I’ve Got a Plan for That!

History is littered with the calamities created by those in possession of little knowledge but tremendous certainty.

As the political season heats up it seems every candidate and his dog has a plan to solve something. One might reasonably ask these wannabe planners what direct experience they have in the specific areas they purport to enrich with their wisdom.

How did you come by the expertise that forms the basis of your plans? Have you done similar things in the past? Years and areas of expertise? Success stories? Forecasting accuracy for both costs and outcomes for past similar plans? What happens if the plan doesn’t work out—in other words, what is Plan B and C? Got any references?

You’d probably ask similar things of anyone who came to your home pitching this or that home improvement project.

Yet in politics there seems to be an almost direct correlation between the planner’s lack of knowledge and experience and his certainty of the plan. History (and more than a few cemeteries) are littered with the calamities created by those with little knowledge and experience but great certainty. If given power, there might not be a more dangerous-type of person on the planet.

In the private sector these types of folks can hurt only themselves and those foolish enough to volunteer their support to them. But politics is different.

The nature of political planning is coercive and like all government actions, enforced at the end of a gun. Disagree? See what happens if you refuse to comply.

Why would any free person support this process? No one would support it in their personal lives.

“So, let’s see . . . You don’t have any experience, have never done it before, in fact have never done anything like it before, if fact it’s not even remotely certain it can be accomplished by these means . . . but sure, here’s a good chunk of my income for you to operate on my child . . .  or put a new roof on my house . . . or tune up my car.”

No one lives like that. No one makes decisions like that. Only in politics. Does politics exist outside normal reality? If not, this is an insane process.

And we aren’t talking peanuts in these plans. These “planners” toss around numbers like trillions as though it were no big deal. I doubt if they have any true understanding of how large a sum that is. I doubt if most humans do.

The universe is only 13,800,000,000 years old. A single trillion—a one with 12 zeros behind it— is more than 72 times larger than the age of the universe! The entire annual U.S. economy is a little over $20 trillion.

And some of these individual plans have price tags approaching $50 trillion—some say closer to $100 trillion. And there are many plans. So very many plans.

Only a foolish or power hungry person could want to take blind risks of this nature which, directly impacting the lives of hundreds of millions, when failure could put the freedoms and economic security of an entire nation—in fact, the entire world—at risk.

But lack of knowledge and experience—to say nothing of a terrible track record—be damned! I’m a politician, I have a plan and I’m certain.

God help us all.

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images

About John Conlin

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change. He is also president and founder of E.I.C. Enterprises, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world primarily through K-12 education.

Want news updates?

Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.