In the broad spectrum of anti-social, or errant behavior,” incompetence” deserves the most coveted prize. It is usually enabled by a concomitant of two miscreant features, ignorance and confidence; the  mutual allure is deadly.

Our nation’s most successful enterprise, aside from raising soy beans and corn, is unarguably, marketing. Impressionable, or dissatisfied folks, seem to evince an irresistible attraction to marketing propaganda, not entirely dissimilar to that of a moth and a light bulb. Offer an adequate incentive (money) to the agency and the response would predictably be, “no problem.” Sugar-laden drinks, potentially harmful chemicals, violent video games, miracle foods or diets, fitness programs for everyone (regardless of physical condition), “you name it.”  Glitzy, Barbee dolls, decked out with “bling” and masculine “hunks”, heroes, problem solvers, celebrities and incentive coaches promote age-defying creams and oils, medicines for every malady, from heartburn to bi-polar disorder (for you to edify your physician),  personal Injury lawyers, life extending elixirs and whatever may be the snake oil du jour.

In similar fashion, there are many individuals who, by means of their tactical representation of expertise and self-confidence, seem to have the remarkable capacity to induce unwary members of the public to so act, or refrain from action, to encourage cosmetic surgery, to buy into “get rich quick” deals ( in real estate or gold coins, for example) to purchase a particular automobile or wristwatch, insurance plan,  and even, for whom  to vote (albeit possibly against the voter’s interest).

Bad advice is often widely disseminated, by television, smart-phone and even more effectively, in person-to-person interaction. In the context of our great and literate nation, the fact that an ignorant, egotistical braggart-clown (the personification of reductive ignorance in attractive combination with self-confidence) can have himself popularly  selected  as one of the two candidates in an election for the Presidency, ought be beyond any reasonable ken or tolerant acceptability.

Experience has wisely taught us to avoid the society of the criminal and other unsavory members of our society. The latter, if not at first, soon thereafter, becomes identifiable and therefore,  avoidable. So express evil- doers rank only second in our spectrum of miscreants since we know how to be safe.

But incompetence has no warning lights and is all too often identified only after the manifestation of its tragic results. Thus, incompetence rates as more dangerous than criminality. It is often not recognizable and the amiable incompetent may with our permission, soon find his way into our “soft parts.”

In the interest of our own self-preservation, we are mandated to avoid the “sell,” by conducting our own research and inquiry. Comparative experience, research in the literature, and a thorough examination of the subject are invaluable and are highly recommended; however it should be note that the most effective antidote to this “Eighth Sin”, incompetence, is the liberal exercise of our human reason.


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.


  1. Many many thanks Pliny for providing me with such an articulate and ‘spot on’ response for the inevitable wise cracks (deservedly so) I so often receive as a result of being an American living in the UK.

    I had pretty much run out of responses to the overt displays of disbelief; thanks for the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

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