Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Donald Trump has been ceremonially crowned as the nation’s Tsar, Reforming and Reorganizing the entire Federal Government. He has been appointed our Chief of Middle Eastern Peace, and the de facto Sultan of the State Department. In a fashion that would have made previous generations of Americans nauseous, Kushner has visited the Middle East as the royal son-in-law receiving reports from generals with a life time of experience. Battled hardened men and women must show deference to a creature of comfort and privilege who now apparently outranks them in esteem, to the Commander and Chief. The blatant nepotism has been treated as harmless by many but history warns us that nepotism is far from benign. Nepotism destroyed the administration of the Ottoman Empire. Nepotism was responsible for the corruption of the Vatican during the reign of Pope Alexander VI. Nepotism may seem to be an innocuous custom or even perhaps a well-deserved privilege for successful hard workers but a closer look at the practice reveals how it destroys stable nations.
Nepotism is often listed as a major contributor to the decline of the Roman Empire. Rome was a triumph of human civilization and became a massive administrative edifice. It’s holdings were considerable and constantly expanding. Steering its ample mass required considerable skill and exceptionally competent leadership. The installation of ineffective leaders made the difficult task of governing a delicately balanced empire, impossible. Ineffective leadership made space for corruption and the interests of the state became secondary to the personal gain of corrupt rulers. The rot spread to every aspect of the society, leaving the empire’s economic woes unattended. The empire engaged in constant war, spent money with irrational excess, allowed the prosperity of the wealthy to far outpace the advancement of the poor, leading to rampant discontent. Taxation by the state became burdensome and internal instability created an irresistible opportunity for external enemies. The parallels to America are abundant. Great empires rarely fall because of external threats. They collapse from within, caused by internal dysfunction. And dysfunction is made manifest by mismanagement which is the inevitable result of nepotism. When merit ceases to be the primary factor of advancement in a society, the result is often a catastrophic brain drain. Competent academics will flee a merit-less hierarchy. Highly accomplished individuals will not be subjected to inferior intellects or be subordinate to inexperienced supervisors.
We learned this week that Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State lashed out in frustration as he finds the appointments he suggests over-ruled by the Presidential Personnel Office, Reince Priebus and Jared Kushner. Tillerson finds himself the appointed Secretary of State in name only, as he is unable to fill the State Department with his preferred qualified hires and his authority is undercut by the son in law of the President. Kushner apparently exacerbated Tillerson’s humiliation by lecturing his staff to warn the statesmen against future outbursts. History tells us that this situation will not last. The current administration finds itself unable to fill its posts as qualified applicants refuse to assume roles in which their professionalism will be subject to political interference. The President and his nepotism are resulting in a fundamental breakdown of the functioning of our nation. Trump once promised that he would hire the best people to run our government but the best people want nothing to do with this President and the family run business that we once called the United States Government. History confirms that collapse is inevitable.
Written By: Andre Samuels