01 August 2005

The Core Four

The Jenius searches and finds things. This time it was the Failed States Index, as created by the magazine Foreign Policy and the Fund for Peace organization. Briefly, the Failed States Index measures how badly or how soon a country or region will fall into chaos.

(The Jenius confesses to a morbid curiousity: Could Puerto Rico be on the list? Fortunately, far from it. But...)

A further search found what is called The Core Five, five characteristics that measure a "state's ability to cope." Eliminating one that doesn't apply to Puerto Rico (concerning the military) the remaining four can be used to assess Puerto Rico's "ability to cope." The Jenius will rate the following on a scale of 1 (wretched) to 10 (superb).

1) A competent domestic police force and corrections system. The Jenius gives this core quality a "4". The local police force, one of the highest in per capita ratio with its population in the Western Hemisphere, is poorly-trained, underfunded, often corrupt and politically poisoned. The corrections system labors with overpopulation, misuse of funds and a consistent inability to manage either its employees or its "subjects." Lucky for Us, there are good people in there giving their best and that saves the systems from collapsing.

2) An independent judicial system that works under the rule of law. If by "fairess" one can say that a murderer and corrupt politician can often walk free with casual impunity, then yes, We have a winner! But We don't. This core quality also gets a "4" for being overly-contentious, riddled with political shenanigans and "money talks" gutlessness. At its higher levels, We could paint Federal and Supreme Court judges red or blue, just to add a splash of color to the largely inane proceedings. At the lower levels, "justice" is barely a concept the judicial system cares about: the reigning goddess is "Fortune." The saving grace is a bedrock Constitution and the overseer called Uncle Sam. (Galling, but accurate.)

3) An efficient and functioning civil service or professional bureaucracy. Oh, hell, where to start? This deserves a "2", but The Jenius will settle on "3" simply because there's the sense that they could get worse...and quickly. At present, the level of incompetence is beyond tolerable, but it hasn't really devolved into outright criminality. For anything more complex than a printout, the civil (dis)service has the nimbleness of monkeys learning to play chess. The average employee has more in common with a vagrant than with a professional (vagrants hang around buildings waiting for money; professionals do and take pride in productive work) and the main goal of this horde is to hoard more benefits...at Our expense. Saving graces? Few and far between instances of competence and actual service.

4) A strong executive/legislative leadership capable of national governance. Strong? Executive? Legislative? Leadership? Capable? Governance? O-for-6. This rates a "2" because The Fools haven't banded together (openly) to just rape Our Island like the Romans raped the Sabines. (Not that they haven't tried.) The Fools could triple their "Leadership IQ" and just barely break into double digits. If they all fell comatose this very instant, The Jenius would raise the rating here to "8." Their actions defy the idea of evolution as progress. My father has often said that an idiot can always find an even bigger idiot to cheer for him/her. Think about that next time when you see a Fool raise his or her arms in armpit-sweaty "triumph" while the sheep express their empty-headed approval...

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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