This is my theory for why elites today seem completely feckless on the one hand but occasionally very competent. The typical understanding is that you have a hierarchy with generalists over specialists. Generalists will tend to be more Machiavellian due to systemic pressures on the upper end of the hierarchy. The idea of a liberal arts education was to give generalists general thinking tools and heuristics for governing inherited capital and so on.
But because competition in the upper ranks selects for Machiavellianism, increased competition is going to select for increasingly specialized Machiavellians. This could be compared to Math Olympiad winners having lower achievement in other areas of life over time. They study nothing other than math and do nothing other than prepare for competitions. And due to the nature of Machiavellianism in particular, they’re going to reform the system to lower the standards in other areas to suit themselves and their own strategy. The specialized Machiavellian class then becomes a super-elite over the generalist elite.
The main problem with this process is that specialized Machiavellians don’t know how anything works other than obtaining and exercising social power. Once they’re in charge, everything they are in charge of fails in every way except that they remain in charge of it. They’re also relatively unconcerned with these failures except insofar as this affects the power dynamics. It’s basically a self-winding spring. This is why they do ridiculous shit like trying to meme a Ukrainian victory in an actual war. Or meme economic prosperity.