I found these two essays juxtaposed in my feed reader and they both rang true. The first is Matt Stoller’s “The Long Annoying Tradition of Anti-Patriotism”, with a particular emphasis on a disordered appeal to utopia in society at large (emphasis mine):
Anti-populism, and its cousin of anti-patriotism, is alluring for our elites. Many lack faith in fellow citizens, and think the work of convincing a large complex country isn’t worth it, or may not even be possible. Others can’t imagine politics itself as a useful endeavor because they believe in a utopia. Indeed, those who believe in certain forms of socialism and libertarianism believe that politics itself shouldn’t exist, that one must perfect the soul of human-kind, and then the messy work of making a society will become unnecessary. In this frame, political institutions, like courts, corporations, and government agencies, are unimportant except as aesthetic objects.
Anti-populism and anti-patriotism leads nowhere, because these attitudes are about convincing citizens to give up their power, to give up on the idea that America is a place we can do politics to make a society.
And then closer to work, on engineering leadership in Will Larsen’s “Building personal and organizational prestige”:
In my experience, engineers confronted with a new problem often leap to creating a system to solve that problem rather than addressing it directly. I’ve found this particularly true when engineers approach a problem domain they don’t yet understand well, including building prestige.
For example, when an organization decides to invest into its engineering brand, the initial plan will often focus on project execution. It’ll include a goal for publishing frequency, ensuring content is representationally accurate across different engineering sub-domains, and how to incentivize participants to contribute. If you follow the project plan carefully, you will technically have built an engineering brand, but my experience is that it’ll be both more work and less effective than a less systematic approach.