Summary: COVID-19 shows that America has fallen into ClownWorld. All levels have become dysfunctional. This is the first of a series of vignettes about it. Unless we repair ourselves, world leadership will pass into more competent hands. Our wealth and power mean little if we cannot see clearly and act effectively.
Firing the Captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt
What a wonderful display of how our key institutions work in ClownWorld America! In this case, the US Navy. It has it all. Finger-pointing, lies, panic, fast emotional irrational decisions, and ignoring the chain of command.
Above all, we see the now-standard refusal of Americans to take responsibility for their own decisions. Personally, if I were president after reading this I’d fire SecNavy Thomas Moby and put Captain Brett Crozier in his chair (after he recovers). From a column by the WaPo’s David Ignatius quoting Moby.
“’I didn’t want to get into a decision where the president would feel that he had to intervene because the Navy couldn’t be decisive. ….If I were president, and I saw a commanding officer of a ship exercising such poor judgment, I would be asking why the leadership of the Navy wasn’t taking action itself.'”
Note that the Military Times and others “misstate” Ignatius by saying that he reported that Moby said that Trump ordered the firing (never assume the ClownWorld press can report even simple things correctly).
For more accounts of this pitiful incident, devastating to the Navy’s morale and public image, see …
- WaPo: “Acting Navy secretary blasts ousted aircraft carrier captain as ‘stupid’ in address to ship’s crew.”
- WaPo by David Ignatius: “Inside the ouster of Capt. Brett Crozier.” The officers in the chain of command disagreed with Moby’s action.
- Acting Navy chief fired Crozier for ‘panicking’ — and before Trump could intervene
- WaPo: “This is what was so unusual about the U.S. Navy making Captain Brett Crozier step down.“
- Defense One: “‘It Doesn’t Add Up To Me’: Current and Former Navy Officials Question Captain’s Abrupt Dismissal.“
- CNN: Moby “apologizes for calling ousted aircraft carrier captain ‘stupid’ in address to ship’s crew.“
The chain of command is sacred …
…and must be obeyed! How many levels are there between SecNav and a carrier captain? Trick question! The captain reports to the admiral commanding Carrier Strike Group 9, who reports to the admiral commanding the Pacific Fleet, who reports to the commander of Indo-Pacific Command, who reports to the Sec of Defense. The Sec Navy is not in the chain of command.
Also, note the number of levels in the Navy. Despite the Sec Navy’s boasting, nothing with so many levels of command is “agile.” This refers to the SecNavy’s “Vector #16” memo of March 20. As the epidemic hit America, Navy personal and their families wanted to know how the Navy planned to protect them on its crowded ships and bases – and what they might be asked to do in this crisis. Instead, he boasted about the Navy’s “agility” – musing about organizational theory as COVID-19 spread unseen through the Navy.
Now we see the result.
A note from the past
“As a descendant of the namesake of Captain Crozier’s former command, I often wonder, in situations like this, what Theodore Roosevelt would have done. In this case, though, I know exactly what he would have done. In 1898, he found himself in almost the exact same position.”
— From “Captain Crozier Is a Hero” by Tweed Roosevelt – “My great-grandfather, would agree.”
The master explanation
There is an easy explanation for this. It is the master explanation for almost everything these days. It’s ClownWorld. Expecting rational behavior of anyone in America shows a drastic misunderstanding of our situation.
For More Information
- Important: A 4th of July reminder that America is ours to keep – or to lose!
- Our institutions are hollow because we don’t love them.
- Sources of inspiration to survive the coming bad times – We’ll have to make hard decisions in the coming hard times.
- We have forgotten who we are. Let’s remember, and win.
- We must understand our peril: A new, dark picture of America’s future.
- America’s giant corporations are decaying.
- Welcome to ClownWorld, the final meme for America.
- Sources of inspiration to survive the coming bad times.
We are living in the crazy years
America’s politics and society are changing at an incredible rate. We feel anxiety about these changes and their mysterious and many causes. RussiaGate gives us clear enemies to blame: Putin and Trump. It gives us heroes to cheer: the intel agencies and The Resistance. Ditto for the Climate Emergency.
We are changing the world at an incredible rate. Strange chemicals pour into the environment. We are reshaping the biosphere, casually and thoughtlessly. More ugly changes lie ahead as Earth’s population grows to ten or twelve billion. The Climate Emergency compresses this complexity into a simple story (ignoring all the key details) and gives us demons to blame: the deniers.
Similarly, we conduct bold experiments on our society, massive without precedents, molding our children into experimental personalities.
Our politics become crusades for virtue that anyone can join by adopting the right politics. Unfortunately, these are irrationality given form, making rational government impossible. This chaos was predicted long ago by science fiction author Robert Heinlein. His date for the madness was 50 years early, but nailed the details. Let’s hope that he as accurately predicted it to have a happy conclusion.
Robert Heinlein used this as the foundation for the timeline of his future history stories, first published in Astounding Science Fiction, May 1940. This series was published as The Past through Tomorrow.
“The Crazy Years: Considerable technical advance during this period, accompanied by a gradual deterioration of mores, orientation, and social institutions, terminating in mass psychoses in the sixth decade, and the interregnum.”