by Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya
Perhaps one of the most dangerous trends in America today is allowing people with alarmingly low skill sets to occupy seats meant for people with true competence. Not only is there a disparity in wealth, and a disparity in health, there is also an increasing and shocking disparity in the able and disabled, misabled, and non-able.
In our fights for the rights of the less advantaged, we have unwittingly enabled emotional, functional, and intellectual disability as the norm.
Take any profession: journalism, leadership, medicine, teaching, legal, repair work, crafts, construction. In business, executives take advantage of paying employees as little as they can. In academia, professors take shortcuts. Falsification of data and plagiarism are excused in official documents by providing a big donation to the right adjudicators. Sexual harassment is a mockery, with highly unbalanced policies of punishment for people at different levels of the socioeconomic poles. Repairmen do bad jobs and still expect to get paid for their time, without sincere efforts and achievement. Drug companies put the responsibility of health maintenance on the physician; the physician puts the responsibility of health maintenance on the administration that creates algorithms; the algorithm makers put the responsibility of health algorithms on hired management consultants who are novice MBAs with no clinical experience or a weekend course in holistic nutrition. Doctors are overweight, addicted to foods that we will learn are cancerous a decade from now, and self-righteous about systems of the body they will privately confess they know nothing about. Consider the immune system as an example.
We allow capitalists with long histories of misusing money to be public servants. We allow public servants to become capitalists. In the name of freedom. We have non-discrimination policies that allow people with addictions and questionable mental health to take care of our schools and children. We allow people with actions that reflect poor humanitarian ideals to run large institutions, courts, sectors of the government, large companies that affect millions of lives. We allow church fanatics to own guns, people whose faith encourages them to wipe out those of other faiths who are damned anyway. We turn the other way when women use sex and allure to gain positions and items of wealth and comfort but imprison them when they take paper money.
We trust the teachings of elders, yet at the beginning of our schooling, we tolerate school teachers who show their ineptitude with their bias and inability to set examples as competent Beings. This escalates with the prestige of the teacher to the university. The level of academic crimes today simply indicates the level of the mentality and psychological maturity of today’s faculty. Rather than enforce great faculty rules of conduct, chairmen tolerate digressions, holding the rules as swords rather than as lights to guide the way.
Where is all this taking the great society that we have tried to build in the land of America? The farce of a great society built on freedom is revealing itself as we watch selective people allowed selective freedoms with no consequences, no retribution. Police shoot who they want. Executives sue who they want. Federal investigators arrest who they want. There are no longer any obligations of morals. And we the populous are failed, left with lost presumptions that our elected leaders will serve the society that pays them handsomely.
Rules apply to one group of people who exempt themselves but hold others to punishment for the same words or actions. It is not one man who is destroying the vision of a great nation. It is all the men and women who have no shame or self-correction for not having the skills required for their jobs. The nation is being destroyed by those ignoring that conscience that requires them to gain competence or step away from positions of power that claim to take care of others.
Corruption works because there are so many people who are simply unable and still want to be paid for jobs they just do not or cannot do well. And as a nation we have allowed ineptitude and corruption to rule all three pinnacles of power that were supposed to check and balance each other.
Ineptitude is the trump card for special treatment that pardons, excuses and allows laws to be broken without consequence. And we continue to allow it.
The South Asia Times Columnist Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya is a Fulbright Specialist 2018‐2023 in Public Health and Clinical Asst Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York. Her bestselling book Everyday Ayurveda is published by Penguin Random House. firstname.lastname@example.org | www.drbhaswati.com