Expecting Competence

Sunday, June 9, 2019 – Expecting Competence

There is a power in public opinion in this country – and I thank God for it, for it is the most honest and best of all powers – which will not tolerate an incompetent or unworthy man to hold in his weak or wicked hands the lives and fortunes of his fellow-citizens. ~ Martin Van Buren

I am not fit for this office and never should have been here. ~ Warren G. Harding

The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it’s so rare. ~ Daniel P. Moynihan

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. ~ Laurence J. Peter

A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective. ~ Sun Tzu

Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. ~ Isaac Asimov

Marriage, laws, the police, armies and navies are the mark of human incompetence. ~ Dora Russell

I would rather have five energetic and competent enemies than one fool friend. ~ Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

I would rather have a competent extremist than an incompetent moderate. ~ Leon Jaworski

We may seem competent, but by the end of next century there will be new deserts, new ruins. ~ Edward Bond

It has become almost a cliché to remark that nobody boasts of ignorance of literature, but it is socially acceptable to boast ignorance of science and proudly claim incompetence in mathematics. ~ Richard Dawkins

Education is the inculcation of the incomprehensible into the indifferent by the incompetent. ~ John Maynard Keynes

He attacked everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which. ~ Douglas Adams

If every day a man takes orders in silence from an incompetent superior, if every day he solemnly performs ritual acts which he privately finds ridiculous, if he unhesitatingly gives answers to questionnaires which are contrary to his real opinions and is prepared to deny his own self in public, if he sees no difficulty in feigning sympathy or even affection where, in fact, he feels only indifference or aversion, it still does not mean that he has entirely lost the use of one of the basic human senses, namely, the sense of humiliation. ~ Vaclav Havel

I am, as I’ve said, merely competent. But in an age of incompetence, that makes me extraordinary. ~ Billy Joel

I wish the government would put a tax on pianos for the incompetent. ~ Dame Edith Sitwell

If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you’re a one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Man cannot live by incompetence alone. ~ Charlotte Whitton

Hardly a competent workman can be found who does not devote a considerable amount of time to studying just how slowly he can work and still convince his employer that he is going at a good pace. ~ Frederick W. Taylor

Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence. ~ Laurence J. Peter

I find it rather easy to portray a businessman. Being bland, rather cruel and incompetent comes naturally to me. ~ John Cleese

The English think incompetence is the same thing as sincerity. ~ Quentin Crisp

If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live. ~ Lin Yutang

I’ve been told that I’m incompetent, socially retarded, maladjusted, and I still know that I couldn’t function in reality. Los Angeles is a good place for me. ~ Diablo Cody

Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

An ignorant person is one who doesn’t know what you have just found out. ~ Will Rogers

A little learning, indeed, may be a dangerous thing, but want of learning is a calamity to any people. ~ Frederick Douglass

The only real progress lies in learning to be wrong all alone. ~ Albert Camus

Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. ~ Douglas Adams

I like to think of my behavior in the sixties as a “learning experience.” Then again, I like to think of anything stupid I’ve done as a “learning experience.” It makes me feel less stupid. ~ P. J. O’Rourke

Learning is acquired by reading books, but the much more necessary learning, the knowledge of the world, is only to be acquired by reading men, and studying all the various facets of them. ~ Lord Chesterfield

In the same way that we need statesmen to spare us the abjection of exercising power, we need scholars to spare us the abjection of learning. ~ Jean Baudrillard

Unprovided with original learning, unformed in the habits of thinking, unskilled in the arts of composition, I resolved to write a book. ~ Edward Gibbon

Writing is learning to say nothing, more cleverly each day. ~ William Allingham

If the past cannot teach the present and the father cannot teach the son, then history need not have bothered to go on, and the world has wasted a great deal of time. ~ Russell Hoban

Learn as much as you can while you are young, since life becomes too busy later. ~ Dana Stewart Scott

The man who is too old to learn was probably always too old to learn. ~ Henry S. Haskins

Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn. ~ C. S. Lewis

If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way. ~ Mark Twain

A gentleman need not know Latin, but he should at least have forgotten it. ~ Brander Matthews

It don’t make much difference what you study, so long as you don’t like it. ~ Finley Peter Dunne

Real education must ultimately be limited to men who insist on knowing. The rest is mere sheep-herding. ~ Ezra Pound

There’s an old saying about those who forget history. I don’t remember it, but it’s good. ~ Stephen Colbert

Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. ~ Edmund Burke

It is the soothing thing about history that it does repeat itself. ~ Gertrude Stein

I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly. ~ Michel de Montaigne

History is the sum total of the things that could have been avoided. ~ Konrad Adenauer

It might be a good idea if the various countries of the world would occasionally swap history books, just to see what other people are doing with the same set of facts. ~ Bill Vaughan

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it. ~ Winston Churchill

People who make history know nothing about history. You can see that in the sort of history they make. ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

Yeah, I read history. But it doesn’t make you nice. Hitler read history, too. ~ Joan Rivers

The only things worth learning are the things you learn after you know it all. ~ Harry S. Truman