It’s irrelevant whether Barack Obama is competent or not. He isn’t, but it hardly matters — he has, in Nancy Pelosi, a formidably competent manipulator of the levers of the political process who agrees with his program on almost every point, so he can (and does) go golfing early and often while his agenda is put into place. It has been, too. The fact that the process hasn’t run to completion shouldn’t hide the enormous progress made in that direction.

What’s fueling the accusations of incompetence coming from the leftoids is the simple fact that putting the program into place has not had the intended result. It is possible to argue that the real intended result was something different from that which was announced, but even if so it’s a matter of the minority who are actually in charge having other motives. The vast majority of Obama’s supporters believed in the declared intentions, and are vastly disappointed by the visible result. As is usual with human beings, disappointment leads to lashing out; but the scope of the failure, combined with the degree of success in implementing the agenda, makes assigning blame to obstructionists and nay-sayers less than credible. The obvious next step is to blame the implementers for lack of ability to implement the program.

It isn’t by any means the first time leftoids have been disappointed by the objective results of implementing their desired policies, nor the hundredth such letdown. One of the main reasons for tension and contention in American society is just such an unexpected failure.

Back when leftoids still had some trace of liberalism in their makeup, they came to me and my associates in the South and accused us of hypocrisy; we were, they said, proudly proclaiming our allegiance to opportunity and equal protection under the law while denying those things to a substantial part of the population. They were absolutely correct, and as a result carried the day on the issue. It’s clear from their many declarations at the time that they expected that, once the barriers were cleared away, black people would achieve at the same level as the rest of the population did.

That hasn’t happened. Regardless of effort, irrespective of programs and policies put into place to ensure it, black people as a group have not only not advanced their level of achievement relative to the rest of society, they have in many ways fallen back. This is not in any way to ignore the fact that there are many black people who have achieved, or that more have visibly achieved than were seen before Civil Rights — but, seen as a whole, the overall achievement level of black people has not progressed to a higher level, it has regressed to a notable extent.

The air of disappointment is palpable, and frustration with the lack of progress largely accounts for the movement from “liberal” to “leftoid” among those whose touchstone is egalitarianism. Blacks do not, in general, achieve; clearly the reason is obstructionism; clear away the obstructions using greater and greater force; amass the power to use force in order to implement that. However, after half a century of greater and greater employment of force, no movement toward the intended aim is in sight. Clearly something is wrong.

Science is a matter of hypothesis, experiment, and results. If the result does not confirm the hypothesis, either the experiment is poorly designed or the hypothesis is in error. It is at least odd to see people who claim allegiance to science continually refine their experiment, receive the same result no matter how the apparatus is rearranged, and fail to consider the possibility that the hypothesis upon which the experiment was based might be at fault.

The same is true of the most recent disappointment. Rearranging the glassware may give a different composition of the drops falling from the final condenser, but substantial improvement is unlikely. The possibility that the assumptions upon which the experiment is based should at least be addressed.