The Cult of Wealth

David Ignatius says Barack Obama ought to “Find the [Warren] Buffett-like manager who can create a truly great U.S. intelligence system at DNI, then let that person pick a CIA director who will be nonpolitical.” Spencer Ackerman thinks this is dumb from an intelligence point of view.

I just think it says something interesting (read: bad) about American society that having gotten really rich is thought by many to ipso facto qualify Warren Buffet for a wide range of incredibly complicated and important tasks, including running the United States Intelligence Community. Buffet doesn’t even particularly seem to have gotten rich through management prowess. Rather, he’s either been incredibly clever in his investment decisions or else incredibly lucky or some combination of the two. And you see this sort of thing all the time. The assumption that not only did rich people get rich in part by being smart, but that the richness of rich people must be precisely proportional to their degree of brilliance and, therefore, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are great sages whose wisdom must be listened to on a wide range of topics.