When Did a Call to Incompetence Become So Popular?

James Governale
3 min readMar 17, 2023

There’s something known as a call to authority. The basic gist here is that people hold those with authority to a higher regard. Those in authority were to be believed and respected.

I remember growing up, I was to look to those in authority. The ones given authority for their expertise, leadership, and competence.

Hmmm, yeah, remember that? Competence. Used in the same sentence with authority as if they are synonymous. What has changed?

In recent years, it’s baffling how it’s become a common trope for leaders to claim incompetence to absolve themselves from accountability. As if claiming incompetence is now someone’s “reason” to get themselves off-the-hook.

Sure, that may get you out of the immediate trouble. But shouldn’t an excuse of incompetence be trouble for your tenure and retaining trust in your position. Shouldn’t someone try to find any other reason but incompetence as to why they were complicit in something going horribly wrong.

I mean, you’re basically admitting that you suck at your job.

Well, this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Somewhere along the way society has crossed a threshold — some tipping point — where the once dismayed “incompetence” claim has now become the standard go-to excuse. A preferred excuse…



James Governale

I’m a holistic health coach & writer living in Brooklyn, NY. I’m the creator of www.highheartwellness.com assisting others to reach desired health goals.