11/30/2016

The Price of Being A Nation of Assholes

One of the few terrific management books of the last 100 years is Robert Sutton’s 2007 The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't. In case you are a typical American and don't have the mental capacity to read a book, Sutton offered two tests for identifying assholes:
  1. After encountering the person, do people feel oppressed, humiliated or otherwise worse about themselves?
  2. Does the person target people who are less powerful than him/her?
Sound familiar?
To provide guidance to the generally clueless sort who make corporate decisions, Sutton also gave us a dozen identifying asshole behaviors, he called them The Dirty Dozen:
  1. Insults
  2. Violation of personal space
  3. Unsolicited touching
  4. Threats
  5. Sarcasm
  6. Flames
  7. Humiliation
  8. Shaming
  9. Interruption
  10. Backbiting
  11. Glaring
  12. Snubbing
Thanks to the Electoral College and the ultimate American asshole, Alexander Hamilton, we are about to experience a federal government totally staffed by assholes. Outside of the 61,900,651 confirmed assholes who voted for Trump (as of November 8, 2016) any normal person would recognize all 12 of those behaviors as Donald Trump’s prime personality markers.  From my own personal experience in this past election, those characteristics are core pseudo-conservative principles, too.

What does it mean for the future of the country when half of our voters idolize assholes? Keep in mind that, on average, the least educated portion of the country voted overwhelmingly for Trump, demonstrating why Trump and Republicans “love the uneducated.” For one, it means our media will continue to become more mean spirited, less fact-oriented, more focused on profit and less on public service, and society in general and public service will be less inviting to decent, intelligent people. I’m a firm believer in the FACT that incentives are everything. When society rewards politicians’ bad behavior far more consistently than decency, manners, intelligence, and competence, people with those qualities will find other places to commit their time. Eventually (as in January 20, 2017) our federal government will be almost fully-staffed by the worst, most selfish, least capable people in the country. The country is about to experience at least two years governed by all assholes. I don’t think this is going to work out the way these voters expected or hoped.


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