Statistical Profiling of Celebrity Wannabe ‘Scientific Skeptics’”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 2 July 2019; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-a12
Never place a tactician in charge of a strategic challenge. Their hammer sees every new problem as constituting another nail. Such exhibits the distinction between expert and strategic skill sets. Both are critical when it comes to solving multifaceted, novel and asymmetric challenges; however, it is the tyranny of the simple-minded, the disdainful miasma of the expert proceduralist, which renders the organizational/societal dynamic sometimes more daunting to solve than the challenge the organization was tasked to address in the first place.
During my decades of business advisement and observing personalities inhabiting my client organizations, there began to manifest to my observation, two consistent phenotypes of general professional personality inside a competitive workplace. At the extreme risk of oversimplification, and while acknowledging that many people bear traits in common with both species, we can frame these individuals along the profiles developed by Laurence J Peter in his book The Peter Principle,1 and American Psychologist Carl Rogers through his (psychology) theory of personal phenomenology.2 For simplicity’s sake, I call the first organizational personality, ‘Peter’, and the second organizational personality, ‘Roger’ – both in honor of their primary thought leading experts in business management and psychology. What the two researchers have outlined collectively is the essence of contrast between the organization procedural expert (Peter) and the multi-skilled adaptable leader (Roger) inside organizational development, function and more importantly, dysfunction.
The Peter Principle
Have you ever taken notice inside your graduating high school class, of the difference in success between people who made straight A’s say, in 5th Grade and those who flourished academically in high school and beyond. One may note that often, those who succeed early in a developmental process do not end up being those same individuals who succeed later in that developmental process. In similar fashion, many of those who thrive and excel at administrative tasks, fall prey to being overwhelmed or fail when faced with asymmetric or novel complex organizational challenges; ones say which might befit a higher leadership role. Such is the nature of what organizational behaviorist Laurence Peter outlined in his work called The Peter Principle. Individuals exhibit tactical competence, and then are promoted or rise through the ranks of a social structure, until such time as they encounter a level which outstrips their ability to perform well. This is shown on the left hand side of the chart above. Now set aside that this constitutes a rather simplistic view of organizational or societal development; and rather, embrace its principle in regard to understanding why such more tactically-minded persons tend to get upset when others who they perceive to be less skilled, are promoted or excel in their place. How can I, Salesperson of the Year for the Southwest US, not excel at being Vice President of North American Markets? How could such an event transpire? And how could a lowly Sales Engineer for the Northeast, who required an escorting sales professional on every contract he ever landed, then thrive so well as that Vice President? This is a dissonance I cannot fathom, much less bear!
Peters tend to outstrip their ability to perform at some point in a social or organizational succession; whereas Rogers tend to thrive more effectively as they are exposed to increasing challenge. There is a natural enmity between these two species.
What the Southwest Salesperson of the Year fails to understand, is that the skills which might enable one to excel at cold calling and reading field customers, might not also translate so well into reading the tea leaves of market inflections, or promotion of a change in the offering of inventory or product being sold to a whole new customer base. The temptation is for the Southwest Salesperson of the Year to get angry with the Northeast Sales Engineer who took their coveted position – and begin to point out how they don’t follow the rules or don’t know how to fill out the sales credit authorization correctly, nor can they keep a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software log accurately. Peter, the regional sales lead, will naturally bear a subception based jealousy and dislike towards Roger, the new Vice President, which understandably is not given in return. Peter may begin to manufacture sins in his or her head, which justify their indignation over the Roger who serves to introduce or symbolizes threatening stimulus. Roger, the ‘ugly duckling’ in such a circumstance, may be flabbergasted by the sudden appearance of vitriol and criticism, coming from people whom he or she regarded to be their allies and business partners, many of whom were at one time their friends – long before the promotion was ever even let. It becomes important for the senior executive or CEO, to spot their Peters and Rogers, and manage them effectively through organizational structure and reward – before Peter creates a problem and disintegrates the organization morale or its function.
/psychology : self deception : subconscious perception/ : a perceptual defense that involves unconsciously applying strategies to prevent a troubling stimulus from entering consciousness. The method of deceiving one’s self and others in the process of cynicism, jealousy or denial. A process of expressing unrealized subconscious vitriol, in which one habitually creates artificial ‘violations’ (usually forms of administrative or social protocol which their target ‘does wrong’ – quo facto malo – Latin for ‘having done this evil’) which their target of jealously or hate keeps committing – in order for the subception holder to internally justify their ill feelings toward their target.
Immature Peters will often resort to the crafting of negative clique-like social clubs in reaction to the presence of a Roger whom they have elected to target. If they cannot win by professional standards, they can always revert back to high-school style politics – especially inside an organizational structure with weak leadership. In this same way, the perception of science is ruled by Peters of social skepticism – they have failed at science as a career, so now they must make others pay for this failure. Moreover they must find some way other than competence or resilience, through which to be accepted at the level of power and prestige given a scientist.
Another feature of a Peter is that he or she gets ahead by claiming credit for the success of the group, regardless of whether or not they actually added anything of merit into its value provision. The Peter calls the meetings to order, makes sure everyone is on task and puts on an air of authority. The Peter will speak often of ‘there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’ but will stand exemplary of the supplemental apothegm ‘but there is often a hidden ‘me’.’ A Peter bears this concealed ‘me’ inside everything they undertake; and moreover, it is precisely this ‘taking of the credit’ which serves ultimately to be their Achilles’ heel, under The Peter Principle to begin with. This unmerited credit is what propels the Peter into those lofty levels wherein their incompetence can be ‘suddenly exposed’. At some point, it is not enough to merely be a titular head of the group. It is not enough to be in control and enforce ISO or ASME standards and protocols. It is not enough to patrol the hallways to make sure everyone is at their desk staring at a piece of paper or clicking on a keyboard at 8:30 am. As one rises in responsibility, the titular head more and more actually has to do stuff; make informed and ‘why and how’ based decisions inside a context of individual naked accountability. If a Peter’s entire career consists of merely who, what, where and when coordination, then they will fail miserably at the why and how decision set.
A Roger in contrast does not bear an innate craving to be recognized as the head of the group, nor to control others, nor to hold a whip of conformance, nor to garner credit for the group’s success. He is not necessarily the extreme of a polymath or pariah, as those types of individuals can be grating inside a team structure. Instead, a Roger gains his satisfaction through the accomplishment of objectives and goals – and knowing how and why such process worked. He is quietly passed from team to team to fix things, and must advance by the principle of ‘a prophet is never accepted in his home town’.3 For a Roger, even though they may rise through the ranks for solving complex novel and asymmetric problems, they soon find that the more they change settings, the faster they rise. This because they skip over The Peter Principle games played by each Peter Organization of which they were once a member. This is unfortunate but can be observed as the key to many people’s successful career paths – they must eventually sidestep and pass by the Peters, if the Peter Organization is not mature enough to spot the circumstance in their own ranks.
Skepticism and Science are Ruled by Peters
There exists a difference between what is defined in Organizational Behavior as a goal, and that sub-element which is defined as an objective. We observe this disconnect inside skepticism as well, wherein the fake skeptic regards the goal of skepticism to be a ‘conformance to knowledge’ on the part of the public4 – when such a mission constitutes merely one non-critical path objective. The actual goal of skepticism is the creation/refinement of knowledge inside a scientific context, or the opposition to scientific oppression inside a free society; as those constitute our first true priority. They are the heads on the very tippy top of the skepticism totem-pole. One of the objectives of a skeptic organization is to ensure that pseudoscience is not promulgated freely, of course – but this should never be practiced to the extreme point wherein our goals to create and refine knowledge or alleviate suffering are impinged. In such a circumstance, our objectives have become our chief obstacles to our goal. This latter condition is more what we face today inside science. Science is ruled by Peters. They thrive upon order and discipline, but most importantly conformance – especially conformance which best serves to place them in charge. Whereas a Roger tends to thrive better than does a Peter in the midst of novelty and unscripted complexity. Roger is a problem solver and gains from disorder. Peter is a status quo manager, and loses from it.
Ethical skepticism is all about knowing where this critical knowledge dynamic inflection point resides. Tacticians rarely grasp inflection points in asymmetry. This is why they often fail when pushed outside their comfort zones. This inability to see the forest for the trees is what distinguishes Peter from Roger. Such dilemma is exhibited no better than by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book Antifragile, regarding what he calls the Green Lumber Problem.5
Green Lumber Problem
The Green Lumber Problem involves an essential misunderstanding between which facts are relevant versus those which are not, or which objectives are critical path and those which are not, as they may regard decision goals under uncertainty (multifaceted novelty and asymmetry).
“In one of the rare noncharlatanic books in finance, descriptively called What I Learned Losing A Million Dollars, the protagonist makes a big discovery. He remarks that a fellow called Joe Siegel, the most active trader in a commodity called “green lumber” actually thought that it was lumber painted green (rather than freshly cut lumber, called green because it had not been dried). And he made a living, even a fortune trading the stuff [and went in to ask when he could begin trading ‘other colors of lumber’].6
The Green Lumber Problem elicits this issue of distinguishing one who can thrive in doing anything, from one who only thrives because they understand all the trivia, nuance and procedure surrounding a single discipline in which they have chosen to immerse them self. While this approach to knowledge and skill is certainly useful, it becomes a hindrance when such simplicity of role, is enforced as an effectiveness panacea. Joe Siegel, undoubtedly pissed off a lot of Peters in green lumber, by excelling inside their discipline, not knowing what the heck green lumber even was. Joe Siegel is simply one step removed from the thought, ‘Maybe there is a better way to do this. Maybe simply deriving wealth off the trade of the lumber is not the primary goal after all’. By thinking past the trivia and the rules, Joe has begun to develop a different ethical mindset than the 30 Peters who populate the cubicles around him.
There exists a difference between informing one’s self to establish control of a system, and informing one’s self to achieve a goal. In contrast with Siegel, a Peter crafts a world in which they are fully armed to know and control all within their reach – their goal is power. This foible tends to express itself inside organizations as rice-bowls, silo’s and kingdoms – the very elements of stagnation which an external consultant will find sport in disrupting. Peters bear a tendency to mistake academic knowledge for an ability to distinguish a goal from simply a critical or non-critical objective. This delineates as much as any single principle, the demarcation between academia and business. Those who can’t do, teach.
“Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them.” ~ Laurence J Peter
…or as well, to realize that they possess little or no actual bearing on the goal at hand.
The Roger Principle and Why Rogers are So Threatening to Peters
Psychologist Carl Rogers outlined a series of propositions as to why the proceduralist is so highly threatened by the multi-skilled leader. Interestingly the axioms also explain why the multi-skilled leader rarely bears such animosity in return. Animosity is not critical path. Yes, success may serve to make a publican out of any barbarian; however, it is the flexible and tolerant nature of the Roger, which more readily explains why he or she is less apt to return hate for such hate. [To be fair, it should be noted that The Roger Principle is somewhat akin to Laurence Peter’s ‘Summit Competence’ principle elicited in Chapter 9 of the referenced book. However, Peter did not delve into the aspects of ‘congruency’ outlined below, which make this rare phenomenon possible.] Essentially Carl Rogers contended that all individuals (organisms) exist in a continually changing world of experience – what he called the ‘phenomenal field’, of which they are the center. One of his key (of nineteen) axioms outlines the principle thusly.7
Psychological adjustment exists when the concept of the self is such that all the sensory and visceral experiences of the organism are, or may be, assimilated on a symbolic level into a consistent relationship with the concept of self.
The proceduralist immerses them self in the discipline at hand. They are going to make an A in the class. They will strive to be the task expert. They will strive to rule the organization with regard to the single expertise set on their plate. This serves to align their experiences, as symbols which are now in concert with their perception of self. It is heady to be ‘the expert’ – and those who fall for such charade typically hunger for control, both of environment and organization. There arises a problem however, when this type of personality is thrust outside of their comfort zone. This Peter will exhibit a visceral dissonance, an anger which then erupts on their preferred target – the Roger who appears to not only be the source of the dissonance, but moreover appears to be capitalizing from it. To Peter, Roger certainly could not actually be thriving, because if Peter cannot thrive, then no one can – therefore in Peter’s eyes, Roger has to be taking advantage of the situation. Carl Rogers continues with two more of his nineteen key axioms, related to exactly this:
Psychological maladjustment exists when the organism denies awareness of significant sensory and visceral experiences, which consequently are not symbolized and organized into the gestalt of the self structure. When this situation exists, there is a basic or potential psychological tension.
Any experience which is inconsistent with the organization of the structure of the self may be perceived as a threat, and the more of these perceptions there are, the more rigidly the self structure is organized to maintain itself.
Therefore, Peter will almost always double-down in order to protect the gestalt of self structure upon which they so heavily depend. Anything; logic, science, reason, facts or even life itself if necessary are elements subservient to this Maslow-style need inside the mind of the pathological Peter. They will turn heaven and earth to keep things they way they prefer to view them. While this is understandable as a personal foible, persons bearing these traits should seldom be allowed to unilaterally manage the public perception of science. This is why we need ethical skepticism – the tyranny of the Peter.
The Roger Principle
/philosophy : science : psychology : leadership/ : the principle which cites that a multi-skilled, creative, congruent and leadership oriented personality will routinely rank level relative to his or her peers while performing lower organizational or administrative jobs; however will begin to increasingly thrive as they are promoted up through an organization and are exposed to more multifaceted, novel and asymmetric challenge. This will tend to anger the peers who were in contrast limited by means of a Peter Principle. Roger Principle individuals are usually targeted for disdain by tactic/talent limited persons, often out of envy or dissonance; and are usually flagged early on by their performance in more chaotic tasks or situations involving uncertainty. They can make for excellent CEO’s, strategists and thought leaders.
“In life minimize everything so you can capture optionality.” ~Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Roger does not cherish the idea of wasting copious amounts of time either mastering or managing low value tasks, as such activity in the end is often enslaving; standing in the way of his ability to capture the full value of a White Swan event or elastically respond in a moment of opportunity. After all, this is what good CEO’s do. In contrast with Peter, Roger just shrugs off the uncertainty of higher value tasks and instead focuses upon the overall sequence of critical path objectives, or upon developing new understanding in absence of standardized knowledge. He does not care as much about the protocol in assigning debits and credits to a T-account, as he does what such ledgers are used for and how such rigor may be exploited for competitive advantage, or even be outsmarted. Yes, details are important, but they are not what dictate one’s thinking nor boundaries. The objective of thought is to create new ways to view a critical path and to challenge why something is done in a particular fashion in the first place. A Roger does not want to drive off a cliff and cite how good his gas mileage is on the way from the edge of the cliff to the bottom. This is why Roger tolerates Peter, much better than Peter can stand Roger. Peter cannot fathom the reasons for departure from his neatly ordered environment or pathway to dominance and control. Rogers relate to a goal of succeeding and not one of personal control. Carl Rogers finishes his nineteen axioms with this exact point.
When the individual perceives and accepts into one consistent and integrated system all her sensory and visceral experiences, then she is necessarily more understanding of others and is more accepting of others as separate individuals.
A Roger can readily step in and be any Peter, but a Peter finds it extraordinarily difficult to be a Roger. A Roger tolerates a Peter very easily; but a Peter finds fault in everything a Roger says or does. Roger sees Peter as an essential aspect of the functioning company; Peter does not view Roger in that same way. This is why Roger advances, and Peter does not. Peter cannot perceive this dynamic, so he blames Roger for his career stagnation.
One may humorously note that a Peter, when acting to the extreme, can often be regarded as synonymous with being a ‘dick’ (in older business vernacular). It is precisely their anger over the dissonance derived from mismatch between their phenomenological self and the environment in which they find them self (or wish to dominate), which tempts their observer to entertain such a nickname. In similar contrast, a Peter may view a Roger as an opportunist, looking to get a good ‘Rogering’ out of every new opportunity which arises inside an organization. Each may regard the other as a dick or a shark. Such is the comical nature of human competitiveness. In the end, the nicknames are not fair at all (and sexist to boot) – in that diversity of skill and personality in the workplace is exactly what makes for a strong and effective organization in the first place.
Why Roger Succeeds While Peter Often Stagnates
Peter succeeds at the outset because they have established them self as master of the topic at play. They are able to quickly grasp procedure and protocol. They have memorized each note and accidental, able to faithfully reproduce the correct sound as these symbols appear on the sheet music. This affords the Peter an advantage early on.
Capuchin monkeys beat 49 of 50 humans at intelligence tests, precisely because Capuchins do not confuse script-following with intelligence; opting instead for out-of-the-cage and goal opportunistic acumen. See Georgia State University research article.
Roger on the other hand, succeeds because he or she has honed specific traits which serve to enhance mere fundamental competency. They bypass the sheet music scrawlings and roll directly to a blues Pentatonic lead in A minor, expressed as a facet of their very being. They often become enormously bored with notes and accidentals, as the music has to exist inside them, or it does not exist. This may harm the Roger early on, but is of enormous benefit upon rising commensurate to a position wherein the success-praxis is no longer scripted. There is no sheet music, and the audience is demanding a sonata.
A Roger will succeed at pretty much anything they choose to do, save for many compulsory perfunctory or administrative tasks – often stumbling from the entailed tedium, rather than any particular shortfall in acumen or skill. Rogers are C-student bosses who regularly pissed off all but their most senior college instructors; who hire privileged A-student Peters who were those same pissed-off instructors’ darlings. Peter leverages his strength through fastidious displays of competence and rules following. Peter wants his benefactors to know that, by placing him in charge, things will go as planned; even if that plan involves running off a cliff and claiming the fantastic gas mileage on the way to the bottom, laying off one quarter of the employee base, increasing productivity regardless of the life-cost of the associates burdened with that increase, or extracting the wealth of the corporation to elite European bond trading accounts. A Peter will obediently trade and sacrifice higher goals, to increase his power base and money flow – as you see, for Peter these objectives served to obscure the real goal to begin with.
A Peter may acquiesce to the ‘best practice’ of shifting 80% of their company sourcing into one nation, or obediently generate efficiency-precipitated earnings to funnel to powerful outsiders/cronies for their wealth trading activity. A Roger on the other hand might entertain a greater mandate for his corporation (like the well being of his employees and their families) – and seek more ethical alternatives to such greed and lemming activity.
However, as outsiders begin to see the Peters of industry as their spoils-enabling tool, we will observe more corporate failure and consolidation at the hands of Peter Principle Leadership, along with the incumbent growing disparity between the worker and the extraction classes.
Flat organizations – hollow brands inhabited by CFO’s and supply chain specialists, lacking an authenticity of mission; bereft of the vision and ethical backbone necessary in defending their stakeholders from creeping enslavement.
Carl Rogers opines on the Roger Principle below, through outlining those character traits which make this unique style of person successful. A Roger bears the following strengths:8
A growing openness to experience – they move away from defensiveness and have no need for subception (a perceptual defense that involves unconsciously applying strategies to prevent a troubling stimulus from entering consciousness).
An increasingly existential lifestyle – living each moment fully – not distorting the moment to fit personality or self-concept but allowing personality and self-concept to emanate from the experience. This results in excitement, daring, adaptability, tolerance, spontaneity, and a lack of rigidity and suggests a foundation of trust. “To open one’s spirit to what is going on now, and discover in that present process whatever structure it appears to have”
Increasing organismic trust – they trust their own judgment and their ability to choose behavior that is appropriate for each moment. They do not rely on existing codes and social norms but trust that as they are open to experiences they will be able to trust their own sense of right and wrong.
Freedom of choice – not being shackled by the restrictions that influence an incongruent individual, they are able to make a wider range of choices more fluently. They believe that they play a role in determining their own behavior and so feel responsible for their own behavior.
Creativity – it follows that they will feel more free to be creative. They will also be more creative in the way they adapt to their own circumstances without feeling a need to conform.
Reliability and constructiveness – they can be trusted to act constructively. An individual who is open to all their needs will be able to maintain a balance between them. Even aggressive needs will be matched and balanced by intrinsic goodness in congruent individuals.
A rich full life – he describes the life of the fully functioning individual as rich, full and exciting and suggests that they experience joy and pain, love and heartbreak, fear and courage more intensely.
It is not that we as ethical skeptics necessarily aspire to be solely a Roger in makeup of character. Peters are essential to any organization or society. Rather we should seek to avoid the negative pitfalls of becoming a Peter – infusing enough of the creative, free, organismic fascination with wonder and discovery to compel us to not fall into the trap of becoming a Peter of skepticism.
It is this essential nature of congruency which we seek to develop within ourselves- that which the universe is asking us to learn. After all, we know how to discern that which is relevant from that which is not; and as well the goal, from that which merely might appear to be an objective.