Election Question: How Can We Tell the Stupid People From the Smart Ones?
It was probably a lot easier back in ancient times to figure out who the stupid people were. They were the ones who did things like taunt the mammoths.
November 2, 2010 - 12:00 am
Though that’s quite an intellectual feat, it’s not exactly… smart. Similarly, there are pundits out there who make complex esoteric arguments that President Obama has done an awesome job. Again, not an easy thing to do, but a pretty silly thing to devote one’s brainpower to. Yet we have entire universities full of people working on similar walking-into-a-tree feats of intelligence.
Think of intelligence as a tool. Just because someone owns a nice hammer doesn’t mean he could build a house. In fact, he could instead just take that hammer and swing it around wildly and smash holes in everything (remind you of any current presidential administrations?). Also, there could be someone who has a hammer so fancy that he doesn’t want to tarnish it by doing anything practical with it.
So if intelligence isn’t enough of a marker to identify smart people, what do we look for? Well, what is the whole point of being smart in the first place? Is the reason humans thrived so much better than any other animal because we can write complicated theses? No, it’s because humans can build tools and figure out better ways to hunt, i.e., do useful things. As Forrest Gump said, “Stupid is as stupid does.” Similarly, smart is as smart does. If someone is actually smart, then he should be able to do useful things.
For instance, look at Obama. People said he was smart because he sounded smart. That’s stupid. If you actually looked at his past, though, you would notice the lack of accomplishments that would show he knew how to do anything other than pretend to be smart. He was a community organizer — which I’m pretty sure is a made-up job — and then a mediocre legislator. There wasn’t a single useful thing he did, as his only ability seems to be convincing stupid people he’s smart — something he’s gotten a lot worse at since he’s actually tried to do things for the first time in his life.
So, in the future, instead of thinking someone is smart because he has a very interesting-sounding argument that two plus two equals five, look into the person’s background to see if he’s ever actually done anything useful, like run a business or at least once have an actual job that doesn’t have the word “community” in it. Using that method, it doesn’t seem too hard to find the actual smart people; you probably don’t even have to be that smart to do it. But if it is too hard, maybe we can task scientists to resurrect the mammoths so they can hunt down the stupid people and crush their heads again.
We will call that Plan B.