In oppressive regimes, critics and journalists have always used myth and analogy to hide their true meaning from the authorities. (Some writers, like L. Frank Baum, became so adept at this dissembling that no-one is really sure what they meant, whom they were attacking, or for what ). This morning’s Washington Post contains a reflective article that readers might carelessly interpret in this way, so I will try herewith to protect the RBC community from making fools of ourselves.
Pay attention: The Air Florida crash in 1982 was an airplane, and it flew (or rather not-flew), into a bridge in the snow. It was not an army, and it did not march into a hostile desert full of sandstorms and internecine wars. 78 people died, not 780,000. The captain who didn’t listen to the copilot’s warning that something was amiss was just an airline pilot, not the president of a great nation. The guy who said “anti-ice” as they ran through the checklist watching the snow through the windshield was not General Shinseki, and the captain who said “off” as the checklist proceeded to the next item was not the Secretary of Defense, and he didn’t say to leave off the body and vehicle armor, nor to leave half the troops at home. His copilot was not God, and neither a malcontent treasonous peacenik defeatist Democrat nor a malcontent treasonous defeatist paleocon, just a guy who though it was more important at the time to protect the captain’s ego as a decider (or afraid to be a troublemaker) than to respond to reality. It was ice that covered the engine probes and silenced critical intelligence channels about conditions, not lost memos and edited intel summaries. The cockpit crew tried to deice by loitering in the superwarm, superhumid exhaust of another airplane, which of course made matters worse; they did not fire the army and the police. And Del Quentin Wilber is not an egotistical, arch, pundit, just an ink-stained newsroom wretch who gathers objective facts and writes them down for us.
The point of the article is that the main reason for the crash, the pilot’s authoritarian unwillingness to listen to subordinates, was intrinsic to a certain outdated sociological model of command, and that in some work environments like airplane cockpits and operating rooms, the last twenty-five years have seen enormous, deliberate, efforts to improve communication (especially communication up) and change that sociology. For example:
At the Nebraska Medical Center, surgical teams have begun to use checklists before each operation …. [whose] last item raised by the surgeon is meant to embolden team members to raise concerns, and it is the same one many airline pilots reiterate to their crews: “If anybody sees any red flags, something they are uncomfortable with, bring it to my attention.”
There is not a word in the piece about any government offices or wings or rings, oval or west or E. Anyone thinking this article is about anything other than exactly what it says, airplanes and surgery, is going completely out of bounds and showing symptoms of doing his own thinking and learning without authorization. When the MSM learns to use irony, indirection, and analogy, and gets permission to do so, we will tell you, and we will provide the correct, approved interpretations for you to apply. That is all.