The root of bad governance in South Africa
The Root of bad governance in South Africa
Submitted for publication 07 Juanuary 2012
By: HANNES ENGELBRECHT:
The root of bad governance in South Africa (and why liberals are stupid).
Scientists, Dunning and Kruger were awarded the 2000 Ig Nobel Prize in Psychology for their report,
“Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments”.
“The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled people make poor decisions and reach erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the meta-cognitive ability to recognize their mistakes. The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their ability as above average, much higher than it actually is, while the highly skilled underrate their own abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority.”
At the root of poor service delivery, bad governance, corruption and discriminatory practices like Black Economic Empowerment, Affirmative Action and quotas in sport teams in South Africa lies the Manning-Kruger Effect. Justin Kruger and David Dunning, then both at Cornell University, did extensive research into the subject and came to the following conclusion – For a given skill, incompetent people will:
- tend to overestimate their own level of skill;
- fail to recognize genuine skill in others;
- fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy;
- recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they can be trained to substantially improve.
These are the exact tendencies of the ANC government in South Africa – right through from the “affirmative action” civil servant in state departments, the police, defense force – right through to the first level of government, the Parliament and the President Jacob Zuma.
What it means in practice is that these incompetent people do not recognize their own incompetence and do not have the cognitive capability of understanding the frustration of a more intelligent person. In Afrikaans there’s the saying: “Domheid het sy eie narkose”, literally translated “Being stupid has its own anesthetic” One of the effects of illusory superiority in IQ is the Downing effect.
This describes the tendency of people with a below average IQ to overestimate their IQ, and of people with an above average IQ to underestimate their IQ. The propensity to predictably misjudge one’s own IQ was first noted by C. L. Downing.
An interesting analogy with the South African situation, with its high taxi accident rate and road death tolls, can also be found in part of the study: McCormick, Walkey and Green (1986) found similar results, asking participants to evaluate their position on eight different dimensions relating to driving skill. It was found that almost 80% of participants had evaluated themselves as being above the average driver.
The Dunning-Kruger Effect (recognized with a Nobel Prize because of its thorough research) is an exact blueprint of the situation in present-day South Africa. Any liberal or “unitary state” proponent who disputes the effect will have to oppose it with sound academic arguments and research.