Life these days is a constant “the Emperor has no clothes” situation.
The people who are supposedly in charge do not genuinely know much more than you do about the world and how it is spinning. They can guess at probabilities of success, but an honest assessment never precisely assures victory; that information has to be kept from the public when the cheerleading begins. If this is matched by a vainglorious bid to leverage the power a public position entails into something grander, we quickly reach the point where amateurs can do as well or better.
This is the same in government or large corporations. How many companies have we seen that were clearly kiting along their finances much like any sub-prime borrower? Did anyone really examine the risks of failure in Iraq? The list continues. The Emperor often has no clothes, but is perfectly willing to strut his naked ass in front of us, daring anyone to question. Very few people do.
Has it always been this way? I think it has. Consider a farmer turning the soil with a plow in 1861. Somewhere between his skill in timing and hard work and a tremendous amount of luck, he might actually scratch out a living. The only thing to interrupt it would be a call to defend some abomination like slavery for people who decided that this would be a Noble and Glorious thing to do. This didn’t happen very often, so the farmer was left to his own devices more often than not.
Today, we live in a more connected world. We depend on people all doing what they say they will do. What if they slack off? You can always fool people, at least those who are in the same situation you are. Who dares question the leadership?
Our ability to communicate bombards us tales of leadership gone wrong. It does not, however, directly teach us the skill we need to make sense of it. That artful decoding of the Daily Nooze requires us to un-learn, more than anything.
We need to remember the eyes of the child who saw the Emperor strut down the street. We need to remember when our own eyes saw things as they were.