An Old Topic

Todd Zywicki has a post “Intelligence versus Glibness”.  It rehashes arguments we sometimes discuss here (sufficiently that we probably don’t need to start again, though Shannon is often quite interesting when he discourses on the articulate in empty suits).  Still if any of our readers long to analyze Palin’s sentences, they can take themselves to the sanctuary of Volokh’s comments.  (It was inspired by Randall Hooven’s American Thinker essay, “Judging who’s Smart.”) 

Frankly, I’m tired of this kind of crap.  We are prosecuting two wars and have had a meltdown of our Dow and the housing market is falling apart – and people want to talk about what kind of schools Palin went to and what kind of beauty contest she entered?  Personally, I figure since it dawned on her that the surge was working, that pulling out of Iraq or losing there would have dire consequences, that it was best not to divide Iraq into three separate nations, she’s smarter than the Democrats.  Since she and McCain have demonstrated an erratic but apparently real faith in free markets (and here she certainly seems to have more faith than McCain), she’s smarter than the Democrats.   She’s figured out that businesses hire people – and  that might be a good thing; she’s figured out that putting in a new well won’t give us oil tomorrow but will before a decade has elapsed. I don’t know what smart is, but I sure as hell know what dumb is.  

Biden reminds me of one of my husband’s old friends – he became a lawyer and politician.  On the debate team as an undergraduate, he would stride forward, holding a blank notecard, look at it confidently, and spin out a stat.  One time, my husband recalls, it was something like “87% of Mafia dons believe. . . ”  How anyone went about polling Mafia dons might make his “fact” a bit suspect, but the debate went on, using this fact as if it were the revealed truth.  Making up facts is not the same, you know, as actually knowing things.  I have a lot of respect for the imagination, but the White House never struck me as its appropriate reward.

6 thoughts on “An Old Topic”

  1. Re. Palin’s qualifications in Ginny’s links above:

    I already thought I’d much rather vote for her than any of the other three on the ticket. A practical, ambitious, intelligent person.

  2. Smart people get the correct answers. Their background or inclusion into a subculture do not matter.

    I think the best example of this difference in the real world would be Harry Truman as compared to the Ivy League educated of his day. Truman never attended college yet Truman correctly identified Stalin as an evil bastard and communism as a dangerous ideology on par with fascism. Those educated in elite universities during the 30’s and 40’s by contrast had a generally positive attitude towards the dictator and a disturbing number of them were communist or fellow travelers.

    Unfortunately, to many people are educated and then work in fields of endeavor wherein being right and being wrong are matters purely of authority and popularity. These people build an intuitive sense that an assertion is correct when everyone else says it is. They lose the intuitive sense that reality and our models of it can, and usually do, diverge strongly.

  3. “Unfortunately, to many people are educated and then work in fields of endeavor wherein being right and being wrong are matters purely of authority and popularity”

    I couldn’t agree with you more! I would much rather have an intelligent person with leadership skills (not management skills) who didn’t have an Ivy-league illuminati socialistic education. I worked for a company who’s requirement to a promation was based on popularity and not merit. (thankfully I left and started my company) I’m not saying networking is not important, but when a person has ZERO accomplishments it stands to reason that they are not ready to go to the next level. What was Obama’s great accomplishment again?

Comments are closed.