The Local Yarn

James I was always boasting of his skill in what he called kingcraft; and yet it is hardly possible even to imagine a course more directly opposed to all the rules of kingcraft than that which he followed…he enraged and alarmed his Parliament by constantly telling them that they held their privileges merely during his pleasure, and that they had no more business to inquire what he might lawfully do than what the Deity might lawfully do…his cowardice, his childishness, his pedantry, his ungainly person and manners, his provincial accent, made him an act of derision…On the day of the accession of James the First our country descended from the rank she had hitherto held, and began to be regarded as a power hardly of the second order.”

Thomas Macaulay, History of England.

Further Notes

I had originally transcribed this quote alongside a link to a New York Times piece about the Dunning-Kruger effect:

‘Dunning and Kruger argued in their paper, “When people are incompetent in the strategies they adopt to achieve success and satisfaction, they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it. Instead, like Mr. Wheeler, they are left with the erroneous impression they are doing just fine.”

‘It became known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect — our incompetence masks our ability to recognize our incompetence.‘

James I and others like him must represet some special subset of Dunning-Kruger, when the afflicted person is also so insulated by their class and power that they can never actually suffer the effects of their incompetence.

Joel Dueck