"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27,2010

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Expanding the golf handicap system

In most sports competitions, skill and performance determine the outcome. 

There is one sport that millions play where skill and performance do not dictate the outcome – amateur golf.  Golf has a handicap system that is designed to let the hacker (fellow/gal who shoots in the 90’s+) to be able to compete with the skilled player (gal/fellow who shoots under 80.)  How can that be? Well, the skilled player has to give strokes to his hacker competitor.  He has to subsidize the lousy player or turning it around, the lousy player is not expected to do as well to win.
At the highest levels of golf – golf professionals – there is no handicap system – winners simply are the best.  This is the expectation; the standard of performance at the top levels of the game. However, in the real world; where, skill, motivation and focus vary widely the outcome of the amateur game is not based on skill, persistence and performance – it is handicapped so that all may participate in the contest.
Are there other places in our world where this idea of a handicap – subsidizing the lousy performers to let them compete with or even beat the good performers – system can be applied?  And who chooses which contests should be handicapped or which contests must belong only to the capable?  Do you want your doctor to be the product of a “handicap” system?  What about your kids teachers?  The cop driving around the neighborhood?  The mechanic working on your car?  That fellow sitting in the cockpit as you and your family board the airplane for a long awaited trip to see Grandma?
There are two great misconceptions at work in America.  They are:
  • The best and brightest rise to the top, in every discipline of import, and
  • We can rely on lawyers and our legal system if they don’t
There is growing evidence that our education system now is a handicap system.  In other words, you can achieve success without performance.
There is growing evidence that the same is occurring in our medical/pharmaceutical system.
There is irrefutable evidence that the best and brightest do not manage the governance affairs of our nation.
Here is the recent headline from the Chicago Tribune – “Illinois’ new school rating system will hold minority students to a different standard"
It is one thing to let a bunch of middle aged guys tromp around a few hundred acres of well manicured grass and trees and sand traps and pretend that a competition is underway.  Little rests on the outcome of such endeavors.  But when a popularity contest determines the fate of the nation by rendering an inexperienced fellow to rule for eight years; or a series of them for 20+ years – or a mediocre teacher survives due to a union rule – or the kid sitting next to you in the classroom is advanced to the next grade with no grasp of the content of the textbooks you studied  – we have left the land of opportunity and settled for a land of make believe – a land of hope and change.
There is no handicap system in Mr. Darwin’s world of survivability of the fittest.  This world does not grasp the concept of “political correctness” or “vote buying” or even simple forms of propaganda.   The winners in this world quickly recognize convenience and turn away from it – they make a commitment to hard work.  No one has found a substitute for hard work and persistence.


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