A culture of unaccountability has allowed incompetents to remain in positions of power. A functioning meritocracy must instill noblesse oblige in its elites, and prevent failures from being rewarded; our kakistocracy does not.

More historical perspective would be nice; while the Iraq war and financial crisis demonstrate the incompetence of our current ruling class and various recent election results show that voters are noticing it, it’s not clear whether this state of things is new and scary or something we’ve been muddling through forever.