Save Us from the Mediocrats!

You are a 16th or 17th century European native living a subsistence-level existence interrupted occasionally by a king or some other authoritarian figure when he tells you to pay more taxes or change your religion or move on. Whatever. But you do have food and shelter, and subsistence is not that bad when you consider the alternative.

You also have an exceptional imagination and envision better things for yourself and future descendants, then an opportunity comes to leave it all behind and sail across a vast ocean to a place you know nothing about. You are courageous and you make the journey.

Imagination and courage were the hallmarks of people who originally settled this land and they went on to invent a new kind of government with personal freedom as the number one goal. You could literally succeed beyond your wildest dreams. They called it democracy.

As generations have passed, so too has the gene pool become diluted; democracy is now the support system of mediocrity. It’s all around you: prescribed speech devoid of superlatives; a school system ranked 20th in the world; fashion featuring untucked dress shirts with no ties and the ubiquitous blue jeans, some with fashion-dictated holes, are appropriate for every occasion. In short, the desired image has gone from chic to neo-sloppy.

Mediocrity is from the Latin derivative medi (half way) and ocris (mountain), and literally means half-way up the mountain. If you are satisfied with a climb that only takes you half way, you resent other climbers who make it to the top. Besides, in doing so, they may kick rocks down on your head, so you do what you can to stop them from going higher than you are.

“Anyone in any walk of life who is content with mediocrity is untrue to himself and to American tradition,” said General George S. Patton.

Our politics have devolved to cater to the mediocre and any move to the contrary is met with outspoken hostility. Compare President Donald Trump to those of the last 90 years when we were told that a growth rate of two percent or less was the new norm and that manufacturing jobs were never coming back to the U.S. In less than two years, Trump put the lie to those aphorisms, causing him to be reviled by mediocrats across the land.

Niccolo Machiavelli explained it this way: “You know better than I that in a Republic talent is always suspect. A man attains an elevated position only when his mediocrity prevents him from being a threat to others. And for this reason a democracy is never governed by the most competent, but rather by those whose insignificance will not jeopardize anyone else’s self-esteem.”

As you are deluged with “vote for me” pitches for the next year and a half, there is only one consideration: what’s best for me personally and my family. Besides, all the candidates for president will get a trophy, I’m sure.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Wayne McLaughlin

Wayne McLaughlin is an OpsLens Contributor and US Army Veteran.

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